Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sikes Lake Peanut Gallery Takes Me To Trump Don't Act Right


I had not had the opportunity to roll my bike wheels anywhere the past few days. Today I decided my need to aerobically induced endorphins outweighed anything else. So this morning I rolled several miles north on the Circle Trail before looping back south, eventually reaching Sikes Lake, where I saw that which you see above.

I do not know why Peanuts has been installed on the stage of the Sikes Lake Pavilion. Will a play be taking place? Is this a backdrop for one of the musical events which frequently take place at this location? I have no idea.

Those endorphins are sure feeling mighty fine right now.

Last night's 90 minute verbal assault by our demented president had me feeling like we are currently all living in a temporary insane asylum.

I think it was even before our national nightmare was inaugurated Fort Worth's #1 political activist, Gale McCray, was nailing the problem...

Gale McCray has taken his now iconic "TRUMP THAT BOY DON'T ACT RIGHT" sign all over America, including, as you can see via the above photo of Mr. McCray holding the sign in front of Mr. Lincoln, to Washington, D.C.

Today I tolerated about five minutes of the Rush Dimbulb Show. I was curious to hear how he was going to try and manage to spew nonsensical propaganda to put a spin on last night's debate debacle.

The Dimbulb seemed a bit overwhelmed by the embarrassment. It seemed like he was blaming Chris Wallace, because Chris Wallace was interrupting Trump over and over again right when Trump had Biden reeling and about to display his imaginary dementia. 

It is sort of amusing, well, not really, listening to a couple cases of actual dementia, Trump and Dimbulb, making mock of Biden's imaginary dementia.

I don't know how two more of these type debates can happen. Somethings got to give. Or give up... 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Happy Birthday Hank Frank & Grandpa Jake


On this date, two years ago, my little brother Jake became a grandpa for the second time, with the arrival of Henry Francis, also known as Hank Frank. 

On that day, two years ago, Hank Frank became the best birthday present Grandpa Jake has ever received.

Hard to believe Hank Frank is already two years old.

And that I have yet to meet him. Up til a few months ago I was about 100% sure I would be seeing Hank Frank last summer. But the Trump Pandemic ended that plan.

Seems like only yesterday I was having myself a mighty fine time wrapping elaborate birthday present packaging for Hank Frank's dad, my Favorite Nephew Joey. But that happened decades ago, way back in the previous century.

This morning I texted Joey, telling him that I did not have Hank Frank's phone number, and asked Joey to tell Hank happy birthday for me.

Joey texted back indicating he would do so, including the six pictures of Hank Frank you see in this Happy Birthday blogging.

I have no clue what that is on the blue plate. A deconstructed slice of birthday cake? A fruit pizza?

Hank Frank looks an awful lot like the little kid version of his dad.

Above we see Hank Frank working in his fruit orchard. Hank Frank grows a variety of tree fruits. I recollect Linda Lou was supposed to visit Hank Frank and his orchard and fruit stand last fall. Maybe Linda Lou will get around to that this fruit picking season. 

That would be Hank Frank being held by his papa. It appears they are on a boat. Both the water in the background and Hank Frank wearing a life preserver are primary clues.

Yes, this appears to be on the deck of a boat. But what boat? A ferry? Or is Hank Frank taking his dad out on the Sound to do some fishing on a fishing boat? 

Happy Birthday to Hank Frank & Grandpa Jake. I'm sure by the time Hank Frank turns three I will have had the fun of meeting him for the first time. And meeting his mother, Monique, for the first time...

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Fort Worth's Roundabout Way Of Installing Imaginary Pieces Of Art

Til this morning I had the longest break from hearing from Elsie Hotpepper in years.

Consulting my phone I see it was way back on September 5 that I last heard from the Hotpepper. And all that message was was text saying "Excellent slapping sir!"

I figured Elsie Hotpepper has been laying low due to the ongoing COVID Trump Virus nightmare, with Hotpepper's delicate constitution rendering her fearful of possible contact with a virulent virus. That, and ever since Elsie traded in her Harley Hog for a yacht she has been spending a lot of time sailing.

So, this morning when I woke up my phone I saw a notification telling me Elsie Hotpepper had sent me a Facebook Messenger message, with the subject of the message being "Merry Christmas!"

Oh no, I thought, the old girl is losing it, the ongoing surplus of societal nightmares has caused her to lose track of time, skipping Halloween and Thanksgiving and going straight to Christmas.


When I went to Facebook and saw the message from Elsie Hotpepper I quickly realized she had not lost her mind. The Merry Christmas verbiage was pointing me to a link to a Facebook page, with a post which Elsie Hotpepper thought would be gifting me with good mocking material.

As per usual, Elsie Hotpepper was right.

The Facebook page to which the Hotpepper pointed me is a propaganda piece of work from the bad folks who have foisted America's Biggest Boondoggle on Fort Worth, with the Facebook page titled...

Panther Island - Central City Flood Project

A project which has been boondoggling along for most of this century, sold to the apparently gullible Fort Worth public as a vitally needed flood control project, where there has been no flooding for well over half a century, due to flood control measures already in place. The imaginary un-needed flood control project was also sold as a vitally needed economically development scheme.

Both parts of the scheme, so un-vitally needed that the project has never been fully funded, and relies on hoping to secure what amounts to federal welfare to pay for something most big cities wearing their big city pants vote to pay for themselves. Or at least pay the majority of the cost. 

And how can a project be "vitally needed" when it ambles along in slow motion? Soon to enter its third decade of little progress.

The specific Panther Island - Central City Flood Project page post about which Elsie Hotpepper wished me a Merry Christmas was about that which you see at the top. A million dollar supposed work of art, installed five years ago at the center of a still un-completed roundabout, which is related to a couple of the bridges the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision seems unable to complete.

With the bridges being built over dry land, supposedly to save time and money, or so the Boondogglers claim. When there was never any option but to build the three bridges over dry land, because there would be no water available to flow under them until a cement lined ditch is dug with Trinity River water diverted into the ditch.

The Trinity River Vision Boondogglers have been scheming to secure federal funds. At the same time they waste a million bucks to install what many think looks like a giant aluminum trash can. 

On the Facebook post about the aluminum trash can the text tells us...

Did you know that the art piece located at the center of the Henderson Street and White Settlement roundabout was installed in 2015 as part of the Fort Worth Public Art? 

Many have long asked how this "art piece" came to be. How was the creator of this "art piece" paid? Was it upon completion? Or was it when the "artist" got the commission to build the "art piece"? Was the "artist" a good friend of anyone associated with the Trinity River Vision, or its parent enabler, the Tarrant Regional Water District? 

A million bucks wasted on this, whilst trying to secure federal funding. You reading this in non-Fort Worth America, do you feel like helping pay for this Boondoggle when you learn of such?

Predictably this Facebook post about this "art piece" has generated some comments. Below is an edited version of some of those comments...

Mark Criswell: Is it finished?

Pat McDonald: Yes, in 2015.

Cody Bertram: I thought it was a carnival ride.

John Razo: Did you know they should have finished the road before wasting tax payer's money on an art piece? This has been under construction for going on 7 years........

Paul Wilson: It's like the toll road construction, Forever...........

Adam Perez: It looks like a garbage can from ikea!

Sophia Caballero: Adam Perez, for the longest time I thought it was left unfinished, until Trey told me that was the final thing 😒 they should have some incorporated TCU or anything fort worth related.

Adam Perez: Sophia I’ve hated it since they put it up! It’s clunky, unimaginative, and so out of place!

Craig Bickley: Well, this post can only backfire...

James Milburn: How do you expect this post to go? They are bragging about a piece of art that was made 5 years ago in the middle of a roundabout that still isn't complete? How many people have lost their business because of this mess? How many millions (billions?) of taxpayer's dollars have been wasted? It took 4 years to build the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933. How is it that nearly a century later it is taking long to build a bridge over dry land?

And that Golden Gate Bridge was not built over dry land. It was built over deep, fast moving tidal water. 

The Trinity River Vision has now been a project underway longer than the ten years it took to build the Panama Canal. Another cement lined ditch which had its water added only upon completion, thus built over dry land...

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Desegregated Wichita Falls Scotland Park Walk Without Miss Sugar

Weary of rolling my tires to the same old places over and over again to indulge in an endorphin inducing bout of aerobic stimulation today I drove to a park I had not been to before.

Scotland Park. 

Location on the opposite side of Highway 287 from Lucy Park, I had driven by Scotland Park whilst on that aforementioned highway, making note of a forest of big trees, but not noticing anything else, I knew nothing of this park, or what to expect there.

So, imagine my surprise upon parking to see I had parked by a State of Texas Historical Marker the title of which was Wichita Falls Municipal Zoo.

I did not know this town had once had a zoo, let alone the fact that this was a large zoo. What I assume to be remnants of the zoo remain, such as a stone bridge, a pond with a fountain. And all those big trees.

The info on the Historical Marker was interesting, copied here in its entirety...

Thanks to combined efforts of the Wichita Falls Lions Club and the City of Wichita Falls, the Wichita Falls Municipal Zoo opened to the public in 1928. Largely sustained by the community, it received both regular visitors and those from out of town. Wichita Falls' residents and businesses donated money, supplies and labor to keep the zoo running and expanding. At its height, it supported more than 300 animals. This number included baboons, elk, bison, monkeys, coyotes, zebras, lions, alligators, raccoons, snakes and tigers, as well as a petting zoo for children. Miss Sugar the elephant was its star attraction. The newspaper referred to her as "The largest and most popular Flapper in Wichita Falls."

Throughout its operation, safety concerns and a few minor incidents kept the city council worried about liability. A reflection of the time, the zoo was segregated, allowing African Americans to attend on Friday (unless they accompanied white children in a caretaker role). The Stock Market crash of 1929 hit it hard as wallets tightened and people had less money to spend on entertainment. Despite its continuous fundraising efforts, the zoo closed in 1934. The animals, many of whom were on loan or leased, were either returned to their original owners or auctioned off. The Fort Worth Zoo purchased Miss Sugar. At the time of its closure, feelings regarding the zoo were mixed. Fond memories of visits to the animals were countered by the expense, especially when people struggled to feed their families. Despite its mixed success, the zoo remains a part of Wichita Falls' history. Its rise and fall offers a glimpse of the dynamics of town life and culture in the 1930s.

A elephant named Miss Sugar in a segregated zoo.

In my old home zone's zoos, back in the 1930s, you might have found an elephant named Miss Sugar, but you would not have found a segregated zoo. 

I wonder if Miss Sugar had any offspring, and if there are now descendants of Miss Sugar in the Fort Worth Zoo. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday Hiking Wichita Bluff Nature Area Jungle With Sunflowers


The view you see above, on this 3rd Saturday of the 2020 version of September, is from a high point on the Circle Trail as it circles through the Wichita Bluff Nature Area. Which would make that ribbon of rust, you see meandering through the jungle, the Wichita River.

Currently at my location the outer world is being cooled cooler than I cool my interior space with the air conditioning. Actually, at 66 degrees, that is 12 degrees cooler outside than my air conditioner setting.

A couple of my neighbors have already installed Halloween decorations. I wouldn't think there will be much trick or treating this year, what with the Trump Pandemic still making people sick. 

I do not remember previous late summers in North Texas, with only a couple days before the Autumnal Equinox, also known as fall, with the foliage being so green, and so lushly jungle-like.

Such as what you see below.

A forest of what appear to be sunflowers. Or maybe giant daisies. I wonder when one harvests sunflower seeds. I think it may be easier simply to buy sunflower seeds already harvested and packaged.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Art Of Mr. Dealmaker At Sikes Lake Wichita Falls Art Museum


A few days ago we wondered where the Sikes Lake Van Gogh Horse had gone. At that point in time it was noted that a plaque explaining the horse work of art had been installed. And mention at that point in time was also made over the fact that the larger of the two horse works of art had disappeared.

Still no explanation for the missing horse, which is still roaming free, somewhere, un-tethered to its artistic location.

Today whilst rolling my bike around Sikes Lake, and the Wichita Falls Museum of Art, my bike and I saw that the various works of sculptural art, arrayed around the grounds, now also have explanatory plaques sort of explaining what one is looking at.

Such as that which you see above.

Apparently the sculptors name is George Tobolwsky, sculpting, in 2012, the work of art you see above the plaque, called "Mr. Dealmaker".

Mr. Dealmaker? Is this some sort of artistic sculptural homage to the world's foremost dealmaker, the expert in the art of a deal? Mr. Donald Trump? 

The sculpture does sort of look like Mr. Trump. The way it slightly leans over, the odd formation at the sculpture's top. And is that some sort of abstract teleprompter Mr. Dealmaker is holding on to? Or a big microphone? And is that a sewer cover the Mr. Dealmaker Trump is standing on, making for some sort of symbolism of some sort?

Abstract art has always been way too abstract for my simple mind to understand...

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Lake Wichita Deer Encounter With No Bears Or Native Americans

After weeks of temperatures in the 90s or triple digits, the heat came to an end a couple days ago with a cold front blowing in, dropping the temperature closer to freezing than 100. The cold front came in with a lot of rain, but today, this second Saturday of the 2020 version of September, the rain has stopped, the temperature remains cool, and so, today, I joined the throngs having themselves a mighty fine time rolling and walking and running on the Circle Trail.

Today I opted to head south on the Circle Trail. I have been avoiding going that way during the heat wave due to the lack of trees providing any shade. But, today there was no need for shade.

When the Circle Trail leaves the top of Lake Wichita Dam it crosses into Lake Wichita Park. This is a big park, with a lot of jungle-like foliage.  At the point on the trail where gets close to the lake and to Mount Wichita, suddenly, a big animal leaped over the trail, and stopped. 

And so I also stopped. And got out my phone hoping to get a picture. The big animal was a big deer. Can you find the deer in the above photo?

It's near the center of the photo.

Here's a cropped fuzzy closeup.

I snapped two photos and then began slowly rolling my bike towards the deer, hoping not to spook it. I made it about 15 feet closer when suddenly a second deer appeared. At that point both deer decided to run under cover and away from me. They may have been spooked by some incoming bikers heading towards me and the deer.

And on other deer related news. We have the below from Washington's Harstine Island.

That looks to be Theo on the deck of the Harstine Island cabin, feeding one of the deer with whom David, Theo and Ruby have become acquainted. 

Yesterday, or the day before, I mentioned Washington's Linda Lou's encounter with a bear whilst driving in the flatland zone of the Skagit Valley. I have heard no further bear reports. I suspect a lot of wildlife is likely leaving the blazing mountain zones for the relatively fire-free lowland zones.

Meanwhile, in Texas, there are reports of bear sightings in the Big Bend region. With photo documentation of a mama bear and some cubs.

Apparently the Texas bear population has long been decimated, along with the Native American population. I don't know if the Texas bears were also moved to Oklahoma along with the Indians.

Friday, September 11, 2020

9/11 Wichita Bluff Nature Area Hoodoo Towers With Linda Lou Stehekin Bears

For the first time in what seems months I found myself back on the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area on this Friday of 9/11. Commemorating this day I was pleased to see what you see above, a collection of 8 or 9 Hoodoo Towers of varying height.

The past couple days have been of the stormy sort. Constant gray and dripping to varying degrees of magnitude, reminding me of typical winter's days I used to experience whilst living in my old home zone of Western Washington.

Western Washington, along with all of the west coast could use some of the extreme dripping which has dripped on my location of late. I do not remember a time when it seemed like the entire west coast was on fire, with everyone I hear from on the coast, be it from Washington, Oregon or California, all reporting thick smoke and nearby fires.

If only they had listened to our moron president and raked those forests.

When the mountains burn it drives wildlife to seek safety out of the forested zones. 

 A couple days ago Miss Linda Lou, of Mount Vernon, Washington, called to tell me that the day previous she was driving from Mount Vernon to the nearby town of Sedro Woolley when she spotted what she thought was a giant dog out in a field, lumbering along.

Linda Lou stopped at the side of the road, soon joined by others, since it was quickly realized by all that it was not a big dog, but was instead a big bear.

The bear lumbered its way to the parked vehicles, did some sniffing at Linda Lou's car, and then moved on.

Linda Lou was too flustered to think of getting out her phone and snapping photos documenting this rare event.

While it is a rare event for a bear to make its way to the lowlands of the Skagit Valley, upriver, and in the mountains, one frequently sees bears.

I forgot to mention, this remembering to mention Linda Lou's bear encounter came about when I started my computer this morning and the start up screen is that which you see above, a bear roaming in what looks like the Cascade Mountains.

My most recent Washington bear encounter, actually, encounters, happened soon before I moved to Texas. A group of 8 of my nearest and dearest floated the Lady of the Lake on Lake Chelan to the hamlet of Stehekin, in the North Cascades National Park.

We were barely off the boat and checked into our rooms in the National Park Lodge when we had our first bear encounter. A bear had climbed a tree and was drawing a crowd of bear watchers.

That night, and all the nights which followed, we rode the bus to Courtney Ranch, up valley, for dinner of the sorta buffet sort. On the way the bus driver asked if we would like to see some bears. The question was met with an enthusiastic chorus of yesses. So, the bus driver diverted to a side road which led to an abandoned orchard of Delicious apple trees. Dozens of bears of various sizes were in those trees, and on the ground, harvesting apples.

We had bikes with us and so the day after being shown the bear infested apple orchard we biked there. The bears showed no interest in us. I do recollect being slightly unsettled by the sudden appearance of a couple big bears encountered whilst biking back on the main road to the Stehekin lodge.

Long ago I website chronicled that bearish trip to Stehekin, telling the story in three parts.

Click the above sentence to take a virtual visit to Stehekin...

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Smoking Red Moon Rising Over Tacoma Trio On Real Washington Island


That would be my nephews and niece, David, Ruby and Theo, with the moon rising behind them, whilst standing on the shore of Harstine Island in the south Puget Sound zone of Washington.

My Washington sources tell me the smoke from the wildfires which have engulfed the west coast, whilst making for burning eyes and unpleasant breathing, at times, also has been making for some spectacularly scenic sunsets and moonrises.

Tomorrow, on 9/11, David is another year older, one year short of becoming a teenager. 

School starts up for the Tacoma Trio, sort of, near as I understand it, next week, to varying degrees. Summer, for the most part, has been spent at the cabin on Harstine Island, not in Tacoma.

Harstine is a real island.

I have learned in recent years that there are some areas of America, such as the Texas town called Fort Worth, which have no clue what an island actually is.

For well over half a decade Fort Worth has been trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Nope, not making that up. 

One day in the future, if those little bridges being built over dry land ever get completed, Fort Worth hopes to dig a cement lined ditch under the bridges, to which river water will be diverted, thus creating the imaginary island.

Again, nope, not making this up. Totally true.

Harstine Island is connected to the Washington mainland by a bridge which was built over actual water, it being water of the moving tidal saltwater sort. The Harstine Island bridge was built in way less than four years. Built with no corrupt input from a local politician seeking a job for her son.

I don't think I am going to make it to David's birthday party this year. Maybe next year when he becomes a teenager...

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Linda Lou's Smoky Washington View

That which you see above was sent to my phone, last night, by Miss Linda Lou of Mount Vernon, in my old home state of Washington.

Text on the phone said "On Blackburn, heading East towards Little Mountain. The picture doesn't do it justice. However it is smoky and makes you cough."

It seems like the entire west coast is currently on fire, to varying degrees. I heard from one of David, Theo and Ruby's parental units last night that "the smoke from the fires is being awful, but is making for spectacular sunsets."

David, Theo and Ruby's current smoky location is their cabin on Harstine Island at the south end of Puget Sound.

Now, what Linda Lou does not say in her text mentioning the picture not doing the smoke justice, is that looking east whilst on Blackburn Road one should be seeing the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, on a blue sky day. But looking east in Linda Lou's photo you see no mountains, because, apparently, they are being veiled by a wall of smoke.

Linda Lou's home address in on Blackburn Road, a couple blocks from Spencer Jack's and his dad's home location on a side street off of Blackburn.

The Little Mountain to which Linda Lou refers would be the biggest mountain for hundreds of miles if it were located in my current mountain-free location. Little Mountain is a Mount Vernon city park, with miles of trails, a lookout at the summit, and a launch pad for hang gliders.

I can not remember the last time I hung a glider off Little Mountain. Or any mountain anywhere...

Sunday, September 6, 2020

My Computer's Windows Got Me Homesick For Washington Again

Way back in May I mentioned being Surprised Finding Mount Baker On My Wall In Texas. At that point in time I lamented about seeing scenes of my old home zone of Washington state on a calendar on my wall, and that each month brought another familiar scene.

If I remember correctly, and sometimes I do, by last May I already knew that the plan to be in Washington this summer had already been aborted due to the Trump Pandemic, hence Washington scenes making me even more melancholy.

And then this week my computer's Windows added to the melancholy when upon a restart on Wednesday I saw a Washington Cascade scene staring back at me. At least it looked like Washington to me.

Stevens Pass? Snoqualmie Pass? North Cascade Highway Pass? Could be any of them.

The road over Snoqualmie Pass is Interstate 90. At some points on that highway the east and west bound lanes are totally separated. So the above could be Snoqualmie Pass, but the lack of traffic renders that unlikely.

The road over Stevens Pass is State Highway 2. At some locations this road is four lanes. But most of the highway is two lanes. The scene on my computer could be Stevens Pass. But again the lack of traffic makes that seem unlikely.

Of the major Washington passes over the Cascade Mountains the North Cascades Highway, also known as State Highway 20, has the least traffic, and is the only one of the Washington mountain passes to close in winter due to too much snow. I do recollect one winter scarce of snow when the North Cascades Highway Pass did not close. If I remember right the North Cascades Highway is all two lane, non-separated. There may be a few locations where an extra lane is added for passing purposes.

So, methinks this must be a North Cascades Highway scene I am looking at via my computer's Windows. This was the mountain pass I lived closest to. Highway 20 runs right through my old hometown of Burlington, and then follows the Skagit River into the mountains, leaving the river when the Skagit heads north to Canada.

Of Washington's major mountain passes the North Cascades Pass, to me, is the most scenic, with Stevens Pass a close second. Both roads are adventurous, and nerve wracking for those not used to such things.

Snoqualmie Pass is the most sedate, for those easily nerve wracked, what with it basically being a four lane freeway without any treacherous curves or steep drops. Snoqualmie can see scary avalanches though, more so than the other Washington mountain passes. Snoqualmie Pass is the only one of the passes which has sections where the road goes inside avalanche diverting structures.

I am sort of getting over feeling depressed and melancholy about not getting to roadtrip north to Washington this summer.

This month my Washington calendar shows a night scene of a camp on Sahale Arm. With the Milky Way glowing bright above. Sahale Arm is in the North Cascades, accessed via that aforementioned North Cascades Highway. You exit Highway 20 slightly east of Marblemount eventually reaching a big parking lot and trailhead for the Cascade Pass Hike, near the summit of which you find Sahale Arm.

Okay, thinking about hiking over Cascade Pass got me melancholy for Washington again....

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Tale Of Two Cities: Seattle Boon & Fort Worth Boondoggle

Last week a Fort Worth local emailed me asking what I knew about the current status of that town's three simple little bridges which have been stuck in slow motion construction mode for six years, trying to build bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

I replied that I had not been to the DFW zone in about a year, so have had no eye witnessing of the mess which has become such an embarrassing Boondoggle. I do not know if the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision still sends out quarterly slick propaganda brochures detailing the imaginary progress of a public works project the public did not vote for, which has been limping along for most of this century, with little to show for the millions of dollars wasted.

Those who foisted this Vision on Fort Worth tried to claim it is a vitally needed flood control and economic development project. Where there has been no flooding for 70 years, due to flood control already in place. Vitally needed, and yet not vitally needed enough to convince the locals to support a bond issue to pay for it. Instead begging for federal dollars, unsuccessfully. And giving a local congresswoman's son a job for which it is now totally clear he was not qualified, in order to, hopefully, get the mother to somehow secure those federal funds.

Also, last week, a fellow former Washingtonian asked me what I knew about the current status of the rebuild of the Seattle waterfront.

I replied that I had not read anything about the waterfront rebuild since the Alaskan Way Viaduct was removed. And so I Google searched and found a lot of info about the Seattle Waterfront rebuild. More on that later in this post.

For someone who might be wondering why we are looking at a public works project in Fort Worth, and one in Seattle. Well, these are the two big cities with which I am most familiar, and whose stark differences have been of interest ever since seeing Fort Worth up close and wondering how an American city can be so different from another American city.

The town's two public works projects both had their beginnings back near the start of the century. Seattle's was sparked by an act of Mother Nature known as the Nisqually Earthquake. This earthquake serious damaged a structure known as the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a double decker state highway built between the Seattle downtown and the Seattle waterfront. This viaduct was of a similar sort to the Embarcadero Viaduct which collapsed in San Francisco during the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

Also near the start of the new century a group of Fort Worth insiders foisting on the public a public works project the public did not vote for. At the time it was foisted it was known as the Trinity Uptown Project, later the Trinity River Vision, before many name additions, in total, the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision. The Fort Worth project claimed to be about vitally needed flood control and an economic development scheme.

After the Nisqually Earthquake it was quickly realized the Alaskan Viaduct needed to be replaced. Temporary fixes were installed, along with quake activated gates to stop traffic entering the Viaduct if a quake was detected. A long debate began as to how to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, after the Trinity Uptown Vision project was announced not much of anything happened. Some earth was moved around near Gateway Park. A quick to fail wakeboard park was built. A lot of signs were installed touting the wonders of the still not seen vision.

And then in 2014, with a TNT exploding ceremony, construction began on three simple little bridges, to be built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Around the same time, up north, in Seattle, the solution to the Alaskan Way Viaduct began in the form of the world's biggest (at the time) tunnel boring machine, digging a transit tunnel under downtown Seattle.

Both Fort Worth's bridge building and Seattle's tunnel digging soon ground to a halt. No one has ever explained the long stall to the Fort Worth bridge building. The Seattle tunnel boring machine, known as Bertha, ground to a halt when Bertha hit a big steel pipe, stalling the project for a year.

When Bertha began boring again the tunnel project moved full steam ahead, was completed, with traffic flowing under downtown Seattle via a double deck highway tunnel. With the tunnel now handling the Alaskan Way traffic, the Viaduct could come down. Which quickly happened, so now Seattle is in the rebuilding of the Seattle Waterfront phase of the multi billion dollar project.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth

Six years after that TNT exploding ceremony Fort Worth still has three simple little bridges under construction over dry land, which had been projected to be completed two years ago, and now are projected to maybe possibly be completed sometime this current decade.

So, how does one town successfully manage a multi-billion dollar, complex public works project, fully funded, whilst another American town can not even manage to get three bridges built, along with other "promises" which the Trinity River Vision purported to see?

I have asked, more than once, is the Trinity River Vision still mailing those slick full color brochures quarterly? Detailing all the imaginary progress and wonders to come?

Now, in 2020, Seattle is in the midst of the final third part of its HUGE public works project. Phase One, the tunnel which began construction the same time Fort Worth started trying to build three bridges has long been completed. Phase Two, the removal of the Alaskan Way Viaduct has long been accomplished.

And now Phase Three, the rebuild of the Seattle Waterfront is well underway.

In addition to the Seattle project being fully funded, whilst the Fort Worth project relies on federal handouts hopefully secured by a local congresswoman motivated to do so due to the project hiring her son to do a job for which it is now obvious he was not qualified, the Seattle project, unlike the Fort Worth project, seems to operate with absolute transparency.

When Bertha ground to a halt a 24/7 camera was aimed at the fix-it operation, with constant website updates detailing the progress. For a short time Fort Worth aimed a 24/7 camera at one of its bridges under construction, but that has long been disabled due to the fact there was not much activity to see.

Just check out this Seattle Alaskan Way Waterfront Projects website ( screen cap at the top) and see the timeline of the waterfront rebuild part of this project, and you in the Trinity River Vision zone ask yourself why you never see anything this detailed regarding the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision?

How much longer are the people of Fort Worth going to put up with this bizarre Boondoggle mess which was foisted upon them without a vote? Taking property via abusing eminent domain, disrupting traffic flow for years, causing multiple businesses multiple woes.

Why is no one held accountable for this embarrassing mess? Are the voters actually going to re-elect Kay Granger again, after her part in this mess?

Well, if so, I guess Fort Worth gets what it deserves.

Ineptitude, incompetence and civic embarrassment...

Friday, September 4, 2020

Where Did Sikes Lake Van Gogh Horse Go?

I first noticed the new sign you see above, a couple weeks ago, stuck in the ground at the side of the paved trail which surrounds Sikes Lake.

Upon first look I thought this sign to be a bit dangerous. A sharp slab of metal stuck to a pole stuck in the ground.

It is not unheard of to have a mishap whilst riding a bike, roller blading, skateboarding, scootering, jogging or just walking.

In other words, to me, this sign looked to be a bit of a road hazard.

Now, today, when I rolled by the sign I stopped because I saw something was missing, with the missing thing in need of being photo documented.

The sign describes two works of art. One being known as "Painters Parade (small horse)". The other known as "Apple-oosa (large horse)".

But today only the small horse is still standing. The large horse has disappeared.

Why? One can not help but wonder.

Vandals? Thieves? The sign says the horses are on loan to the WFMA (Wichita Falls Museum of Art). Did someone decide to no longer want to loan the large horse?

These two works of horse art were notable due to what is painted on them. As in works of art representing the most famous painters the world has seen. Like Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, Dali, those types.

A couple years ago marked the last time I saw Elsie Hotpepper in person. We met at a gazebo near the horse statues. Elsie Hotpepper was accompanied by her leading new husband candidate and that candidate's daughter. I recollect telling the daughter it was okay to try and pet the geese, but gently, so as not to get goosed.

I regretted later that it did not occur to me to suggest to the daughter that she walk the short distance around the bend in the trail so she could visit the two horses of many colors and all their works of art.

Maybe by the next time Elsie Hotpepper comes to town, with her now step-daughter, the large horse will have returned, available for the step-daughter's perusal...

Thursday, September 3, 2020

New Fort Worth Panther Island Bridge Propaganda Nonsense

Saw that which you see here this morning on the front page of the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Anyone who has any awareness of the Fort Worth public works project which has become known simply as The Boondoggle would easily guess what someone with that awareness would think when seeing the article's headline of A Panther Island bridge in downtown Fort Worth may be done sooner than expected.

Done sooner than expected? Those three simple little bridges being built over dry land began construction with a celebratory TNT explosion way back in 2014.

Over half a decade ago.

With an, even then, bizarrely long four year bridge building project timeline, for three simple little bridges, built over dry land.

Four years is longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge, over actual deep, fast moving water. It is difficult to find any engineering feat of significant bridge building, anywhere in the world, which has taken longer than four years.

And here we have Fort Worth's newspaper of record telling its readers that one of those bridges may be done sooner than expected.

In the article we learn that that sooner than expected completion is the middle of 2021.

Here is the paragraph where we learn that completion date info...

Work on the North Main Street bridge, one of three needed for the Panther Island project, may be done by the middle of 2021, Doug Rademaker, a senior project manager for the city, told the project’s board of directors Wednesday. Rademaker wouldn’t put a firm end date on the bridge construction, but said based on the work already finished it appears to be significantly ahead of the its projected December 2021 completion date.

Significantly ahead of its December 2021 completion date? 2021 is 7 years after the bridge construction began, with a then four year project timeline. How can a phrase like "significantly ahead" be used to describe this?

Another doozy from this article...

Traffic may be allowed on the bridges before they’re completely finished.

Traffic on unfinished bridges. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

The following paragraph in this latest Star-Telegram propaganda article about The Boondoggle is another head scratcher...

Once scheduled to open in 2017, the bridges were delayed by design issues, and officials have pushed the completion date back several times.

What? Once scheduled to open in 2017, a mere three years after that TNT explosion? Design issues pushed back the completion date several times? The Star-Telegram has never investigated and explained to its readers precisely what those design issues have been.

Design issues with simple little bridges being built over dry land, which look like freeway overpasses?

 What are those design issues?

Don't the people of Fort Worth deserve and need to know what the design issues have been with those bridges they may one day be driving over, even before the construction is completed?

So perplexing that something like this goes on and on and on, with no real end in sight. Still not funded, awaiting magic money from the future, for a project which those who foisted it on the town claimed was a vitally needed flood control and economic development plan.

Soon to enter the third decade of that imaginary "vitally needed" project not being anywhere near completion, not even able to build three simple little bridges in a timely fashion...