Saturday, May 30, 2020

Linda Lou Wichita Bluff Wedding Walk With Nooksack River Near Tragedy

On this last Saturday of the 2020 version of May I opted to drive to the west parking lot of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area to do some nature communing under the HOT pre-summer sun.

Upon arrival I was surprised to see more vehicles parked than I've ever seen previously. As in there was only one spot left for me to park on.

A short distance into the nature communing I saw what had clogged up the parking lot, that being the directional signage you see above, stuck in the ground next to the Circle Trail, pointing wedding party people to Wichita Falls' latest wedding venue, that being the Wichita Bluff Nature Area pavilion.

The wedding ceremony appeared to be well underway by the time I got a direct look at it.

What sort of surprised me was all the people I saw in the wedding venue were dressed like one might be if one was in an air-conditioned space. Suits with ties, long dresses. That and no masks, no social distancing.

There was no sound system with microphone broadcasting the proceedings. Such would have been possible, since there is electricity available at this venue, along with lighting for an after dark event. I can see where this location might become a popular wedding venue. A case could be make this is the most scenic location in town.

I almost forgot the Linda Lou part of walking the Wichita Bluffs today. I was at the highest point on the bluffs when my phone made its incoming text noise. When I got to the covered picnic structure which is at the Wichita River overlook I checked the message and texted back an answer to Linda Lou's probing question.

A short time later the phone made that incoming text message noise again. It was Linda Lou, again, asking a follow up question. I texted back an answer to that question and resumed the nature communing.

A short time later the phone made its incoming call noise. I got the phone back out of its pocket and was soon able to see the call was from Linda Lou. But, it took me awhile to figure out how to answer the phone call due to the text message screen being all I saw, except for a note at the top saying the call was from Linda Lou.

Eventually I figured out how to answer the call. Linda Lou then walked with me all the way back to the wedding venue. For the bulk of the call Linda Lou told me about an ABC 20/20 documentary which re-ran last night, which Linda Lou had suggested I DVR the day before. I had recorded the show, as instructed, but had not yet viewed it.

Near as I can tell, prior to watching the two hour show, has something to do with some convoluted murder case centered around the Nooksack River.

The Nooksack drains the Mount Baker watershed, eventually reaching Bellingham Bay.

The subject of the Nooksack River coming up switched the conversation to an incident last century on the Nooksack River which could have easily taken a fatal turn, though not a murderous one.

On a HOT summer day, Linda Lou, me and the Goober Twins joined hundreds of others inner tubing in the swift moving, glacier cooled Nooksack River.

This was a lot of fun. Until near tragedy struck.

We were floating along at high speed, when suddenly an inner tube traffic jam caused Linda Lou to get bumped into a log jam. Soon the suction of the fast moving water pulled Linda Lou under the logs. It was awful. Possibly the scariest thing I have ever been part of.

We panicked. Did not know what to do.

And then, just as suddenly as it happened Linda Lou popped out from the other side of the log jam. Linda Lou had no injuries. And was not upset at all, other than the obvious sense of relief.

I remember being impressed with how well Linda Lou handled this. I probably would have exited the river and walked back to where the return vehicles were located. Instead we just continued on, floating til we reached the end point.

Must hit the publish button now and go watch SpaceX take-off.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Linda Lou's Texas Berry Delivery

A few days ago Linda Lou texted me telling me to be on the lookout for a package arriving soon.

Soon turned out to be yesterday. I did not know what was in the package. On the package there was a warning to "PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE---GLASS".

I carefully opened the box and soon found four glass jars containing four berry products, including one being blackberry, which is well known to be my favorite berry. In addition to blackberry the other berries are strawberry, raspberry and marionberry.

Thank you for these Pacific Northwest delicacies, Linda Lou!

Finding The Hidden Lake Photo

A couple days ago I blogged about being Surprised To Find Mount Baker On My Wall. In that blogging I mentioned several hikes on Washington mountains other than Mount Baker, and old fire lookouts on those mountains, including mentioning the Hidden Lake Lookout.

I also mentioned that I should have Hidden Lake Lookout photos somewhere in my abode or on this computer.

Then, last night, whilst looking for a photo of my newly deceased poodle nephew, Blue, I came upon the photo above of me sunbathing on a granite slab on the promontory on which the Hidden Lake Lookout is built. The lookout is behind me. That is Hidden Lake you see behind my knees.

Back when I lived in Washington is never occurred to me how uniquely special it was that I could drive about 30 miles to the east and be seeing scenery like you see above. Or go even fewer miles to the west and be at a saltwater beach.

At my current location I would need to drive hundreds of miles to see a mountain scene, or a saltwater beach.

R.I.P. Blue

Sad news yesterday from sister Michele.

Blue, who would have turned 16 this coming August, died yesterday.

That is Blue, above, on the right, next to his brother, Max, who passed away in August of 2017.

Blue and Max are being held by mama Kristin, in this photo taken July 27, 2008, at Sea-Tac airport, where Blue and Max had come to pick me up, so I could take care of them whilst their parental units spent some time in the other Washington, the D.C. one.

Blue's health had been failing, with one of those failures being going blind. I do not know if Blue's blindness was caused by macular degeneration, but I do know Blue was especially fond of his grandma Shirley, my mom, who did have macular degeneration.

The Tacoma Trio, David, Theo and Ruby, and their parental units were with Blue when he ascended to Dog Heaven.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Lake Wichita Dam Spillway Takes Me To Twin Peaks & Snoqualmie Falls For Some Northern Exposure

Somewhere, upcreek, a lotta rain must have fallen in the Holliday Creek watershed, judging by the rapidly raging Holliday Creek I saw today as I biked towards Lake Wichita Dam where I saw the spillway spilling what I photo documented above.

A virtual Niagara of water falling over the Lake Wichita Dam spillway. The roar of the water bordered on being somewhere near deafening. The ground almost was trembling from the force of the falling water.

I have not experienced such a wild water act of Mother Nature since the last time I was at the Snoqualmie Falls overlook during a flood. The roar at that time was totally deafening. And the ground actually did tremble. That, and even though the waterfall was a half mile distant, waterfall mist caused one to get quickly drenched.

Oh, I suppose I should point out that Snoqualmie Falls is in Washington, a short distance east of Seattle, near the town of North Bend, which was known as Twin Peaks in the TV show of that name.  Snoqualmie Falls was the waterfall you saw at the opening credits part of Twin Peaks whilst that show's haunting theme music played.

That was an odd time to live in Washington, during the Twin Peaks period. That show was big in Japan. Tour groups came from Japan just to go to the Twin Peaks locations and have cherry pie and mighty fine coffee at the Mar T Cafe. I did that myself. After hiking to the top of Mount Si. The cherry pie was blah, and the coffee was nothing special. Agent Cooper hyperbolized.

Around the same time Twin Peaks was a big deal on the west side of the Cascades, taking I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass to the east side of the Cascades, to the town of Roslyn, one got to have an even better TV immersion experience. One I did multiple times.

On the CBS Twin Peaks type show called Northern Exposure Rosyln was Cicely, Alaska. One could go in the Cicely bar, I forget the name, maybe The Brick was it, and have a pitcher of beer. Or cross the street to Ruth Ann's grocery. Or visit Dr. Fleishman's doctor office. Or the radio station, I forget the call letters and the DJ's name. My favorite was Dr. Fleishman's eskimo nurse, Elaine. She was very popular and would show up frequently in Rosyln to make tourists happy by signing autographs.

If you are ever in Washington and driving around the state, do not miss Roslyn. It's my favorite of the Washington tourist towns. And don't miss the cemetery. Or the pizza joint across the street from the saloon. A long line to get in on a Saturday night, but well worth it, and the wait is entertaining.

At my current location I do not know how far I am from a place I might think to be a tourist town. Hundreds of miles, maybe? Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country is a fun tourist town. That's the only one I can think of.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Surprised Finding Mount Baker On My Wall In Texas

A week or two ago I made mention of Washington's Mount Baker volcano in a blogging about Mr. Forrester Cooling Down A Washington Heatwave Via Mount Baker.

I have been looking at the image you see above, all this month of May, due to this image being the May scenic view on the calendar which arrived this most recent Christmas, sent by Sister Woman Lydia Mae, from Mount Vernon, where Lydia Mae can see Mount Baker on any clear day she looks out one of her windows facing northeast.

Now, as an example of how un-observant I can be. I have been seeing this calendar for five months now. And only today did I realize the calendar's scenic scenes are all from Washington. I don't want to take the calendar from the wall to check out the month's previous, but I can look at the following months without taking the calendar from the wall.

I see next month is a view of Mount Shuksan, the mountain some have mistaken for being Mount Baker, due to the fact that one can see Mount Shuksan from the Mount Baker ski area, but one can not see Mount Baker from the Mount Baker ski area.

After seeing next month is Mount Shuksan I wondered if the entire calendar consists of scenes around Mount Baker, so I went another month ahead, to July, to see the July scene is Palouse Falls. That is in Eastern Washington, far away from Mount Baker.

The caption describing the May photo is "Park Butte Lookout and Mount Baker".

I have hiked from Schrieber's Meadow multiple times, hiking what is called the Railroad Grade up the southwest slope of Mount Baker. I have only hiked the spur trail to Park Butte Lookout once. It is a strenuous addition to an already strenuous hike. But, well worth the effort.

A blurb from the Washington Trails Association webpage about the Park Butte Lookout hike...

On Park Butte, hike to an historic fire lookout and come face-to-face with Koma Kulshan. Along with unobstructed panoramic views of Mount Baker, the Twin Sisters, and the rest of the North Cascades, the route to Park Butte offers campsites, wildflower-filled alpine meadows, rushing waterfalls, and a stunning variety of mushroom species.

The Park Butte Lookout is one of the few remaining from the era when lookouts were needed to lookout for forest fires.

The most brutal hike I have ever hiked in the Cascades is a few miles north of Mount Baker, the Church Mountain hike. The summit of the Church Mountain hike is a small flat spot on which the few remains of a long ago abandoned lookout remain. To reach the summit you have to pull yourself up the steep final ascent using a cable which remains from the old lookout. It is a bit scary and not for those made squeamish by anything steep.

The Hidden Lake Lookout is another which remains operable which I have hiked to. The Hidden Lake Lookout is accessed via the Skagit Valley. I think it is probably closer to the Glacier Peak volcano, than Mount Baker.

The Hidden Lake Lookout is maintained by the Skagit Alpine Club. I seem to recollect there being some sort of emergency phone which required cranking to operate. This may be a false memory. You can stay over night in the Hidden Lake Lookout on a first come first stays basis.

I can not remember the last time I went on an actual real hike on a real mountain. It may have been August 11, 2008, when my favorite sister-in-law had me drive her and her mother to Mount Rainier, where we hiked from Paradise to Myrtle Creek.

I am now feeling melancholy thinking about missing going on real hikes on real mountains. Something I thought might happen this coming summer til this COVID-19 Trump Pandemic happened...

Monday, May 25, 2020

Escaping Rain Under Lucy Park Covered Walking Venue With Memorial Day Hot Dogs

Rain arrived this morning, right on schedule, as predicted by the predictors.

The predicted rain so far has not fallen in copious amounts.

Instead it is reminding me of a stereotypical Western Washington winter rainy day.

Slow dripping. Under a gray sky. And not too cold.

Feeling the need to do some vertical moving I opted to drive to Lucy Park and avail myself of one of the park's covered walking venues.

As you can see, I was not alone in thinking driving to Lucy Park to avail oneself of one the the Lucy Park covered walking venues was a good idea.

My co-walkers fired up a grill and were soon cooking hot dogs and burgers. I politely declined the invite to join in due to having already made Memorial Day lunch plans at another location...

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Wichita Bluff Hoodoos Survive Softball Size Hail

This Sunday before the 2020 version of Memorial Day I opted out of attending a church service in one of the few churches in Wichita Falls open for regular business, and instead joined the morning throngs communing with nature in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area zone.

Yesterday, via Facebook, I saw a photo of a gigantic chunk of hail the size of a small watermelon which allegedly crashed into a home in the town of Burkburnett, a town due south of the Oklahoma border, about 15 miles north of Wichita Falls.

I heard nothing else about hail cannon balls in the neighborhood, til this morning whilst checking on the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's front page and saw this...
The storm happened Friday night, well into Saturday morning. I heard no hail hitting my Wichita Falls location. I am guessing by "near Wichita Falls" the Star-Telegram must be referring to the aforementioned Burkburnett.

When I last saw the Wichita Bluff Nature Area's Hoodoo installation the installation was totally discombobulated, as in something or someone had totally obliterated the stand of Hoodoos.

I think that was Friday morning, before the thunderstorm which produced giant hail. So, I really do not think Mother Nature can be blamed for the Hoodoo leveling. I suspect it was an act of human destruction which discombobulated the Hoodoos.

And now this morning, 24 hours, or longer, after giant hail pummeled some locations, the Wichita Bluff Nature Area Hoodoo installation has once again risen, this time with more Hoodoos than ever previously counted, as in I almost had to use all my fingers to count all the Hoodoos.

So, that has been my Memorial Day Weekend, so far...

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Saturday Lucy Park Suspension Bridge Video Walk Over Wichita River

Last night's almost all night long thunderstorm was the longest and loudest storm so far this year, near as I can remember.

And now, on this next to last Saturday of the 2020 version of May, blue sky has returned with only some big puddles of water and foliage scattered about.

A visit to Lucy Park seemed like a good idea, post-storm. I thought there was a chance sufficient rain fell to render the Wichita River into flood mode, with Lucy Park closed.

But, soon upon arrival at one of the biggest parks in Wichita Falls, when the Wichita River came into view, it was seen to be nowhere being in flood mode, though running high.

Today I used my new phone to make a video. I think this was the first time I have done this with the new phone. The phone seems to make better video than my old video camera used to make, before I tossed it due to it being an antique. The old video camera was just a camera. Not a phone. And it was about ten times the size and weight of the phone.

Anyway, in the video you walk with me across the Lucy Park suspension bridge over the Wichita River. This is not for the squeamish who are afraid of heights whilst walking on something swaying.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Lake Wichita Fish Kill Pandemic Mystery

This morning my bike rolled me to Lake Wichita. Perfect temperature with a bit too much wind. That is Mount Wichita you see above, in the upper right part of the photo.

In the lower right part of the photo that is a couple dead fish you are seeing. At the point on the Circle Trail when the trail gets closest to the lake I looked down and saw a dead fish, then another, then another.

And so I stopped for a closer look.

From where I stood on the bank of Lake Wichita, in addition to those dead fish, which you are able to see in the photo, I counted a total of 17 formerly living fish. The fish did not appear to have been dead long, as no noticeable decomposition had taken place, with no tell tale foul odor.

There are not many locations along the trail where you get an up close look at the lake. Right by Mount Wichita is one open beach location, but I was not looking for dead fish when I was at that location.

After leaving the site of the 17 fish massacre, when I got to the next point on the Circle Trail where I had a good view of the lake edge I figured if this dying fish problem was pandemic I would see more dead fish at that location.

When the trail on top of the dam gets to the location of the floating dock one gets a good look at the lake's edge.

I saw two dead fish at that location.

And then I figured, what with water falling over the spillway, a rare occurrence, there should be dead fish caught in the reeds in the creek below the spillway.

I saw several more dead fish when I rolled on by the below spillway location, along with a man and woman, of the married couple sort, pointing and staring, I assume at the dead fish, as I don't know what else would have been getting their attention at that location.

Upon my return to civilization, and mentioning the dead fish, one of my local facticians (made up word) told me he had read that there was concern about an algae bloom on Lake Wichita presenting a potential problem of the killing fish sort.

I saw several people fishing at Lake Wichita today. I don't know if I would want to be catching fish from a lake which is killing fish due to the water quality.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Rare Ghost White Thistle Lily Haunts Today's Wichita Bluff Nature Area Hike

A raindrop or two dripped whilst taking a nature walk in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area this third Thursday of the 2020 version of May.

And on that nature walk I came upon the rare wildflower you see above. A ghost white thistle lily.

This 2020 version of the spring season seems way greener than the North Texas norm of recent years.

I find myself surrounded by jungle-like foliage vegetation frequently of late. Or so it seems.

Above we are looking at one of the swinging benches one finds in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area. This particular bench is found on one of the side spurs of the main Circle Trail which meanders through the Nature Area.

The view here is from what may be the high point on the Wichita Bluffs. That spot of orange you see in the center left of the picture is the Wichita River, currently running a bit high due to last weekend's rain.

Make note of the jungle of green you see above.

Years ago, whilst I lived in the DFW zone I recollect blogging some photos of the Village Creek Historical Area in Arlington. This Historical Area is also naturally green, like the Wichita Bluffs, though not as hilly.

I recollect Betty Jo Bouvier seeing those photos of the Village Creek zone and then asking me if it really is that green there, because she thought all of Texas was dusty brown desert. I disabused Betty Jo of that erroneous assumption.

Years before disabusing Betty Jo regarding her Texas landscape stereotyping, I was back in Washington, soon before moving to Texas, in a movie theater in North Seattle with Wanda to watch The X Files movie.

The X Files movie opens in Dallas. When I saw what was being shown as being the outskirts of Dallas I leaned over to Wanda and whispered "it's not really like that, it's not all flat brown desert, it's slightly hilly with a lot of green and trees".

Wanda made some disparaging remark indicating she did not believe me. A short time later, about four months after I made the move to Texas, Wanda made her one and only visit. I do not remember reminding her of her skepticism regarding the North Texas topography when she saw it for herself. I have never been big on doing the 'I told you so' thing.

In July of 2017 when I drove myself to Arizona, having a bad vehicular breakdown on the way, stranded a few miles east of Flagstaff, I was a bit nervous when it came time to return to Texas, what with record breaking high temperatures and still feeling traumatized by coming to an unwanted halt on a freeway which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

So, my little brother suggested following me back to Texas, to make sure I made it back without any more vehicular nightmares traumatizing me. I did not think that was a good idea, due to having experienced many a time previous the pain of traveling with more than one vehicle. Way too easy to get separated, along with all sorts of other issues.

That drive back, by the time I got to West Texas, to the Van Horn, Pecos, Wink, Odessa, Midlands zone I was tired, but could find no place to stay with a vacancy. Eventually I gave up, made it to a rest area between Sweetwater and Abilene, managing to rest for a few hours before driving the final leg back to Wichita Falls.

That morning the sun began to rise by the time I got to Seymour, about 50 miles southwest of Wichita Falls. I was so surprised at how beautiful that sunrise was, and how, as the illumination grew brighter, the landscape became greener and greener.

I had been in the monochrome desert of Arizona for almost a month. The landscape stays that same monochrome well into Texas. I recollect thinking it would have been so amusing if my little brother had followed me, with him being totally shocked at the jungle of green he was seeing, no longer in a desert...

Monday, May 18, 2020

Swimming Sunday In Lake Wichita

Yesterday, on the day of the week known as Sunday, in the late afternoon time frame, my bike rolled me to Lake Wichita where, eventually, in the shadow of Mount Wichita, I saw something going on in Lake Wichita I had never previously seen.

People swimming.

Last year the city park people cleared out a section of the shore of Lake Wichita, ridding it of vegetation of the brushy sort. This made a beach, of sorts, a section of which you see above.

Just as I stopped rolling to get out my phone to snap some photos the Skagit Valley's Linda Lou called. During the course of that half hour phone call I missed several good  people swimming photo ops, but the one I managed after Linda Lou stopped talking to me serves as adequate photo documentation.

I do not know why, as part of the supposed Lake Wichita Revitalization Project, a designated swimming area has not already been built. I assume some dredging, some sand and some floating dock type structure would make for a mighty fine playing in the water opportunity.

I think such a thing would be extremely popular. Even with the primitive beach which now exists the Mount Wichita parking lot was fuller than I have ever seen it, with multiple people ascending and descending Mount Wichita, along with all the people sunbathing along the shore, or fishing, or those actually in the water.

As inviting and cooling as it looks to be I don't see myself getting wet in Lake Wichita anytime soon. I've developed an aversion to snapping turtles and water snakes...

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday Church Walk With Sikes Lake Geese Before McDonald's Cheeseburgers

This Sunday morning, with going to church not an option, unless I wanted to go to the Cowboy Church on Jacksboro Highway, a reality I learned later in the day, I opted to join the throngs of former churchgoers enjoying one of God's local outdoor temples, that being the trail around Sikes Lake.

The Sikes Lake geese seem to have found a new level of liking the humans, what with so many of them visiting their Sikes Lake home due to the COVID-19 increase in visitors.

In the first of today's photo documentation I had just joined the promenade of walkers following the biggest goose family living at the lake. Mom and dad hatched 17 babies this birthing season.

Mother goose has become so used to the humans she no longer does her threatening hissing if you get too close to her babies.

Above we have stopped for a closer visit.

And closer.

And even closer.

That first goose family was walking the trail near the parking lot on the east side of Sikes Lake. The above, much smaller, goose family was on the south side of the lake. These babies were closer to being newborns than the first ones we saw. And their mother was a bit more protective, doing some distant hissing when my co-walker reached out to pet one of the fuzzy goslings.

After walking around Sikes Lake the hiking crew returned to the motorized means of transport so I could drive us to the nearest McDonald's drive-thru to acquire a bag of cheeseburgers to munch on during a drive which ended up driving by that aforementioned Cowboy Church on Jacksboro Highway, south of Wichita Falls.

And now, what with the outer world seeming still, as in not windy like it has been for days, methinks I will go on a bike ride to Lake Wichita and join the throngs social distancing there...

Friday, May 15, 2020

Wichita Falls Hotter'N Hell 100 Goes Virtual Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

I attended the final day of the Wichita Falls Hotter'N Hell 100 event my first year in this town. I was impressed by what a HUGE deal it was, and how well executed and entertaining it all was. But, I have not returned. I do not remember what caused the non-returns, but I had planned on returning this year.

As recently as a week ago I saw HHH officials indicating the event was still on track, despite the ongoing COVID-19 nightmare.

And then this morning on the front page of the online Wichita Falls Times News Record I saw the following article headline...

In-person HHH canceled for this year

I had already used up my month's clicking allotment so I just had to sit and wonder what it meant that "in person HHH" had been canceled. What other option could there possibly be for a bike race and its surrounding events if not in-person?

And then I went to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where I do not have a monthly click allotment and saw another front page online headline about the Hotter'N Hell 100, with the Star-Telegram providing more clarifying info about this year's HHH than the local paper provided on its front page.

From the Star-Telegram we learn "The HHH is offering a virtual event that allows participants to ride or run their HHH event in their hometowns and receive a 2020 HHH ride t-shirt and finisher's medal via mail."

Well, now, that sounds sort of pitiful. A virtual event? Is this some sorta scheme to avoid refunding entry fees to those who have already paid? The actual bike ride races of their various iterations are only part of the HHH event.

I have seen multiple new hotels under construction in town, and have assumed they are aiming for an open for business date for late August when the town is flooded with thousands of people attending the HHH.

I don't think those new hotels are going to be getting much virtual business from the 2020 version of the Hotter'N Hell 100.

Of course our Dear Leader may be right, and not the Uber Idiot the majority thinks he to be, and the Coronavirus will have gone bye bye by August and all will once again be normal in the world, with the Hotter'N Hell 100 able to take place in the real world, not the virtual...

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Wichita Bluff Nature Hiking With Snakes & Socked Sandals

For today's pre-noon hiking I opted to join the throngs communing with nature on the Wichita Bluff Nature Area section of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

I had my first snake encounter of the year soon after beginning today's hike.

It was a large snake, parked on the center of the trail, a location on which I did not like to be seeing a snake.

But before I could get my photo taking device out of my pocket the snake slithered off the trail, heading towards the river.

Continuing on I eventually made it to the high point on the bluff where I sat on one of the swinging benches which swings at the end of one of the side trails. I decided to take that bench swinging as an opportunity to show you one of my new hiking sandals, with matching hiking socks.

It is a Pacific Northwest thing to wear socks with sandals. Sometime this is absolutely a necessity due to the chilly climate. Years ago when I first wore sandals with socks in Texas I had some locals acting like this was some sort of outrageously embarrassing fashion faux pas.

Not one to easily cave to peer pressure I have continued to wear socks with sandals, some of the time.

Today I would have likely been more comfortable sans socks, due to a high temperature combined with high humidity making the outer world seem extremely HOT.

Speaking of the Pacific Northwest, it is seeming increasingly unlikely I will be making my planned trip there this summer.

Sister Jackie just got back to Arizona after flying to and from our old home zone. She did not make the new style of flying seem like something I want to be doing. And road tripping the over two thousand miles back to Washington has its own set of Corona worries.

We live in such vexing times with so many perplexing vexations...

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mayor Betsy Price Tweets Cali Is So Yesterday While Fort Worth Is So Last Century

It has been a couple decades now I have found myself bemused and, at times, appalled by something I read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something to do with Fort Worth.

It started off with making note of the fact that over and over again in an article in the Star-Telegram the claim would be made that some dumb thing would be making other towns, far and wide, green with envy.

There were multiple iterations of what I came to call the Star-Telegram's Green with Envy Syndrome.

And then, years ago now, I guess someone figured out how dumb making such claims came across and that particular Star-Telegram propaganda ceased. Or at least I have not eye witnessed such in a long time.

Other instances of Star-Telegram propaganda, not of the Green with Envy Syndrome sort, would also seem bizarre to me.

Such as claiming what turned out to be a small, lame, soon to fail food court type thing was modeled after public markets in Europe, Seattle's Pike Place Market, and was to be the first public market in Texas.

None of which was even remotely true.

And then there was that Sunday morning, early this century, when a banner headline on the Star-Telegram front page touted "TRINITY UPTOWN TO TURN FORT WORTH INTO VANCOUVER OF THE SOUTH".

I remember reading that headline and thinking what fresh moronic nonsense is this going to turn out to be. Never imagining that the Vancouver of the South project would turn into the Trinity River Vision, eventually becoming the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

Eventually what became America's Biggest and Dumbest Boondoggle hired Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger's son, J.D., to be the Executive Director of the public works project which the public did not vote for. Son J.D. had zero qualifications to direct such a project, a fact which many believe is one of the reasons this ill-fated vision has become such a boondoggle, currently with three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

And with those three pitiful bridges now in year six of slow motion construction, with the start of construction marked by a TNT exploding ceremony back in 2014, with a then astonishing four year project timeline. To build little bridges over dry land, a project of seemingly simple engineering compared to an actual feat of bridge engineering, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, built in less than four years over actual deep swift moving water.

Fort Worth mayor, Betsy Price, was at that TNT exploding ceremony celebrating the start of construction of those pitiful bridges.

And now, in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on the front page, we see Betsy Price suggesting Tesla move to Fort Worth, tweeting to Elon Musk that "Cali is so yesterday".


If "Cali is so yesterday" I would suggest "Fort Worth is so last century". With zero chance of luring Tesla to relocate.

Back a year or two ago when Fort Worth leaders embarrassed themselves by acting like they thought Fort Worth had a chance to lure Amazon to Fort Worth for its HQ2 I recollect iterating all the reasons I could think of why Fort Worth is unable to lure a corporation to move from the parts of our country I refer to as Modern America.

You know, those towns in America where the streets have sidewalks, the parks have modern restrooms, and zero outhouses, where there is well designed public mass transit, where voting is easy via mail-in ballots, where urban planning is sophisticated, thoughtful and intelligently implemented.

What does a corporate re-location investigating team think when they check out a town with antiquated type public transit? Or when they drive something like Fort Worth's Tarrant Parkway and find roads which were not upgraded when a mall and multiple other retail developments where allowed, with Tarrant Parkway's western terminus being a tacky little roundabout intersecting with a beat up, un-upgraded entry to the Highway 287 freeway, which appalls and disgusts me every time I see it.

What does a corporate re-location investigating team think when they visit Fort Worth's downtown and find the park celebrating Fort Worth's heritage is a boarded up eyesore? What do they think when they learn Heritage Park at the downtown's north end has been in this sad state for over a decade?

What does a corporate re-location investigating team think when they come upon the mess on the landscape which has become America's Biggest & Dumbest Boondoggle? How do you explain those three bridges stuck partly built. How do you explain that ridiculous homage to an aluminum trash can at the center of the un-finished roundabout which is part of the Boondoggle's bridge mess?

What does a corporate re-location investigating team think when they see Molly the Trolley?

What does a corporate re-location investigating team think when they learn the town allows Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River, which is one of the few projects actually actualized by the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle.

If Fort Worth really wants to be serious about attracting a major corporation to move to Fort Worth the town should send a task force to towns which do attract corporations. Visit a couple towns in Arizona, like Tempe and Chandler, both way smaller than Fort Worth, both with multiple corporate headquarters or corporate presences, such as the sprawling INTEL complex in Chandler.

You won't find any outhouses in Chandler or Tempe's parks. Or streets without sidewalks. You will find multiple public swimming pools, huge pool complexes, the likes of which one can not find in Fort Worth.

Or visit Seattle and find out why it is Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco, Boeing and others are located in the area.

Or just stay in Texas and visit Austin, which is a modern American town. I do not know what the voting situations is in Austin though, if they have joined modern America with the mail-in ballot method, or not...

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Wichita Bluff Nature Area Padlocked Social Distancing After Library Checkout Success

This morning I social distanced unmasked for about an hour on the Circle Trail.

I parked in the Circle Trail parking lot located off Loop 11, slightly north of Loop 11's intersection with the Seymour Highway.

From that parking lot's location it is about a half mile on the Circle Trail before the trail enters the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

I walked as far as the overlook you see here. This overlook, with its two rocking benches looks over the Wichita River from this high point of the Wichita Bluffs.

Late last year I blogged about finding padlocks locked to a railing on a side trail off the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area. Multiple people told me that this was a French thing, with a bridge across the Seine River in Paris hosting thousands of padlocks.

Then late last month I found this padlock phenomenon had spread to Lucy Park when I found padlocks locked to the Lucy Park suspension bridge over the Wichita River. I blogged about this discovery in Wichita Falls Lucy Park Suspension Bridge Coronavirus Lock Down.

And now today I found padlocks locked to the railing you see above.

At about the center point between the two benches there are now three padlocks locked to the railing.

Due to the evidence written on the padlocks we can reasonably guess these were installed two days ago, on Mother's Day, as you can see, via the closeup look at one of the padlocks.

So, that has been my exciting day, so far, this second Tuesday of the 2020 version of May. I am beginning to tire of social distancing.

But, I have developed some level of fondness for being a masked man whilst in a location requiring such, like Walmart, or like I experienced yesterday when I finally was able to get some new books from the Wichita Falls Public Library.

The new book checkout method is efficient, but a bit bizarre, like one is finding oneself in a stark dystopian future.

To checkout a book now you log into your library account, put the books you want on hold, the hold is then pending til the notice changes to ready for pickup.

You then drive to the library, park in the now almost empty parking lot, then enter the library via a designated entry marked with arrows and fencing separating the entry from the exit.

You pass through the first door, and then once you go through the next door, which actually enters the library space, you are greeted by a greeter on a stool to whom you inform you are here to pickup books. The greeter on the stool tells you to follow the green arrows.

A secondary greeter helps you follow the green arrows when you become confused. Soon you are at a window where you tell the librarian your name. Within a few seconds the librarian returns with the books. You then self checkout the books by the nearby self checkout terminal.

I forgot to mention, as soon as you enter and begin following the green arrows you see that the vast majority of the library interior has been blocked off by tall fencing on which some sort of cloth material, like canvas, has been hung. This creates an odd looking space, with the oddity amplified by the fact everyone in this space was masked.

I guess being able to checkout books is a small step back to some sort of normal.

A small step, with a long ways to go.

Normally that library parking lot is almost full in the morning, with a lot of people in the library, and a lot of people on the floor above the library, which is a huge 55 and over activity center, where all sorts of activities take place, like yoga, pickle ball, dancing, movies.

I have never been to this activity center above the library, but it sounds like loads of fun and I look forward to finally looking old enough to be active there...

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mr. Forrester Cools Down Washington Heatwave Via Mount Baker

The past couple days I have been hearing from my old home zone of Western Washington that the Puget Sound is experiencing a record breaking heatwave.

A couple days ago I found myself explaining to a Texas local how different the landscape is at my current Texas location than the landscape at my old home zone.

As in, in Mount Vernon on a hot day, or any old day, I could drive a few miles to the west and be at a saltwater beach, with multiple choices as to which beach at which one wanted to be.

Or, on a hot day, or any old day, I could drive a few miles to the east and be in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

I screen capped that which you see above last night, from Facebook, via my Facebook Friend, Mr. Forrester.

Yesterday Mr. Forrester and his wife escaped the 85 degree heatwave and headed a few miles northeast, eventually ending up at the location you see above, a view from the Mount Baker ski resort.

I do not know if the record still holds, but at one point in time the area of the Mount Baker ski resort had the world's record for deepest snow.

As you can see via the words Mr. Forrester posted "It was 85 degrees and 15 minutes ago."

That is about how fast one can go in Western Washington from being HOT to being cooled. The final ascent to the Mount Baker ski resort is rather steep, going from the Nooksack River valley, up and up, with the temperature dropping as the elevation rises.

Patches of snow remain at the Mount Baker ski resort through the summer, with the road to the final parking lot sometimes not opening til late August or September. From that parking lot, when it finally opens, one has a direct view of the Mount Baker volcano. and an excellent trail of switchbacks to the summit of Tabletop Mountain.

Or, from that final parking lot, one can hike the trail up the north side of Mount Baker. I have only done the Tabletop Mountain hike. I have hiked up Mount Baker, multiple times, from the south side.

And at my current location, for hundreds of miles in any direction I can not find a saltwater beach, or a mountain with snow. I can currently find a lot of colorful wildflowers, and sneeze provoking pollen from various sources...

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Hoodoo Mother's Day

This 2020 Mother's Day morning took me to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area where I saw what you see above, the latest natural iteration of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area's natural Hoodoo, today paying Hoodoo homage to Mothers everywhere.

Today is the first Mother's Day in decades where I can not call my Mother to wish her a Happy Mother's Day. I do not remember last Mother's Day call to mom. I know it took place, but I don't remember it.

I doubt I will be calling any mothers today to directly wish them a Happy Mother's Day. Though, I still do have a lot of relative mothers I can wish a Happy Mother's Day to.

So, Happy Mother's Day to my relative mothers, Jackie, Michele, Kristin, Cindy, Jenny, Monique, Arlene, Ruth, Judy, and other relative mothers I am currently not remembering.

And then there are my special non-relative mothers to wish a Happy Mother's Day to, such as Martha, Aunt Alice, Betty Lou, Beth, Lori, Hannah, Greta, and other non-relative mothers I am currently not remembering.

To one and all, Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Wholotta Takeout Not Muy Bueno In Wichita Falls

About a month into the COVID-19 lockdown I went along with doing what many recommended doing, as in supporting a shuttered restaurant by getting a takeout order to go.


I do not remember if I have made mention before of the restaurant aversion I developed after watching too many Kitchen Nightmare episodes.

That and my first ever case of food poisoning happened after a burger at a cafe on the Parker County courthouse square. It was that poisoning episode which enlightened me as to what the term "projectile vomiting" meant.

Now, I have had the pleasure of enjoying many Texas restaurants since that food poisoning incident happened. But, til this Coronavirus thing happened I had not eaten at a Wichita Falls restaurant since I moved to town.

I think it was early on reading in the Facebook Wichita Falls Rants & Raves page a posting about cockroaches infesting a local Sonic Drive-In that made me wary.

Totally irrational, I know, but I really do prefer my own cooking, or the home cooking of someone I trust, particularly in Texas. I could not name all the Arizona restaurants I have been subjected to the past few years. Most of those have been franchise chains, except for Fiesta Burrito in Scottsdaale, and Big Wa Chinese in Tempe. Both excellent, with no Kitchen Nightmare issues.

So, the first of my COVID takeout experiences had me driving the crew through the McDonald's drive through and ordered a lot of cheeseburgers. I have always liked McDonald's cheeseburgers. I do not know why. Maybe they have always reminded me of a Kow Korner cheeseburger. Only Skagitonians will get the Kow Korner reference.

For the second takeout week I agreed to phone in an order to a Mexican restaurant, non-franchise, which is a stone's throw from my abode. Prior to the lockdown this restaurant was always real busy, and I figured it had to be real good, that the locals were likely excellent judges of good Tex-Mex.

Well. Worst Mexican food ever. Horrible. The big bag the food was stuffed in was a mess of containers. My choice was Lunch Combo #1, because it included a chile relleno, my go to favorite Mexican food, and by which I judge a Mexican restaurant. Blindfolded I would not have been able to guess this was a relleno. Disgusting is not a strong enough word to describe it. And nothing else in the combo was good either. Horrible taco, stale chips, dried out rice, runny beans. Horrible.

So, the next week I did not give the crew a choice. It was the McDonald's drive through or I opt out.

And that takes us to this week's takeout woe. One of the crew had an advertisement which advertised something called a Wholotta Box, from a chain restaurant called Taco Bueno. I don't think this is a national chain. I looked at the advertisement advertising fresh ingredients, special recipes and the photo of the Wholotta Box looked okay.

So, I drove the crew through the Taco Bueno drive through, ordered two Wholotta Boxes, and then drove to Lucy Park to have lunch at a covered picnic table overlooking the Wichita River.

I sat a Wholotta Box on the picnic table, opened the box, and saw that which you see above. Extremely blah tacos, extremely blah bean burritos, containers of rice, re-fried beans, salsa and bags of chips. The salsa was okay, the chips were stale. All in all it was a Wholotta awful.

And so this week I am not gonna be democratic with the takeout choice. It will be where I wanna drive to takeout, or I don't drive to takeout anything.

On a lighter note, after a Wholotta aggravation, a long walk along the Wichita River put me in a Wholotta better mood.

That is the Wichita River you see on the right, with the color of the river pretty much the same color as the trail though the Lucy Park forest, which explains where the river color comes from.

A Wholotta land must regularly be eroded to to provide the Wichita River its signature color...

Friday, May 8, 2020

Mount Rainier With David, Theo, Ruby & Blue

Yesterday after I found in my mailbox Three Cards From The Tacoma Trio Of David, Theo & Ruby I text messaged the parental units of David, Theo & Ruby that I had received the three cards from David, Theo & Ruby.

Soon thereafter five photos arrived on my phone, giving me multiple looks at Mount Rainier, and David, Theo & Ruby.

And Blue.

When I mention Blue I am not referring to the blue sky above the blue sea. That is Ruby, also blue, soaking up some Vitamin D, whilst napping on a chunk of driftwood.

Theo decided he needed a higher perch to get closer to the sun for his Vitamin D. I read this morning that COVID-19 researchers have discovered that there is a correlation between having adequate Vitamin D and resistance to the Coronavirus.

We can not tell how far David's driftwood seat if from the blue sea, or if he is looking at Mount Rainier in the distance.

Noticing that the driftwood behind Blue matches the end of the driftwood on which David is sitting, we can likely accurately conclude that Blue was tasked with watching David, as best as Blue could watch, what with Blue being no longer able to see.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Three Cards From The Tacoma Trio Of David, Theo & Ruby

Opening my mailbox today I was surprised to find three identical envelopes, all from Washington, all addressed to Uncle D.

I knew this had to be from the Tacoma Trio, but what could David, Theo and Ruby be sending to me?

Was I forgetting a holiday?

Is it my birthday?

I am sort of losing track of time, what with the discombobulated current state of the world.

Those are the three envelopes above, awaiting opening.

Opening the three envelopes I found three cards, each slightly different. David's is green with the word "joy". Theo's is purple with the word "hope". Ruby's is greenish-blue with the word "peace".

I then opened the cards to find carefully handwritten messages.

That is David's on the left, Ruby's in the middle, with Theo's on the right. Each message made mention of building sand castles. David and Ruby both verbalizing wanting me to come visit at their new beach cabin. Theo indicated that the sand castle building could only happen when COVID-19 is over.

I readily admit to feeling rather melancholy of late. The part of Ruby's note saying "I hope you don't get sick, and I love you a lot" sorta got to me.

Up til this COVID-19 nightmare arrived I was pretty much 100% I would be in Washington this summer, visiting the Tacoma Trio and their Harstine Island cabin, and sand castle building at Birch Bay.

The Tacoma Trio's Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jack, also known as my sister Jackie and favorite brother-in-law Jack, flew up to Washington yesterday. It was an emergency flight due to Jack's mom ailing bad.

Due to the COVID-19 complications a direct flight to Spokane was not possible, flying into Spokane required layovers adding up to a 10 hour travel time. So, Jackie and Jack flew direct to Seattle, then rented a car to drive over the mountains to Jack's mom and dad's abode in Moses Lake.

Jackie had been being extremely cautious during the ongoing lockdown and was a bit non-plussed at having to fly during this troubling time. How does the social distancing work going through security? Waiting to get on the plane? Boarding the plane? Renting a car? Staying in a motel?

It's all so vexing.

I was so looking forward to roadtripping to Washington this summer for the first time since 2001. And now that is on hold.

I will repeat. So vexing...

Dialing Dear Doctor Durango

Last week upon finishing a non-fiction book I was curious about the current status of the subject.

Googling I soon found myself at a website called The Wayback Machine, which archives websites all the way back to the early days of there being a thing called websites.

I was curious if any of my original websites were archived. I looked for As the WWW Turns, to no avail. That actually was not my website, but I was closely associated with it. That one was picked as Cool Site of the Day, back when that really meant something.

The first website which was totally my own, sort of, well, the title and idea was not mine, but creating and doing the HTML was all me. That one was called Dialing Doctor Durango. Dialing Doctor Durango lasted for a couple years.  One day it was picked as Funky Site of the Day. Being Funky Site of the Day was not as cool as being Cool Site of the Day, back in the day when such things were even remotely funky or cool.

Dialing Doctor Durango was supposed to be a sort of parody thing where my Doctor Durango character was this know-it-all who would answer anyone's question about anything.

But, way too many people, all over the world, thought Doctor Durango was a real doctor. It was how I met Miss Wee of Singapore, when she wrote Doctor Durango a lovelorn question. A university in Munich, Germany picked Dialing Doctor Durango as one of the Top Ten medical websites on the Internet, which was clearly ridiculous.

It was a question from the UK, a serious question suited for a real doctor of the OB-GYN sort, which had me confessing to being a quack, and then pulling the plug on Dialing Doctor Durango

After killing Doctor Durango I morphed my website into The Durango Files. The Durango Files lasted til I moved to Texas.

And, The Wayback Machine does have The Durango Files archived, for the most part. Images are gone, but the text is still there, for the most part, including a webpage which made the transition from Dialing Doctor Durango to The Durango Files. That is a screen cap of part of The Durango Files home page you see at the top.

One of the links on that The Durango Files home page goes to Dialing Dear Doctor Durango,  which is a webpage which made the transition from Dialing Doctor Durango to The Durango Files.

You can read the text from that one webpage below. It's been over a quarter century, so I have little memory of writing any of this, other than recognizing it is me doing the word spewing...


Dear Doctor Durango,
Are you a medical doctor, a psychiatrist or just a college professor?

Signed, Credential Checker

Dear CC,
There really is no adequate label for the sort of doctoring which Doctor Durango is licensed to practice. Suffice to say Doctor Durango has never been sued for malpractice, has never had his license revoked and has never ever lost a patient.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I read you are close friends with Bill Gates and that you advise him all the time. So what is Bill really like? And can you give me his phone number?

Signed, A Microsoft Employee

Dear MS Employee,
I have known Bill for years. I am not comfortable violating the privacy of our relationship. I will tell you that it was I, not his lovely bride, who remade his unkempt image and turned him into the well-groomed figure we see today. Bill can be fairly mono-minded, but when he decides to have fun he really lets go. I could tell you stories, but I won't. I will say, I do not treat Bill in my professional capacity, so no doctor/patient confidences have been violated by my sharing these gossipy tidbits with my readers.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I cannot understand why there are now advertisements on some world wide web pages. Why should I suffer through waiting for some ad icon to download? These advertisements are just a waste of bandwidth, and for who's benefit?Signed,

Signed Steaming Mad

Dear Steaming,
I agree. These unwanted advertisements are an outrage!

Dear Doctor Durango,
I have tried to find the fun in this World Wide Web stuff, but hard as I try, I still prefer clicking on the TV, or reading a magazine or just reading the newspaper, and I really enjoy just talking to people face to face and not through this cyberspace stuff.

Signed, The Internet Sucks

Dear Sucks,
I know whereof you speak. You click on an interesting sounding link, you wait til the link gets contacted, then you wait for a reply, then if you are lucky the host will send you some data, bit by bit by bit. And finally you see something, but its boring, so you click again and start the same process over again. Picking up a magazine seems far more efficient. Can you imagine reading a magazine, wanting to turn the page and having to click a button, contacting the magazine host, waiting for a reply, and then, finally, the page turns?

Dear Doctor Durango,
Don't you think you should try a little harder to 'get a life' rather than spending energy on this lame stuff?

Signed Get a Life

Dear Get Life,
In my capacity as a trained observer of the human condition I do not believe I can think of a cliche' more indicative of a socially maladjusted mindset than that favorite of the do-nothing class, i.e. 'Get a Life'. It has been my long time observation that individuals using this terribly judgmental cliche' are usually very unhappy with their station in life and are very jealous of the lives of others. In a classic case of projection, these sorts of sad individuals transfer their own feelings of total inadequacy onto those who's lifestyles cause their feelings of inadequacy. You can test this theory yourself with the Doctor Durango Butt Test. It has been my longterm observation that there is a correlation between people who judge other people's lives and the size of the judger's butt.

Dear Doctor Durango,
My best friend's twin brother's first wife, Wanda, is mad at me because Wanda thinks I told my friend, Lulu, that Wanda was consuming too many liquid refreshments prior to sending e-mail, and that consequently Wanda's e-mailings tended to be the long-winded ramblings of a classic dipsomaniac. I'm sorry, but it is true, Wanda sends bizarre e-mail. One day she'll go on about her lunch with Sylvester Stallone, the next day she'll tell me she got her head stuck in a hornet's nest, the next day it'll be about some emergency surgery removing some diseased body part. And if I reply to her e-mail, by the next day she always acts as if she doesn't know what I am talking about. But I did not tell any of this to Lulu. Just this morning Wanda called me a 'butt boil on the backside of humanity'. What should I do? Why does Wanda think I gossip about her? Is Wanda wrong to be mad at me?

Signed, Wanda's Husband's Brother's Best Friend

Dear Wanda's Friend,
Has no one told you that sending e-mail is not a secure, private way to communicate? Just in this letter to Doctor Durango you have been explicitly detailed about poor Wanda. You have broadcast the secrets of Wanda's world to potentially 50 million people and you wonder why Wanda is mad at you? Apologize at once to Wanda. And in the future do not express your slanderous opinions about your friends via e-mail. You sound like a fool.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I have an annoying friend who breathes loud, through his mouth, like an elderly cocker spaniel. I can barely tolerate being in the same room with this ill-mannered slob. I bought this drooler a case of nose drops, but he refuses to use them. I'm not the only person who notices this irritating habit, in fact, his entire family is well-known for their mouth breathing.

Signed, I Enjoy Quiet

Dear Quiet,
You have really struck a chord with Doctor Durango. At this moment in time I can not think of a single thing I find more offputting than mouth breathers. They can not be reasoned with. They have no empathy for the suffering they cause. They won't take their medications. It is best to simply avoid such people and pray that as humanity evolves the mouth breathers will be weeded out of the gene pool.

Dear Dr. Durango,
My first husband's twin brother's best friend has been sending me the antagonistic e-mail of a classic delusional schizophrenic. After months of e-mailing back and forth, suddenly he claims that I sound like a raving dipsomaniac. Apparently, I have been having way too much fun with my e-mail. He thinks I am mad about the way he told my friend Lulu, before he told me, that he thinks me a dipsomaniac. He has never been very tactful, but what really offputs me is that he will not stop telling me just how incoherent he has found my correspondence to be. What should I make of this? Am I wrong to be offput? Why didn't he tell me he felt this way before? What could be the basis of this sadistic lashing out? Should I just refrain from e-mailing him? Why do I keep coming back for more of this abuse? Am I being an enabler?

Signed, The Friend of Wanda's Husband's Brother's Best Friend

I don't think you should make too much of the classic delusional schizophrenic ramblings of an antagonistic demented e-mailer, but at the same time, you must protect yourself from this e-mail abuse You have not given me sufficient information to determine whether, or not, you are an enabler. But I do think if you have been having fun with your e-mail, you should continue to do so, despite the antics of this demented joy-sucker who seems to be tormenting you so.

Dear Doctor Durango,
Could you be so kind as to give me Bill Gate's e-mail address so I can ask to borrow a couple million dollars and to ask a Windows95 question?

Signed, I Need $$$$$

Dear Broke,
Bill gets annoyed at me everytime I give out his e-mail address because he is such a soft touch and he just can not say no to anyone asking him for money. So just click on the blinking dollar signs $$$ and you will be able ask Bill anything you want. And Doctor Durango guarantees you will get an answer.

Dear Doctor Durango,
Last Fall I went on a private cruise with a group of my dearest friends. While we were cruising through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, one of our party, a flabby Mid-Baby Boomer, took to wearing these disgusting thong bikinis. I wouldn't have minded if his wife had worn these fashion disasters, but seeing this guy in such eyesores, well, it just conflicted with the wonder works of Mother Nature, forcing us to view one of her accidents of Nature in all his flabby glory. He made us look like a boat full of tacky Canadians.

Signed, Men Should Not Wear Bikinis

Dear Bikini Man,
Doctor Durango does not quite understand your Canadian reference, though several years ago I was hiking into Grand Canyon, resting at the first oasis, and up walked a pair of sweaty Frenchmen wearing nothing but bikinis and black leather shoes with white socks. We were all eating lunch and the unseemly spectacle sort of ruined our appetites. So I can understand how bikini eyesores cause visual conflict when viewing Mother Nature's best work. Surely if you make your feelings known, if this person is truly your friend, he will respect your perfectly reasonable wishes and will refrain from wearing bikinis. I just hope such a trivial matter is not stopping you from being able to plan another adventure with this person.

Dear Doctor Durango,
My husband spends hours on the Internet looking for the sexy stuff he's read about in the paper. But he can't seem to find anything. Can you help

Signed, I Wish He'd Look For It At Home

Dear Wish He'd Look,
You should help him hunt. Net surfing can be fun and very stimulating. I am willing to give you the link to Playboy, since that site is fairly wholesome for one that's is supposedly for adults.But instead of wasting your time looking for the 'sexy stuff' on the Internet, you should be warned that despite the myths to the contrary, the sexy stuff is not that sexy. You would have to be pretty darn lonely to spend much time watching pix show up on your computer screen. Or a teenage boy. But teenagers should not have unsupervised access to the Internet, just as teenagers should not go to see every movie that comes along. Parents, do your job. As for you, Doctor Durango agrees with your signature, tell your husband to look for the 'sexy stuff' at home.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I was a sophomore in college and I never thought it could happen to me. I couldn't believe my eyes when the auburn haired beauty walked up to me and unzipped......... whoops. Wrong forum!! Anyway, I've got this boss who is just driving me insane. I don't own any firearms and I don't like explosives or sharp objects. I'm thinking a Voodoo curse would do the trick. Do you do Voodoo? If you do do Voodoo do you mind giving me a curse?

Signed, Bogwana in Benjaka

Dear Bogwana,
I kinda liked where the first paragraph was going and then you had to go and ruin it with that Voodoo curse stuff. I am a full-service Doctor, so if you would like to explore your difficulty with that auburn-haired beauty, well, I'm listening. I am very intrigued to know what exactly was unzipped and what happened next. I have absolutely no imagination. But, if we must deal with your Boss problem; you are a grown man, at least I assume you are, if you have a job. If your job is causing you so much anguish you are engaging in homicidal conjecture, even if only in jest, and if you are actually considering employing cultist rituals to do your Boss harm, well, Doctor Durango thinks you should quit your job immediately. Let me know when you take my advice.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I am not a computer novice. I have worked with computers for years. But, often when I have need of a computer expert's advice, like when I call for technical support, or recently when I received a call from my Internet Server, these people seem so rude. I could not get the Internet guy off the subject of mispronouncing my name. When he was giving me my directory name he said a word that sounded like 'matilda', then he had a virtual emotional crises when I asked him what a 'matilda' was. As if the entire population of the planet, but me, knew a *'matilda' was the squiggly ~ symbol on the keyboard.

Signed, I Hate TechnoNerds

Dear Hate Nerds,
Well, you have managed to ring one of Doctor Durango's bells!! My theory of the phenomena you describe is as follows: The vast majority of those whom you so eloquently call 'technonerds' are socially maladjusted. These sorts have trouble with what you and I would consider normal social intercourse. They feel socially-enabled by what they imagine to be their areas of expertise. Technonerds condescend because that is how they feel the world treats them. And, ironically, it is how the world treats them, because they are so socially inept. So don't take offense. Be kind. But for the grace of God you could be a technonerd!!*Doctor Durango has been informed the proper term for 'matilda' is 'tilda'. Like anyone cares.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I do not like how some of these newer web pages have all this blinking going on. It is very annoying. Is there a way to make it stop? What is the point of all the blinking?

Signed, Blinking Fed Up

Dear Fed Up Blinking,
Doctor Durango has noticed the blinking. I don't find it particularly annoying. It seems to be a new toy and people are playing with it. I imagine the point of the blinking is to draw attention to whatever is blinking. The following letter may provide relief.

Dear Doctor Durango,
I consider myself to be one of those 'technonerds' you have maligned. In connection to your letter regarding 'matildas' and 'tildas', I was wondering........are you sure? I mean is it really 'tilda', or is it 'tilde'? I was just wondering because it seems as if you have some responsibility to make these kind of corrections before you put them on a page on which you claim to know what you are talking about. When it's my first time here and all I can see are those blinking things and incorrect definitions (spellings?) of simple computer terms, well, Doctor Durango let me just say it doesn't go a long way toward building client confidence. I think you are a quack.

Signed, Lulu

Dear Lulu,
You certainly have exhibited your Technonerdness to Doctor Durango!! My Nurses had to severely edit your letter into a printable form. Regarding your classic Technonerd focus on that 'tilda' word, Doctor Durango used the plural of 'tilde' which is 'tilda'. Latin was not a requirement in your Computer Science endeavors, was it Lulu? And Lulu, if the blinking bothers you as much as your numerous letters to the Doctor on this subject would seem to indicate, and if you are as accomplished a 'technonerd' as you portray yourself to be, well, then, Doctor Durango does not understand why you do not know how to turn off the BLINKING. It is so easy to do, I will not insult my patients by explaining the process!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Fort Worth's Incredibly Pitiful Boondoggle Bridges Over No Water

An article I saw yesterday on the online version of CNN, titled Italy's incredible 'floating ship' bridge reaches for the sky caught my eye. And then upon reading the article what I read instantly provoked the urge to compare this Italian bridge building with Fort Worth's inept attempt to build three simple little bridges over dry land.

With those three simple little bridges over dry starting their Fort Worth construction in 2014 with a TNT exploding ceremony, with a then astonishing four year project timeline. And it is now 2020, and still no bridges completed.

Are those irresponsible for this Fort Worth mess still trying to sell the embarrassingly stupid propaganda that the bridges are being built over dry land to save time and money? When there was never gonna be any water under those bridges til a cement ditch was dug under them with polluted Trinity River water diverted into the ditch.

Anyway, those hapless Fort Worth bridges came to mind last week when Fort Worth's Mr. Bobalu emailed asking if I have heard anything of late regarding the status of those pitiful Fort Worth bridges.

Mr. Bobalu was an early victim of what has become America's Dumbest Boondoggle, having his property stolen via eminent domain abuse over a decade ago.

If taking Mr. Bobalu's property was justified as being for the public good, which is the legit use of eminent domain, is it not disturbing, the fact that, a decade later, the public has yet to see any good come from this ineptly implemented project? Shouldn't there be legal remedy after all this time and the obvious fact that the property was not taken for the public good.

I told Mr. Bobalu I have heard nothing about those bridges, for quite some time, and that I suspected most everyone is more focused on other more immediate concerns, like navigating a pandemic. I think I also mentioned looking forward to Kay Granger being booted out of Congress by the incoming, upcoming Super Blue Wave Tsunami ripping the Republican party to smithereens and into the dustbin of history.

And that one can assume that upon losing her job that Kay's son, J.D., would also lose his high paying job, currently overseeing flood control efforts in an area which has not flooded for well over a half century. And paid well over $200K a year to basically doing nothing, for years now.

So, I read this article about the new bridge in Genoa, Italy, with the new bridge replacing the Morandi Bridge which catastrophically failed on August 14, 2018, killing 41 people, and Fort Worth's hapless bridge building came to mind.

Some lines from this CNN article about the building of this new Italian bridge which are not what one might read about Fort Worth bridge building...

That the replacement has arrived less than two years after the disaster is something of an achievement. It was constructed rapidly, in a country rarely considered an exemplar of efficiency. Some of the most challenging work was carried out amid Europe's worst coronavirus outbreak.

If Italy is rarely considered an exemplar of efficiency, how is Fort Worth considered? Okay, I guess the reality is that extremely few people consider Fort Worth about anything. But, efficient sure is not a word one would use to describe Fort Worth.

And then there is info about the cost of this new Italian bridge.

The new bridge was built by Salini Impregilo, an Italian construction company, and Fincantieri, a state-owned shipbuilder. The project cost 200 million euros, about $220 million, not considering the cost of demolition of the Morandi bridge, which cost another 90 million euros, or about $98 million.

How many dollars have been spent so far on those three pitiful little Fort Worth bridges? Is it over $200 million yet? Or more?

And this about the Genoa, Italy bridge building project timeline...

"Normally it would take three to three and a half years to design and build a bridge of this size. This one took a little over a year," says construction manager Stefano Mosconi, who added that up to 1,000 people were working on the project at the same time.

Anyone seen 1,000 people working on Fort Worth's imaginary vitally needed flood control and economic development project, which is how the project was sold when it came to stealing property by abusing eminent domain?

A couple more sentences which give us a clue as to how this feat of bridge building engineering, over water, in Italy, was accomplished in such a short time, whilst Fort Worth flounders trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land...

Piano says that the project attracted a high level of expertise, which makes it less surprising that it could be achieved in such a short time. "It's not a miracle. It's just what happens when competence wins over incompetence. Italy is a special country, with capacity to do things. Work on the site never stopped, continuing at night with tasks deemed compatible with noise regulations.

Competence winning over incompetence. What a concept. Anyone ever heard J.D. Granger speak and think to themselves, now, there is a boy who inspires confidence with his competence. Has Fort Worth been able to attract even a medium level of expertise to help build three simple little bridges over dry land?

Now, for a look at this new Italian bridge, built in a little over a year, over water, actual water...

Maybe Fort Worth could hire the Italians who built the above bridge in such a short time to come show Fort Worth how to do such a thing? I wonder if any Genoans are bragging about this being a "signature" bridge? With "iconic piers"?  I would hazard to guess not, whilst in Fort Worth how many times have you heard those pitiful little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island as being "signature" bridges? With iconic "v-piers" making the pitiful little bridges somehow unique when in reality their design looks like an ordinary freeway overpass.

I do believe pitiful is the right word to use when describing the Fort Worth bridges.

Pitiful "signature" bridges....