Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Why Wasn't The Golden Gate Built Over Dry Land To Save Time & Money?

I saw that which you see above on Facebook. A lady standing on the running board of an old car, in San Francisco, with the Golden Gate Bridge, under construction, behind her.

According to the caption the year was 1935, with the new bridge to be completed in two years. It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, in total.

Four years..

Over water.

Fast moving, deep water, subject to strong tidal currents.

I don't know why San Francisco did not employ the time and money saving Fort Worth method of bridge building by draining all that water and building the bridge over dry land.

Methinks if Fort Worth tried to build an actual feat of bridge building engineering, such as the Golden Gate, even if Fort Worth began building in 1933, the bridge would still not be completed by 2021.

Fort Worth can't even seem to manage to build simple little bridges over dry land in a reasonable time span.

We blogged about this recently in Another Opportunity To Drone On About Fort Worth's Visionary Bridges To Nowhere, comparing the two town's signature iconic bridges, with one town's bridge being actually iconic, called Golden Gate Bridge, as opposed to the other town's being imaginarily iconic, called Panther Island Bridge...

Hank Frank & Grandpa Jake

My little brother has been escaping the HEAT of Arizona by enjoying the HEAT of Washington, which is HOTTER than the HEAT he left behind in Arizona.

I knew my little brother had made his way from Hood Canal on the Olympic Peninsula to the Skagit Valley, on Monday, so I asked this morning, via text message, if he had been able to see Spencer Jack and Hank Frank yet.

Those being the two who turned my little brother into a grandpa.

The reply to my probing question came in the form of the picture you see above. 

I replied "Now that that is one cute pic!!!"

To which Hank Frank's grandpa replied "He is a cutie patootie. He calls me Poppa Jake. He is a happy little boy."

Well, now, this all just made my day...

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Texas Exit To Oklahoma & Comanche Red River Casino

I mentioned earlier today that I read that the Red River was heading into being in flood mode, and that I thought I might drive myself north a few miles, to Oklahoma, to see the Red River flowing a lot of water.

The last time I saw the Red River it did not look like a river. It looked like a meandering creek, surrounded by massive sand bars, with a long bridge crossing over the little creek. 

That long bridge, which I saw today is named the G.W. Bush Bridge, today was not crossing over a creek. Instead it was crossing over a wild looking river.

In that first photo, a rare selfie, we are seeing the expression of joy and relief on my face, happy to be leaving Texas for the first time in well over a year.

That photo was taken just as I drove onto the G.W. Bush Bridge. I do not know at what point in the bridge crossing one leaves Texas and enters Oklahoma. There is a big Welcome to Oklahoma sign when you get to the north side of the river.

I snapped photos of the flooding Red River, both heading to Oklahoma, and when returning to Texas. Below is the looking east, heading to Oklahoma, view of the flooding Red River.

It certainly is not a bright Red River, more of a brownish shade of red Red River.

There are two casinos soon after crossing the border. I had previously been to the Apache Casino. I drove past it this time and stopped at Comanche Red River Casino instead, because I was in need of a restroom break.

The Comanche Red River Casino is bigger than the Apache Casino. I really do not like the modern style of gaming machines. Way too much sensory overload. Huge video screens, some curved, some towering above where one sits. I like a casino with a more sedate ambience than the current casino norm.

If the casino today had old style slots I likely would not have resisted the urge to gamble a nickel or two. Today I felt no such urge.

And above we are heading back to Texas, on the middle of the G.W. Bush Bridge, heading south, looking west at the flooding Red River.

I rather enjoyed freeway driving today. I do not remember the last time I went 70 mph. It's been a long long time.

I suspect I will be making my first return in a long long time to DFW soon. It has been well over a year since I have been to that location...

Seattle 108 Degrees HOTTER Than Ever In NYC, Washington, D.C. & Atlanta

The above screen cap from Twitter was in my email inbox this morning, sent by my Favorite Nephew Jason, currently in super sweltering Mount Vernon, Washington.

I would have to do some Googling to verify that these temperature statistics are accurate, but, I am fairly certain they are. 

This morning I read in the Seattle Times that cool marine air is going to flow in today from the Pacific, bringing relief to the over HEATED. 

I also read that yesterday's heat caused I-5 and other roads to buckle.

I do not know if a buckled road is temporarily not safe to drive on, or what, exactly, buckling necessitates. 

Meanwhile, at my Texas location this morning, the temperature is 73, heading to a high in the low 80s, with rain currently falling, going into downpour mode every once in awhile, along with thunder booms.

I read this morning, in the local Wichita Falls Times New Record, that the Red River is in flood mode. Maybe I will drive up to Oklahoma this morning and see the Red River in flood mode. The last time I drove the 20 miles north to Oklahoma the Red River was a mere trickle, but one could see, whilst driving over the long bridge across the river, that the river had potential to be much wider.

One comes to casinos a couple miles north of the Oklahoma border. Too bad I am not much of a slot machine fan or I might have myself some fun losing money.

To operate the newfangled slot machines I need my Arizona sister to guide me through the complicated process. I don't know why the nice simple slot machines of long ago are no longer an option.

I used to actually enjoy playing video poker on the slot machines of Reno and Vegas.

One time in the Debbie Reynolds Casino in Las Vegas I won a super jackpot on a nickel video poker machine. It filled two buckets with nickels. I think the grand total when I converted the nickels to paper was somewhere in the whopping 60 bucks range...

Monday, June 28, 2021

My Old Skagit Valley Home Zone Swelters At 100 While At Same Time I Chill In Texas At 77

 Around 5:00 o'clock this Monday afternoon, after checking my phone to see the current temperature, I checked to see the current temperature in my old home zone. 

100 degrees.

Currently my location in North Texas is chilled to 77 degrees at the same time my old home zone has a Death Valley worthy temperature. As you can see, via the below screen shot from my phone, thunder is currently booming and rain is currently downpouring, in addition to that 77 degrees chilly thing.

And yet, even though it is 77, the A/C just cycled on.

At 100 degrees, at 5 in the afternoon, it looks like Western Washington had dodged the predicted temperature apocalypse of somewhere above 110, for now...

Theo & Ruby Turn Tarzan & Jane On HOT Harstine Island

That would be Theo you see swinging on a rope above.

Two photos arrived in my email this morning from Harstine Island in Puget Sound in swelteringly HOT Washington.

The text in the email explained what we are seeing...

As we drove back to our cabin from the pool, we saw it was a beautiful sunset, so we went to the beach and the twins took turns on the rope swing. It was high tide, so they could drop into the water!  I’m ready for some cooler temps, and I cannot believe that a day in the 80’s sounds nice! Usually that is waaaay too hot. I hope everyone and all the animals and trees survive this. It’s crazy!

And that would be Ruby above doing her best "Jane" imitation. 

That is a scenic sunset.

For those in Fort Worth who have never actually seen one, and who are easily duped as to what one is, Theo & Ruby are swinging on an island.

Harstine Island.

Harstine Island is surrounded by water, saltwater, to be precise. Located in the south end of Puget Sound, which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

Harstine Island was not created by digging a ditch and then diverting dirty river water into the ditch and then declaring the result to be an island.

Changing the subject back to Theo & Ruby swinging on a rope vine like Tarzan & Jane, we can not help but wonder where David is.

Is he still at the Irish Redhead Event?

David could have played the Cheetah role in this Tarzan & Jane rope vine swinging scenario...

Record Heat Wave Has West Coast Hotter Than Arizona

That which you see above is a screen cap from the front page of this Monday morning's Seattle Times.

June 28, 2021, a date which will likely go down in HOT infamy, due to today's high predicted by some to be as sweltering as 113 for some locations in Western Washington, as this bizarre weather phenomenon sucks super heated air back to the west, over the mountains, from Eastern Washington.

Aunt Alice, in Tonasket, up near the Canadian border, in Eastern Washington, got up to 117 degrees yesterday. Now, it is not at all unusual for Eastern Washington to go over 100 degrees in summer. But, 117 degrees, that is unusual.

Text from the Seattle Times article about today's HOT forecast...

Sunday’s scorching 104-degree milestone, which came at 5:29 p.m., made it the hottest day since at least 1945, when official temperatures started to be measured at Sea-Tac Airport. The previous high of 103 was set in 2009.

And for Seattleites already drenched in sun and sweat, the worst remains to come.

On Monday, forecasters predict a hot wind will sweep down the slopes of the Cascade mountain range and send temperatures soaring even higher, pushing a heat-stressed region further into the unknown.  

In Seattle, “we are looking at 109, 110. 111 is not out of the question,” said Maddie Kristell, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

“The forecast tomorrow is for Seattle to be warmer than Las Vegas,” said Joe Boomgard-Zagrodnik, a postdoctoral researcher in agricultural meteorology at Washington State University. “Unheard of.”

A graphic showing it ain't just Washington that is overheating. 

 I assume the Arizona/Southeast California stats are included because those towns are always hot this time of year, never cooler, like they are today, than the other towns in other states listed.

All the towns listed in Oregon are in central Oregon, well, in the middle of the state, but on the west side of the Cascade range, except for Hermiston, which is in Eastern Oregon, hence hotter than the other towns.

Over the weekend, Seattleites Wally and Wanda were in Astoria, Oregon, located on the Pacific at the mouth of the Columbia River. Wally and Wanda reported being cooled in the 80s, whilst everyone else inland sweltered.

Of the Washington towns listed, all but Seattle are in Eastern Washington, hence HOTTER.

Of the Canadian towns, the only one of the three, the location of which I know without Googling, is Kamloops. Kamloops is in Eastern British Columbia, east of the Cascade Mountains, north of Aunt Alice in Tonasket.

Today is going to be interesting, likely a historic day for the West Coast, hopefully not tragically so...

Nephew David At International Irish Redhead Ginger Convention

Can you find my Favorite Nephew David, looking right at you, in the photo above of an assembly of a lot of Irish redhead ginger sorts at some sort of International Irish Ginger Redheads event?

David in the one and only redhead in the entire extended Jones family. This is just one of the many things which make David such a special Jones boy.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

My Old Home Zone Washington Is Melting With Record HOT Temperatures

I saw this on Facebook yesterday. A weather map courtesy of KING5 in Seattle, showing the temperatures in various towns in Western Washington. 

Along with the temperature of one Eastern Washington town. 


I have long explained to people, well, Texans, who have no real understanding of the concept of mountain ranges, because, well, they have never seen one, that Washington is divided in two by the Cascade Mountains, making for two totally different climates.

Western Washington has a mild Mediterranean climate. For the most part. 

Whilst Eastern Washington has more of a North Texas type climate. For the most part. Albeit with much more scenic scenery, bigger rivers, with big dams, a lot of orchards and vineyards.

Yesterday's temperature clearly shows the difference between east and west of the mountains. The west side is for the most part not even over 100 degrees, whilst Wenatchee, on the east side, is sweltering at 1104 degrees.

The map shows Cle Elum at 99. Cle Elum is sort of in Eastern Washington, but that town is still basically up in the mountains, sort of. If you were a Northern Exposure fan, Cle Elum is only a couple miles from Rosyln, the scenic Washington tourist town which was Cicely, Alaska in Northern Exposure. 

Today, the final Sunday of June, most of Western Washington is predicted to go over 100 degrees on a record breaking HOT day.

And then on Monday, a disaster is in the making, with the temperature predicted to be in the 108 - 109 zone...

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Record Washington Heat Wave Has FN Jason & Spencer Jack In Nephews In Danger Mood

The west coast is having a HEAT wave, including my old home zone part of the west coast, as in the Pacific Northwest part, where there are predictions the temperature may soar to a record breaking level above 100 degrees for the first time, west of the mountains, as in west of the Cascades.

East of the mountains, also known as Eastern Washington, regularly goes over 100 during the HOT time of the year.

Incoming email from my Favorite Nephew Jason and his first born, Spencer Jack, today, documenting the HEAT wave and the effect it is having.

As in Jason and Spencer Jack have closed their Fidalgo Drive-In til Monday, because, as is the case for much of Western Washington, the Fidalgo Drive-In has no air conditioning.

I am assuming the three day closure is based on the PNW norm of a HEAT wave only lasting three days, then cold air arrives from the Pacific, cooling things down, often with thick, refreshing fog.

Today's email from Jason and Spencer Jack including three photos along with some explanatory text.

"Thought you'd enjoy these photos---I have decided to close down my restaurant for the next 3 days, as the PNW is about to experience an historic heat wave.  I imagine there may be many deaths, as I just read that Seattle is the least air-conditioned large city in the U.S.   My restaurant is not air-conditioned."

"Spencer and I spent Wednesday and Thursday making the Cascade Loop, overnighting in Leavenworth."

Leavenworth is a Bavarian themed Washington tourist town. One of my favorite places when I was an in state Washingtonian.

I believe that is Liberty Bell Peak behind Jason and Spencer Jack. They are standing at an overlook vantage point at the east end of the North Cross State Highway, also known as Highway 20. This highway passes through North Cascades National Park.

I can't remember if this location is in the National Park. I suspect it is. It is a great view, looking down on the highway as it quickly descends to Eastern Washington. It can be a scary stretch of road to drive. I last drove it a month before moving to Texas. Hard to believe this type scenery used to be a short drive from my home abode.

Heading for a beach or the mountains is how Western Washingtonians get some relief from a HEAT wave. An option I do not have at my current location. But, I do have air conditioning, which is blowing cold on me even as I type.

"I made sure to stop at my favorite Nephew in Danger location: Spencer Jack Not The Nephew In Danger Crossing A Rickety Methow River Suspension Bridge and snap a photo for you."

I can remember it like it was yesterday. Jason and his brother, my Favorite Nephew Joey, took me on the Cascade Loop. That is what it is called when you make a loop of going over the North Cross State Highway pass to Eastern Washington, then Stevens Pass to return to Western Washington. The reverse works too. Or you can make it a way longer loop by making Snoqualmie Pass your way over the mountains.

Anyway, you leave Highway 20 around the tourist town of Winthrop. That's a western themed tourist town. You then head south along the Methow River, heading towards where it meets the Columbia River. There are several rickety old suspension bridges across the river. The nephews convinced me to stop at one, and then asked if they could cross it. I rarely said no, irresponsible uncle that I was. The river did not look too treacherous if one or both happened to fall in.

It looks like the bridge has greatly deteriorated since Jason and Joey tried to cross it. I am surprised that after all this time even remnants remain.

The email also included news about Jason paternal parental unit, also known as Spencer Jack's grandpa, or my little brother...

Your brother is currently visiting, and my hope is this heat makes him feel right at home.   He is currently staying with a pair of neurotics at some camp near the Olympics.  He is due to come visit this upcoming Monday.  Brother Joe and I have advised him that Monday is not an ideal travel/visiting day due to the forecasted 100+ temperatures, however, he is insisting on leaving the camp that day.  Your brother has a very hard time taking reasonable advice.

Wish us all luck.


Another Opportunity To Drone On About Fort Worth's Visionary Bridges To Nowhere

Well, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram seems to be providing a plethora of goofy things to talk about the past several days.

What you see above is a screen cap of part the front page of the Star-Telegram on this final Saturday of the 2021 version of June. An invitation to watch drone video of a completed Panther Island bridge.

As you can see, this is quite a feat of bridge engineering you are looking at. Years in the making, as in around seven years, give or take a month or two. There is no town in America which would not be super proud to have such an amazing new bridge to grace their cityscape. Look at the fine detail in the finishing touches of this completed Panther Island bridge. The landscaping is stunning.

And when that ditch is ever dug under the bridge, and lined with cement, then filled with water, well, people will come from all over the world to eye witness this marvel.

There really are not too many towns in the world which can dig a ditch, do some river diverting, and declare an island has been created. And see it as a vision.

Now, there have been some naysayers who have scoffed at the Trinity River Vision spokespeople, like J.D. Granger, spouting that these are signature bridges being built, which will become iconic symbols of Fort Worth. Now that we see the reality methinks an apology is owed to J.D. and his ilk who made the signature bridge claims. These beautiful bridges are likely to be emulated all over the world. 

And look at how this newly completed bridge leads directly to the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth. There will need to be a viewing platform at this location so all the tourists which descend upon Fort Worth can take a photo of this iconic scene.

Now, there are towns other than Fort Worth which have iconic signature bridges associated with their skyline. San Francisco comes to mind.

Let's compare the two, the San Francisco signature bridge and skyline, and Fort Worth's....

It's hard to decide which is the more beautiful, more stunning, more scenic. I suppose, proportionally speaking, it might be said the San Francisco bridge matches the quality of that town's skyline, and likewise with the Fort Worth bridge matching the quality of that town's skyline.

You can sure see why the federal government is gonna jump at the chance to funnel a lot of funds to Fort Worth to complete this visionary flood control and economic development scheme, what with the amazing results already brought to fruition in only a few years, well, most of this century...

Friday, June 25, 2021

Star-Telegram Wonders How Long Until Panther Island Becomes An Island


This morning a new article showed up in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about America's Biggest Boondoggle. By the end of this long article we learn the article was written by a new reporter, recently moved to Fort Worth, Emily Brindley, who the Star-Telegram is characterizing as an "investigative reporter".

This should be interesting. The Star-Telegram has not had one of those before, regarding anything to do with the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, which has become, after limping along for years, America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The article is titled As another bridge opens, how long until Fort Worth’s Panther Island becomes an island?

Just the article's title raises red flags. Such as, even the article's title admits that that which has been called an island, is not an island. 

Let's go through this article and comment as we go along. The first paragraph...

Late this weekend, Fort Worth officials plan to open the new North Main Street bridge that leads to the eventual Panther Island — marking another step forward in a project that has been more than a decade in the making and is still years from completion.

First off, this project has been limping along this entire century. Just the building of the three simple little bridges is taking almost a decade. Is it not even remotely concerning that a project which originally was touted as being a vitally needed flood control/economic development scheme is still years from completion?

Clearly, not vitally needed.

The second paragraph...

But local officials say the many moving pieces of the project are beginning to align. With a new presidential administration, an impending federal infrastructure bill and the return of appropriations earmarks, officials say that federal funding could soon flow into the project and kick off the next big phase of construction.

Have we not heard this moving parts beginning to align propaganda before? There is actual vitally needed infrastructure work in America, including much work needed in Fort Worth, such as addressing actual, real, flooding issues in Fort Worth. Why would, or should the rest of America help pay for Fort Worth's inept Boondoggle after it has been so badly mismanaged for so many years?

Why should, or would, federal money flood into Fort Worth for this project when the voters of Fort Worth have never voted to approve this public works project? Let alone be asked to support a bond issue to pay for it, like towns wearing their Big City pants do.

The next two paragraphs are a doozy, followed by one of the photos from the Star-Telegram article illustrating the imaginary beautiful bridges...

Tarrant County administrator G.K. Maenius pointed to the bridges as evidence that “we’re finally seeing some results” — and he said he’s pleased with the aesthetics of those results, too.

“I don’t know if anyone realized just how beautiful those bridges are going to be,” he said. “I’m not a bridge guy, but even to me, they look pretty darn good.”

Yeah, that is one super beautiful bridge. And look at those signature V-Piers, which J.D. Granger insisted on, rather than the actual cool looking design of the West 7th Street Bridge over the Trinity River. Clearly this guy who admits he is not a bridge guy, has not seen any of the world's actual impressive signature type bridges. Maybe heading west and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge might be too much bother for education purposes, but this Tarrant County administrator could simply drive a short distance east, to Dallas, and see the two actual signature bridges over the Trinity River, which actually do look pretty darn good.

You reading this in non-Fort Worth America, you good with your tax dollars helping Fort Worth build this?  Moving on...

The creation of an island necessitates the digging of a new channel north of downtown Fort Worth, which would connect the Clear and West forks of the Trinity River and then connect the ends of a U-shaped bend in the Trinity River. The new channel would effectively create two islands, together called Panther Island.

This is the first I have read there will be two imaginary islands. Both called Panther Island. If there are two, shouldn't they be known as the Panther Islands? Like in my old home zone in Washington, where the dozen of islands in the San Juan Strait are known as the San Juan Islands. But those islands in Washington are real islands, not cut off from the mainland by a cement lined ditch.

Moving on...

And for access over the eventual channel, the Texas Department of Construction in 2014 began building the three bridges, which currently span dry land. At the time, officials said the bridges would be completed by 2018.

Texas Department of Construction? I have not heard of this Department before. Maybe the Star-Telegram's new investigative reporter can do some actual investigating to find out why it has taken so long to build three simple little bridges over dry land? With construction to be completed three years ago.

Moving on a couple paragraphs...

Officially, the $1.17 billion project is broken into two pieces: the flood control portion, which is known as the Central City project and primarily involves digging the 1.5-mile channel, and the economic development portion, which is known as the Panther Island project and primarily involves the development of the industrial land in the area.

Officially? When did this breaking the project into pieces thing officially happen? When America's Biggest Boondoggle began around the start of this century it was called Trinity Uptown. A few years later this became the Trinity River Vision. I saw Central City on signage in Gateway Park, years ago, far east from the area which does not need new flood control, because it has not flooded since well over a half century ago, due to flood prevention measures already in place. When did the economic development part of this scheme become known as the Panther Island Project? The Boondoggle has been sold as a flood control/economic development scheme from the start. Slapping the Panther Island label on this that and the other thing came around about the time J.D. Granger and the Trinity River Vision began hosting Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River, labeling this as happening at Panther Island Pavilion. Where there is no island or pavilion, by any sane person's definition of either island or pavilion.

Skipping ahead a few exhausting paragraphs to the following doozy...

Officials have long said that it was cheaper and easier to build the bridges over dry land, and that the federal government would pay for the channel construction because it’s a flood control project.

Uh, if it was easier to build these three simple little bridges over dry land, why is the project years behind being completed? And, as has been pointed out many many times, there was no option other than to build the bridges over dry land. How could there be any other option? I mean, this entire project is rife with wanton stupidity, but it is hard to believe the stupidity could be so dumb as to dig a ditch, line it with cement, fill it with water. And then build bridges over it.

There has never been any other option than to build these bridges over dry land. How many times must this be repeated before the Star-Telegram ceases repeating this "cheaper and easier" nonsense?

The next paragraphs repeat the propaganda about securing federal funds, Kay Granger's failed role in doing so, the Trump administration refusing to help because the project has never done a comprehensive cost-benefit study and thus is not policy compliant, which then leads to hoping "the Biden administration will look more favorably on the Fort Worth project."

This article makes no mention of the fact Kay Granger's unqualified son, J.D., was hired as the Trinity River Vision's Executive Director, at a salary which has now gone over $200K, so as to motivate J.D.'s mother to secure those federal funds to secure J.D. a good paying job.

Why would the Biden administration look favorably at the Fort Worth project with all its baggage? There still has been no cost benefit study. The project is mired in mismanagement and project delays. The project wastes money on flood control where there has been no flooding for over half a century. Why would the Biden administration waste federal money on this Fort Worth boondoggle while the town ignores actual real flooding issues in other parts of the town?

Moving on deeper into this article...

Mark Mazzanti, a consultant on the flood control portion of the project and a 35-year veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers, said the federal government’s finite funding allocation means difficult decisions about which projects to fund. But he also said that the Panther Island/Central City project has “a number of strengths,” including support from locals, from Congress and from the Corps itself.

A number of strengths? If the locals support this boondoggle why have they never been allowed to vote on it? Like voting yes on a bond issue to pay for it. The amount of money we are talking about here is not that big for most big cities and their public works projects. What makes Fort Worth different? If this is such a good idea, such a brilliant scheme, such a well thought out and important project, why would those who want to make this happen not go to the voters and ask for their help by passing a bond issue to pay for the thing?

And then this...

Federal funding would mean that workers could begin on the new channel — first with final planning and then actual digging and construction.

Yes, federal funds would mean the planning for the ditch could be finalized with actual digging beginning. The same could have happened if years ago voters voted to support a bond issue to finance this vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme, which apparently really is not even remotely vitally needed, due to the backwards way Fort Worth has gone about actualizing the ill begotten project.

And then the following two paragraphs...

Even after federal funding comes through, it would likely be another eight to 10 years until the channel was actually completed, according to Buhman, the soon-to-be general manager of the water district.

That means that the channel would be finished — and Panther Island would actually become a full island — by 2030 at the earliest.

So, eight to 10 years after these three bridges are finally completely built over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, the channel, actually ditch, will actually be completed. Yeah, this sounds like a really well thought out project that the federal government should jump right on and help to the max. Oh my, Panther Island might actually be a full imaginary island by 2030, after calling it Panther Island for two decades.

We are almost at the end of this article, two more paragraphs...

In the meantime, Buhman said, officials are focused on getting the land as ready as it can be for the channel. The water district is working on environmental cleanup of the Panther Island properties, he said, while the city moves and sets up utilities.

“We are shovel-ready for that channel and we’re still doing that prep work but I would say it is well on its way,” Buhman said. “And we are at the place that we are ready for that federal investment and for that construction.”

Really? What is the manifestation of those officials getting the land ready for the channel? Are they clearing the land of weeds and debris? What? How is the water district working on the environmental cleanup? Many have long thought that if this ever gets to the point where a lot of dirt is moving it will uncover a contamination level requiring an EPA Superfund cleanup. Shovel-ready and doing prep work? Again, what prep work does one do preparing to dig a ditch? It's well underway? As in how? Ready for that federal investment which likely will never come?

So, one can not help but wonder, if this new Star-Telegram 'investigative journalist" is the real thing.

Will she be doing some investigating to let us know, after all these years, why it has taken so long to build three simple little bridges? Will she look into what it is that J.D. Granger actually does to warrant being paid so much money? How about looking into the real reason J.D. Granger was hired? 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Fort Worth's Amazing "Iconic" T & P Station Skyscraper

I saw that which you see above yesterday in Wednesday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

This an example of the type Star-Telegram "news" I have been eye rolling over ever since I was first exposed to Fort Worth and the town's newspaper of record, with its patented tendency towards hyperbolic nonsense..

Delusional hyperbole that long has had me wondering how such gets past any sort of editor. 

Why does the Star-Telegram, and Fort Worth, have such a fixation on claiming some lame thing in Fort Worth is iconic? Or a signature structure?

For years now we have been told that the Trinity River Vision is building three iconic signature bridges, over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

When those bridges finally began to be somewhat seen it was obvious they were perfectly ordinary little bridges which look like freeway overpasses.

Passing over nothing.

Is the explanation for this type nonsense, spouted by those who refer to something in Fort Worth as being iconic, that they don't know what the word "iconic" means?

Simply Googling "iconic definition" should help the Star-Telegram understand the T & P Station is not iconic. One example among dozens which come up when you Google that simple search term...

"Synonyms for 'iconic': famous, well-known, celebrated, renowned, fabled, legendary, notorious, infamous, illustrious, the one and only, best, better."

Yesterday I asked a non-Texan if they could name for me some iconic things that say "Fort Worth" to them. "No", was the initial answer. And then, "Oh, I know, that sign that says Fort Worth Stockyards".

Well, that doesn't count when the name is right on that which you think is iconic.

Now, what are some iconic things which people do see as iconic representations of a town?

The Eiffel Tower comes to mind, you know that is Paris when you see it.

The Golden Gate Bridge, you know that is San Francisco, among other iconic SF things, like Chinatown, the Cable Cars, Lombard Street, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz.

You see a photo of the Petronas Towers, you know that is Kuala Lumpur.

The Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, you see a photo of one of those and you know it's Dubai.

See the Statue of Liberty, and you know it's an iconic symbol of both New York City and America. New York City has many iconic structures, in the form of skyscrapers and bridges. Oh, and Times Square.

See a photo of the skyline of Dallas, with Reunion Tower, and you are seeing an iconic image known world-wide due to a world-wide hit TV show called Dallas, back in the previous century.

Seattle has a few iconic images which people associate with the town, such as the Space Needle and Pike Place Market. And a big volcano called Rainier south of town.

But Fort Worth? I hate to hurt anyone feelings, but there is absolutely nothing in Fort Worth, other than the Fort Worth Stockyards sign, which is an iconic thing people recognize as being Fort Worth.

So, just stop it Star-Telegram, no more with this ironic use of the iconic word.

And speaking of Seattle and the Space Needle.

Last night I was watching a video on YouTube titled TOP 15 Most Amazing Skyscrapers. I expected to see the usual suspects, some of which I mentioned above, like the Petronas Towers, or those towers in Dubai, and some of the towers in China, like the futuristic ones in Shanghai.

What I did not expect was what I saw when we got to the #3 Most Amazing Skyscraper.

That being that it was the Space Needle which was the 3rd Most Amazing Skyscraper.

The accompanying verbiage described the Space Needle as an iconic structure, which it is. But, skyscraper? The Eiffel Tower was not on this TOP 15 list. I would think the Eiffel Tower would be much more recognized, and iconic, than the Space Needle. And I've never heard either referred to as skyscrapers. Even though both do scrape the sky.

I wonder if one day someone will build something in Fort Worth which will actually become iconic. The Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision may become iconic, but not in the way most town's would want to be known, as in an Iconic Boondoggle of Epic Proportions.

You can watch that aforementioned TOP 15 Most Amazing Skyscrapers YouTube video below...

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Driving Elderly Senior Citizen By Hamilton Park Doctor's Splash Pad


This morning I was chauffeuring the elderly senior citizen who I regularly chauffer to doctor appointments and drug dealing pharmacies, to get some drugs from the far side of town from my home zone location.

After successfully getting the drugs from that far side location I drove to the west side of town to get something I needed. Completing that task, ready to take the elderly senior citizen back from whence he came, he remembered he needed to get another prescription from another pharmacy. So, I headed back in the direction of the far side of town, stopping at the pharmacy about midway between the far side and west side of town.

The pharmacy is on Brook Avenue. Which intersects with Speedway Avenue, which intersects with Hamilton Boulevard. Hamilton Boulevard runs west of Hamilton Park, which is the location of the Doctor's Splash Pad, which is having its grand opening today.

So, one of the routes to take the elderly senior citizen back home goes right by Hamilton Park. So, I drove into the park to check out the new Doctor's Splash Pad. There were a lot of kids getting splashed.

I think the Splash Pad has some sorta sensor which only splashes when weight is detected. I thought that, because after taking the old man home I decided it was early enough for a bike ride. So I rolled the Circle Trail north to Hamilton Park and took the picture you see above of the Doctor's Splash Pad.

Without any kids getting splashed.

Or any water splashing. Hence my conclusion that the splasher detects weight and then turns on the splashing.

I think this Doctor's Splash Pad is going to be quite popular. I wished I would have thought to roll my bike over it to see if that caused splashing to erupt. Maybe next time if I find it unoccupied...

Monday, June 21, 2021

TRWD Secretly Tables Honoring General Manager Jim Oliver

Yesterday Miss Elsie Hotpepper pointed me to a Fort Worth Report article titled Tarrant water board tables plan to honor retiring GM which Elsie thought I might find of interest.

Apparently in the video released of a recent Tarrant Region Water District Board meeting a couple items did not make it to the video available for public viewing, with one of those items being the Board's discussion of a plan to do some sort of honor deal for retiring TRWD General Manager, Jim Oliver. 

Oliver has been employed by the TRWD for 35 years. And during those years he has been the center of plenty of controversy. Controversy of the sort which might make a discussion about honoring him to be a bit lively.

Over the years there have been reports of Oliver acting like a childish bully. Including notoriously bullying a TRWD Board member, or two. One of whom was recently re-elected to the TRWD Board.

Oliver made news years ago due to being caught in an inflagrante delicto incident with a TRWD employee.

For those who do not know what inflagrante delicto is I'll do a quick Google for you...

in fla·gran·te de·lic·to - in the very act of wrongdoing, especially in an act of sexual misconduct.
Used in a sentence, "He had been caught in flagrante with the wife of the Association's Treasurer"

I have been told by more than one person who has had personal contact with Jim Oliver that he is a classic case of little man syndrome. Hence the bullying.

So, I can see why a TRWD Board discussion about honoring Jim Oliver might turn into a heated debate edited out of the video intended to transparently document the TRWD Board's meetings. 

Relevant paragraphs from the Fort Wort Report article...

Some district observers said they were suspicious about what caused the delay in Oliver’s honor.

Layla Caraway, an office manager who formerly served as chair of the board of the Northeast Tarrant Chamber, noticed the items concerning the integrated pipeline and Oliver weren’t videotaped when she tried to watch the meeting online Wednesday.

Caraway has made it her mission to increase awareness of the water district after she experienced a flood in Haltom City in 2007. She said that years ago, residents filmed the meetings then because they were concerned many couldn’t attend them because of their timing on a weekday morning. It’s a concern she still has today as she thinks the water district’s modus operandi is to be secretive. 

Caraway questioned what was behind the video problem of the public meeting.

“There’s a reason it was tabled, and I’m assuming that happened in executive session, so we’re not going to know,” she said. “But why didn’t we see it being tabled?

“I don’t know what the issue is, but nothing would surprise me at this point.”

Layla Caraway's experience with a flood in Haltom City, way back in 2007, was a bit more than an "experience". Ms. Caraway's house teetered on the brink of toppling over into super flooding Fossil Creek. That flood drowned a little girl, Ally Collins. You may have seen Ms. Caraway and her teetering house on the national news, as a watch was underway, waiting to see if the house survived.

Congresswoman Kay Granger visited Layla Caraway and her teetering house during the crisis. The aftermath of that meeting with Granger is part of what turned Layla Caraway into an activist. She went from being a regular person minding her own business, to a lady with a mission.

With that mission being to get Fort Worth and Tarrant County to do something about the chronic flooding caused by the bad urban planning for which Fort Worth is infamous. Such as allowing the covering of open land with buildings and cement, without adequate drainage. Hence the flooding.

In 2007 Layla Caraway had zero awareness of the money being wasted on a bogus Fort Worth flood control project, way back then known simply as the Trinity River Vision, where there had been no flooding for well over half a century, due to flood mitigation installations already in place.

When Layla Caraway met with Kay Granger she had no idea Granger had an interest in Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision flood control economic development. And that Granger had no real interest in helping with actual flood issues in parts of Fort Worth where Granger had no vested interest.

Too bad we don't know one of the TRWD Board members well enough to ask about the discussion of honoring Jim Oliver...

Rare June Cold Front Arrives In Soon To Swelter North Texas

 A couple days ago I made mention of hearing a weather forecast forecasting the arrival on Monday of a rare late June cold front. The forecast made no mention of how cold this cold front was forecast to be.

Well, Monday has now arrived, and via the screen shot you see above, from the Wichita Falls Times News Record, we learn we will be chilling to 82 degrees today.

That is one chilly cold front!

And, for the first time this year we are seeing 100 degrees in the forecast.

Looking out the window it already looks stormy. Clear sky when the sun arrived this morning, with the bright morning light soon darkening with the cloud arrival.

Just checked my phone to see the current temperature is 79 degrees, heading towards that predicted 82 degree high.

I checked the temperature thinking it might be cool enough to open my computer room window. But, 79 is warmer than I have the A/C set to, and the A/C has been cycling off and on a few times this morning.

So, the windows will remain closed...

Sunday, June 20, 2021

My Final Happy Father's Day Was Four Years Ago Today

I did not know it at the time, but four years ago today I had my last all you can eat buffet with my dear ol' dad. Dad lasted on this mortal coil less than two weeks after the 2017 version of Father's Day.

I blogged about that Father's Day McDonald's buffet in Dad's Father's Day McDonald's Buffet With Uncle Mooch & Tillie, part of which is screen capped above.

I also did not know at the time that that month of June was the start of several years of the most unsettling years I remember being unsettled by.

When I learned dad was in bad shape I quickly made arrangements to go to Arizona.

Via driving solo.

My vehicle came to a halt a few miles east of Flagstaff.  An hour or so later a tow truck arrived delivering me to a repair shop. Five hours later, with a new fuel pump, I was back on the road, arriving at my little brother's in Scottsdale shortly before dark.

The next day I called my mom to say I'd be there in about an hour. My Favorite Nephew Jeremy was about to take mom to see dad. Mom said they would wait for me. I'd only been to mom and dad's place in Sun Lakes a couple times, and never under my own navigation. In other words, I got lost. Had to call so Jeremy could get me back on track to find Riggs Road.

Little did I know then that over the following years I would be returning to Arizona so many times finding Riggs Road became second nature, as did multiple other locations in the Phoenix metro zone.

I stayed in Arizona for about three weeks, with record breaking HEAT. I was dreading the return to Texas drive, fearing another breakdown. But, I made it back without incident, other than not being able to find a motel with a vacancy when I got to West Texas. Had I known such was the case I would have overnighted in El Paso. 

I made it back to Wichita Falls early the next morning. About a month later I found myself flying out of Wichita Falls for the first time. That was an adventure, flying a little plane to DFW International.

Little did I know, at the time, that this would be the first of multiple times flying out of Wichita Falls over the next two plus years.

That first time I flew out of here it was to Washington, where David, Theo and Ruby picked me up at Sea-Tac, along with their mother, my Favorite Little Sister, Michele. This was my first real happy moment in weeks. The first of many happy moments over the next week in Washington, including three days up north, at Birch Bay, delivering dad to his final resting place in the Dutch section of Lynden's Monumenta Cemetery

Instead of flying directly back to Texas I flew to Arizona for a week to see mom. That was in mid August of 2017. Late January of 2018 I flew directly to Arizona for the first of many times, the last time was in July of 2019.

Anyway, enough of this reminiscing about these past four unsettling years, losing both mom and dad. The ongoing Trump nightmare, topped off by the COVID nightmare. Methinks happier times are soon here again.

I certainly hope so...

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Graduation Pooling With The Tacoma Trio

Incoming photos from Washington arrived on my phone early this Saturday afternoon. Above we see the Tacoma Trio, David, Theo and Ruby, in their pool on Harstine Island. This was last week. They are heading back to the island tomorrow after David and Theo play their final football game of the season.

I did not know David and Theo had become footballers.

In addition to the pool picture there was photo documentation of the last day of school.

Above we see David ready to go to school on the last day of 6th grade.

 And Theo and Ruby heading out for their last day of 4th grade.  

As you can see, in Washington there is no such thing as a dress code for kids going to public school.

I remember the Texas dress code for public schools being one of the first culture shocks. Actually, now that you are causing me to think about it, this particular Texas culture shock shocked me prior to the move to Texas.

The individual who moved to Texas before I did had a 15 year old kid. I had arrived to check out the possibility of moving. I was tasked with driving the 15 year old to his first day of school in a Texas high school, in Fort Worth.

The kid was wearing clothes he had worn to Mount Vernon High School, in Washington.

An hour after dropping the kid off at his new school, a call came in informing that the kid could not come to school til properly attired. I went and picked him up, along with his skateboard and a list from the school listing appropriate attire.

Saturday Lucy Park Bike Ride Finds Wichita Falls Back Falling Water

My mechanized motion device took me and my bike back to Lucy Park on this next to last Saturday of the 2021 version of June.

My bike and I had a mighty fine, long ride. There was only one jarring moment.

That being my first snake encounter in quite some time. The encounter happened in the backwoods zone of  Lucy Park, where the grass is tall and the trees jungle-like. I did not stop to take a picture, instead I reversed course and rolled away. It was a big snake. I only saw about four feet of its tail end. The head end was in the grass, by how many feet, I could not tell.

A couple miles after the snake encounter I was pleased to see Wichita Falls is back in operation, with water flowing copiously.

I continued on a couple more miles on the Circle Trail, past the location of the original Wichita Falls, looped around O'Reilly Park, then returned to Lucy Park and my mechanized motion device.

Whilst listening to the radio whilst rolling along today I heard the good news that what had been predicted to be 15 days of extreme HEAT is going to be interrupted by a rare June cold front blowing in on Monday, with some possible heavy storming.

I think a June cold front at my Texas location will likely be highs in the 70s. That is a natural air conditioning temperature...

Friday, June 18, 2021

A Few Days Before Summer HEAT Has Arrived In Texas

That's a screen shot from my phone you are seeing here, shot at 1:24 this Friday afternoon.

It was cooler than this when my bike took me on a ride this morning, but not all that much cooler.

Yesterday the temperature monitoring device in my motorized mechanical motion device claimed it was 103 degrees. I was driving the long mile to this town's one and only mall, to do some air conditioned interior walking.

On the way to the mall I saw a bank's temperature sign claiming it was 106 degrees.

I don't think some of these temperature takers are all that accurate.

I saw via the Seattle Times this morning that my old home zone is predicted to be hitting a record high today of 90.

The article made mention of the fact that most homes in Western Washington do not have air conditioning.

Western Washingtonians may not have air conditioning in every interior location, but they do have a lot of lakes and saltwater beaches, all of which will be packed with cool seekers today til the sun goes down and the temperature drops.

Western Washington naturally air conditions during a heat wave. It takes awhile though.

About three days.

The heat builds and then this thing called the Venturi Effect sends the heat over the mountains to Eastern Washington whilst sucking in cool air from the Pacific Ocean.

I was not a fan of heat waves when I was a Washingtonian. Back then I thought the upper 70s was HOT. The 80s unbearable. And those rare times in the 90s a nightmare. 

The HEAT was my number one worry about the move to Texas. At that point in time I did not know of the concept of acclimating.

When I return to Washington, now, in summer, I am cold for the entire stay. And never stay long enough to re-acclimate to that frigid climate... 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Spencer Jack Becomes Bulldog After Immaculate Conception

Three photos arrived in the email this morning, sent by Spencer Jack's paternal parental unit, my Favorite Nephew Jason. Along with the photos there was the following explanatory text...


Thought you’d enjoy these pictures.

Spencer Jack has completed his elementary Catholic schooling, and will soon be a Mount Vernon Bulldog in this upcoming fall.

Hope all is well in TX, FNJ. 

FUD is what all my favorite nephews, and niece, call me.

Favorite Uncle D.

I do not remember ever having been told why it is Spencer Jack attended a private school in the form of a Catholic elementary called Immaculate Conception Regional School. 

But now that Spencer Jack's 8 years of Catholic indoctrination are complete, apparently he is moving on to public school in the form of Mount Vernon High School. I believe this will make Spencer Jack the first Bulldog in the Jones family.

I do not much remember my 8th grade graduation from Lucille Umbarger Elementary in Burlington. I am fairly certain caps and gowns were not involved, which we can clearly see was the case with Spencer Jack's 8th grade graduation. In the above group graduate photo I believe that is Spencer Jack on the far left of the upper row.

And above we see Spencer Jack with his two Grandmas. That would be my Favorite-Ex-Sister-In-Law, Cindy, on the right. Spencer Jack has grown a few inches since I last saw him on August 13, 2017.

It looks like Spencer Jack is now as tall, or taller, than his paternal parental unit. I don't know why this is the only photo showing masks being worn. Or a graduation cap thrown to the ground.

I wonder if I will get a high school graduation invitation in four years when Spencer Jack's graduates from high school at the top of his class, giving a graduation speech? I have been able to attend only one of my nephew's high school graduations, that being when Spencer Jack's dad graduated from Burlington-Edison High School. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Sweltering Bike Ride To Calm Cool Sikes Lake

My bike took me north on the Circle Trail this morning, before it got too HOT to be fun to do such a thing.

Long before noon I stopped for a shady moment under a Sikes Lake gazebo, where I checked my phone to see the temperature was 90, with the humidity making it really feel like 93.

As you can see via the ripple-less water on the lake the air is being pretty much dead calm, zero cooling wind blowing.

When I roll around Sikes Lake I always think that is an interesting tree you see my handlebars looking at. 

And that trash can you see my handlebars looking at always reminds me of Fort Worth's million dollar homage to a trash can. That work of imaginary art which sits at the center of a roundabout inside the mess made by the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision Boondoggle.

Speaking of Fort Worth, now that I am vaccinated and sort of free to move about the country, I had been thinking driving to DFW for the first time in well over a year might be fun. But, I can't seem to muster the energy to make that happen.

I used to think driving a few hundred miles was no big deal, but I guess not having done such in such a long time has me re-programmed somehow.

Maybe I should start with a shorter drive, such as north to Lawton in Oklahoma, where Fort Sill is located, which is where I think Geronimo is buried, if my memory is serving me accurately, which it probably isn't.

So far, during this HEAT wave, the power has not blacked out at my location. Apparently, according to the local news, the Texas grid is currently greatly strained trying to keep the power flowing.

I don't think it will be as miserable losing power during a heat wave as was the miserable case losing power during last winter's sub-zero disaster.

I can keep cool in the bathtub...

Monday, June 14, 2021

Living In The 19th Cheapest City In America

Via a link I saw on Facebook today to a Kiplinger article titled The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In I learned I am currently living in the 19th cheapest city to live in in the U.S.

Clicking the link, and perusing the article, I learned Wichita Falls isn't the cheapest town in Texas in which to live. Several were cheaper, such as Amarillo. 

The photo representing Wichita Falls in this article, is a downtown scene. The library which I frequently frequent is a couple blocks to the right. 

Three paragraphs of descriptive text from the article seem to succinctly sum up Wichita Falls...

The largest employer in Wichita Falls is the United States Air Force, with Sheppard Air Force Base located just a short drive from downtown. But this city situated 140 miles northwest of Dallas claims other distinctions, too.

Wichita Falls is home to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum, boasts the "world's littlest skyscraper" and allows servicemen and civilians alike to really stretch their paychecks. Housing costs, for example, run more than 20% below the national average. Groceries, health care and transportation costs also are lower than the national average.

Just be forewarned that this North Texas city gets H-O-T in summer, with average highs of 97 degrees in July. Utilities tend to cost about 10% more than the national average.

I learned today that this Texas HOT issue is straining the power grid, with today's HEAT possibly causing blackouts. If we lose power when the temperature is super HOT, and the interior space turns miserable, do we escape to the Comfort Inn like last winter when we went sub-zero, with zero power?

Regarding the cost of things like groceries, well, it certainly is way cheaper than what I experience when I return to Washington. But, many a time when I have been in Arizona the last few years I've made note of the fact that grocery products, such as produce, are cheaper than I find in Texas.

Filling the gas tank is way cheaper here than Arizona, and way way cheaper than a tank fill in Washington.

The air conditioner seems to be running a lot. I guess I will do my conservation part by turning the temperature up a couple degrees...

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Getting Benched In Wichita Falls Whilst Rolling Through MSU With Linda Lou

I do not remember why, or who to, maybe it was Linda Lou, but for some reason recently I said something like I think this town I am currently in, Wichita Falls, may have the world's highest per capita number of  benches on which to sit, located in parks, along the Circle Trail, or like above, a shady location my bike took me to today.

The benches my bike's handlebars are aimed at are on the MSU (Midwestern State University) campus, due west of Moffet Library.

It being Sunday, and school currently on summer hiatus, the MSU campus was almost a ghost town today. Expect for a large group of percussionists creating a pleasing, loud drum beat. Today the percussionists were all assembled in one location on the plaza east of Legacy Hall.

Yesterday, when I rolled through the MSU campus, there were two percussion groups loudly percussing. One group was on the sidewalk south of the Fain Fine Arts Center, with the other group on the sidewalk west of D.L. Ligon Coliseum. It was like they were having a percussion duel. I rather liked the throbbing noise.

Today I realized summer is about to arrive. It seems like only yesterday the temperature was below zero, with zero electricity flowing through most Texas wires. But that was in February, in winter. And now spring is almost history, with those three spring months, for the most part, without the usual spring storms with booming thunder and tornado warnings.

The current 10 day forecast is for day after day in the 90s, toying with hitting the 100s, while actually going into the 100s due to the high humidity heat index making it feel hotter than the real temperature.

A few weeks ago I talked to a Washingtonian I had not talked to since way back in 1991. A classmate from the high school from which I graduated. During the course of talking, after answering the usual questions, like how the hell did you end up in Texas, I was asked how I can cope with the HEAT. 

I explained my experience with getting acclimated, with such being something I did not know happened til experiencing me personal adjustment to HOT weather. When I was a Washingtonian a heat wave in the upper 70s/80s was miserable. Few Western Washingtonians have air conditioning in their homes. Eastern Washington is more like Texas, well, way more scenic, but like Texas weather-wise, HOT in summer, hence homes have air conditioning.

The house I built in Mount Vernon did not have air conditioning, but it was designed to passively cool, which worked well. I do not recollect ever getting HOT in that house.

I sit here typing about keeping cool and realized the A/C is blowing cold air on me, whilst the ceiling fan is doing the same thing. Something I take for granted nowadays.

Come to think of it, my house in Mount Vernon did have a ceiling fan. It was part of the passive cooling. The fan was on the ceiling of the third floor, with a large open area below to the second floor and the stairway. Opening windows on the north side of the basement drew in air which was cooled in the basement whilst getting sucked up through the house to vent out through the top floor air vents. 

Back to MSU, the aforementioned Linda Lou asked me if it is a big campus. I've seen bigger. I've seen smaller. I told Linda Lou the buildings are mostly brick, and that the style sort of matches, architecturally, unlike the hodge podge of architectural styles at the last university I attended, Central Washington University.

Here's a map of MSU, to give Linda Lou an idea of that I bike around whilst rolling through this campus...

Friday, June 11, 2021

Biking The Lucy Park Tall Grass On Way To Original Wichita Falls

Feeling the need for green shade my mechanized motion device drove me and my bike back to Lucy Park, again.

The unpaved loop, part of which you see above, is a bit rough, but enjoyable, except for a muddy section or two.

That and being wary of the possibility a snake might suddenly appear.

This late into Spring it seems surprising the green has not turned more brown. That and I wondered if the tall grass, at least six feet tall, is of the sort which used to cover the open prairie, back when buffalo roamed free.

Last Sunday I also rolled my bike's wheels at this location. And just as I did on Sunday, I left Lucy Park via the Circle Trail to find that Wichita Falls was turned off, not falling any water.

Well, today, five days later, the falls is still turned off, and just like on Sunday, there were multiple groups of tourist types following the signs pointing the direction to the falls. 

But, unlike last Sunday, I continued on past the turned off Wichita Falls, and rolled all the way to the original natural, not artificial, Wichita Falls.

The sign the handlebars are pointing towards says "THE ORIGINAL FALLS ON THE BIG WICHITA RIVER FOR WHICH THE CITY WAS NAMED."

The sign is a bit misleading, making one think there is still a waterfall to be seen. But, that original waterfall was wiped out by a flood way back in the 1880s, or 90s. And even when it did exist the waterfall was only a short drop, something like five feet. 

Methinks signage should be added to the currently dry Wichita Falls, informing people that a short distance further on the Circle Trail will take you to the original falls. Well, the location of the original.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Dam Memories Of The Upper Skagit Valley


This blog post goes into the category of things seen on venues, like Facebook, which make me homesick for my old home zone of Washington.

What you see above is known as the Upper Skagit Valley.

Eventually the Skagit Valley flattens out into a wide fertile plain, known as the Skagit Flats. It is on the Skagit Flats, in Burlington, I spent my formative years.

As the Facebook poster posts, there are three dams on the Skagit River.

Ross Dam, Diablo Dam and Gorge Dam.

Of the three, the only one easy to see is Diablo Dam. You can drive across Diablo Dam. The switchbacks to get to the dam, and then its crossing, is a fun adventure. I think, if I remember right, the last time I did this was a long time ago, with Betty Jo Bouvier, in my now antique 65 Ford Mustang.

The Skagit River dam shown above is Gorge Dam. I do not recollect if I have ever seen this dam. If you watched the Warren Beatty movie, Parallax View, this was the dam which released a lot of water, almost drowning Shirley MacLaine's little brother.

What is now known as the North Cross State Highway is to the left of the view you see above. This is the highway which crosses through North Cascades National Park on its way to Eastern Washington.

The only time I have seen Ross Dam in person was on an 8th grade field trip. We got off the trip bus in Newhalem, had lunch and toured the Seattle City Light facility, including the building which housed the turbines which made electricity from the water flowing from Gorge Dam.

After lunch in Newhalem we took a funicular up a steep incline to a road. I recollect this seemed scary, treacherous, and a lot of fun. As long as I lived in Washington this was a free touristy thing provided by Seattle City Light. I do not know if such is still the case.

From the top of the funicular we walked as a group to the lake behind Diablo Dam, where we boarded a boat which took us to Ross Dam, for a tour.

This was decades ago, I shudder to count the years. But, I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Sometimes it is a curse to be blessed with a razor sharp memory.

Other times I feel quite blessed, remembering things I find others have forgotten...

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Hoodoo-Like Cairn Leads Us To Circle Trail End

I came to the end of the trail, today. The Circle Trail, that is.

I dropped off an elderly senior citizen for an appointment with one of his doctors, and then drove to the east Circle Trail access to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, unloaded my bike, and rolled its wheels for a few kilometers.

About halfway through the WB Nature Area I came upon the tallest Hoodoo-like Cairn I have yet seen at this location.

I got off the bike to photo document this phenomenon.

Back to the current end of the Circle Trail. I thought the project timeline for this new leg of the Circle Trail was to have been completed, by now, the link from Loop 11 to Lucy Park. I recollect due to a funding shortage the final 1000 feet was going to be a gravel covered trail, until funds could be found to pave it.

But, currently, Circle Trail construction seems to be halted at the location you see at the top, with a metal fence giving this halt a look of some permanence.

I have long looked forward to this connecting link to Lucy Park. This will make for greatly enhanced bike rides...

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Mayor Betsy Thinks Unfinished Little Panther Island Bridges Transformative For Fort Worth

Late last night an incoming email from Elsie Hotpepper consisted of a Letter to the Editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I had already read that letter, prior to Elsie sending it to me, even though the Star-Telegram currently denies me access to their server.

Before I show you the Letter to the Editor we need to discuss that bridge you see above. This is the one and only of the three bridges to have opened to traffic, after being a slow motion construction project since 2014,

Would one not think that, after so much time, that somehow whoever designed this hapless bridge could have managed to align the bridge with the existing road in a more straight forward fashion? Those curves look like a head-on crash waiting to happen.

And now the aforementioned Letter to the Editor...

Bike lanes nothing big

Mayor Betsy Price, at the delayed opening of the first of three bridges over dry land associated with the Panther Island project, proclaimed them to be transformative for the city. I agree. Those three bridges, along with the profligate and misguided spending sponsored by our mayor to create miles and miles of unused bicycle lanes, makes us the laughingstock among Texas cities. We are not Amsterdam or Singapore, and simply carving out empty bicycle lanes from those used for autos will not change that.

Cleveland, a city I admire, is called by some the “Mistake on the Lake.” At least it does not boast that three bridges over dirt are transformative. We will be known as the “Obscenity on the Trinity.”

- Roy Browning, Fort Worth

"Obscenity on the Trinity?" I like that. Has a much better ring to it than "America's Biggest Boondoggle".

I have long been puzzled by why it is that Fort Worth officials, such a mayors, or new sources, such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, have such a tendency to spout idiotic hyperbole about some perfectly ordinary thing in Fort Worth.

But, this may be a new low, referring to those pitiful little freeway overpass style bridges as being transformative for Fort Worth. Well, that is just embarrassing...

Monday, June 7, 2021

Joining Ducks & Fishing People On The Lake Wichita Boardwalk

The outer world was wet this morning at my location on the planet. A middle of the night thunderstorm dropped copious amounts of rain, resulting in floods of puddles rendering going on a bike ride or walking my usual locations to not be too doable.

And so I drove to the Lake Wichita Dam to do some walking where I knew serious puddling would not be an issue.

In the above photo documentation we are at the end of the Lake Wichita Boardwalk, looking east towards the top of the dam's spillway.

In a feat of construction engineering some Texas towns have trouble emulating, the Lake Wichita Boardwalk was built over actual water, taking about a year to complete.

Let's leave the Boardwalk and take a closer look at that aforementioned dam spillway.

Water was spilling over the spillway. But not too much. Those dots you see atop the spillway are ducks, which should give you a clue as to how slow the water was spilling over the spillway.

There were more people fishing today at the Lake Wichita Dam location than I've seen previously, including several fishing where the spillway spills into Holliday Creek.

And several were fishing from the fishing dock floating on Lake Wichita, as you can see via the below photo documentation.

I don't know what was making those streaks of white on the lake. Reflecting clouds? If it were winter I would say it looked like ice. 

In the distance, on the right, that is the Mount Wichita pseudo mini-volcano piercing the horizon. It has been a long time, I would guess well over a year, since I last hiked to the summit of Mount Wichita. The trails to the summit have eroded badly, making it look not to appealing to risk twisting an ankle, or worse.

If the Lake Wichita Revitalization ever becomes a reality, it would be a nice addition to build a lookout atop Mount Wichita, with a stairway taking one to the summit...