Thursday, September 30, 2021

Hiking Wichita Bluff Nature Area With Rain Drops

Under what appeared to be a threatening sky I drove to the west parking lot at the west entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, at about an hour before noon, long before the predicted arrival of rain and thunder.

Yesterday when I blogged about hiking the Lucy Park jungle comments were made along the line that the commenters did not realize it was so green in Texas.

So, I thought today whilst hiking in the Natural Area I would photo document some more greenery.

Now, I must point out, the majority of Texas is not green, it is more a pleasant shade of brown, but if you added up all the square miles that are green the total square mileage would like be bigger than the entire are of my old home state, Washington, nicknamed the Evergreen State. 

So, let's continue with our hike through the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

Some insist on calling the above natural formation a cairn. I prefer hoohoo. This hoodoo looks quite delicate. I don't think it will survive a strong wind.

The Circle Trail is the main trail which trails through the Wichita Bluff Nature Area. There are multiple side trails off the main trail, all with benches at the end of the side trail.  Or two benches such as you see above.

Getting towards the east end of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area we come to the side trail you see above, leading to a covered picnic area, along with a view of the Wichita River below.

In the above we are on another side trail, looking north at a bench on another side trail. Can you find the bench hidden by the tall prairie grass?

The above is looking at a low point in the Nature Area, with a bridge going over a creek which is currently dry. You may be able to make out the Wichita Bluff Nature Area's other covered area. This one is more of a pavilion. I have seen wedding taking place at that location.

In the above I am near the end of today's hike. The trail goes up a slope, turning to the left. Partway up this slope big drops of rain being to paint polka dots on the pavement. I was about 200 feet from my vehicle when the frequency of the big drops increased to being in downpour mode. By the time I shut the door of my vehicular rain shield I was soaking wet. That makes it two days in a row this has happened, which I mentioned in a blogging earlier today.

Above we are looking out the rain soaked windshield at the Wichita Bluff Nature Area sign we saw at the top. I did not realize when I took this photo that it was also a selfie.

I don't think I will be doing any afternoon bike riding today. I'm already hearing thunder booming.

A Sikes Lake Late Afternoon Thunderstorm Drenching

Late yesterday afternoon I rolled out under a threatening sky and had my bike take me to Sikes Lake. Those clouds you see on the west side of the lake were sparking lightning bolts, along with a constant drumbeat of thunder.

To the left of my handlebars, also known as south, there was a massive gray wall of clouds. I figured I could get in a bike ride before any of these cloud formations made it to my location.

I figured wrong.

The second time around Sikes Lake I started feeling water. I thought it was my water bottle splashing, with the wind carrying the splash and hitting me.

I thought wrong.

Soon there was no denying that I was being pelted by big raindrops. I switched modes to making a beeline for home mode, pedaling as fast as I can.

When I started pedaling fast I was a little under two miles from being under cover.

I was pretty much soaking wet by the time I made it to that aforementioned under cover location.

Today a heavy thunderstorm is predicted for this afternoon. I think I will go hiking the Wichita Bluff Nature Area this morning...

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

First Fall Hiking The Lucy Park Jungle

With the outer world chilled to a comfortable temperature I thought a hike in Lucy Park would be salubrious today. This is the time of year when it begins being appealing to do such. I suspect I shall be hiking the Wichita Bluff Natural Area this week, as well.

Above you are looking at the Lucy Park suspension bridge which crosses the Wichita River. When I got to this location an elderly couple with wild big white hair was slowly crossing. I knew they would not appreciate me getting on the bridge whilst they were trying to cross, because it is impossible to stop the bridge from swaying. 

As I howdy-ed the pair, as they finally got back to land, both cautioned me to tread lightly because some of the planks look ready to fail. When I crossed the planks did look a little more tired than they have looked previously.

Continuing on.

Off the suspension bridge, halfway between the bridge and the Lucy Park log cabin, I saw the interesting looking foliage you see above. I like the varied collection of trees which grow in Lucy Park.

Changing the subject back to the weather. Today blue sky has returned. Yesterday the blue sky left right on schedule, replaced by angry looking thunder clouds. Eventually, around the time the sun ceased illuminating, a brief thunderstorm erupted, along with what I thought were the tornado sirens.

I could hear rumbling in the distance, but no flashes. And then suddenly there was an explosively bright thunderbolt, with an equally explosive BOOM, simultaneous with the flash, meaning the lightning bolt struck real close.

Not much rain fell. By morning the outer world was mostly dry. And I saw no sign of where that lightning bolt struck earth. 

More storming is on the menu for this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Seven Day Forecast Of Sort Not Seen For Months

Looks like we are heading into a week of wet and thunder booms. And a pleasant drop in temperature. It has been a long streak with no rain. Looking out my window at Holliday Creek, it is a trickle.

I get to drive an elderly person to a doctor's appointment this afternoon, right when the strong afternoon thunderstorm is scheduled to arrive. I suspect I won't be needing to run the air conditioner whilst waiting in the parking lot.

So far, looking out the window, I only see blue sky, no clouds...

Monday, September 27, 2021

Happy Belated Birthday Grandpa Jake & Hank Frank

I was distracted yesterday, I guess, and forgot to text Happy Birthday to my little brother and his littlest grandson, Hank Frank.

Hank Frank was brother Jake's birthday present three years ago yesterday. And Jake got to be up in Washington when his birthday present was opened, I mean, born.

I thought I was going to get to meet Hank Frank, and his mother, for the first time two summer's ago, but COVID intervened. I thought for sure I would get to meet Hank Frank, and his mother, the summer which just had its closing, but COVID was still intervening.

I was in the parking lot of the Beach Street Walmart in Fort Worth when I got a call telling me about the arrival of Hank Frank. I do not remember who called me. 

I think I am likely the only one of Hank Frank's Great Uncles and Aunts who have not yet met him. Though I do not recollect sister Michele mentioning seeing Hank Frank. Sister Jackie had a great time meeting Hank Frank and his mom, Monique. 

Anyway, I hope brother Jake and Hank Frank had themselves a mighty fine time on their Happy Birthdays!

UPDATE: Hank Frank's dad, Joey, sent my phone a picture of Hank Frank's birthday party. A party Hank Frank's grandma, my Favorite Ex-Sister-In-Law, Cindy, flew home from Italy, just to be there. I was not invited. I was always invited to all Hank Frank's dad's birthday parties...

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Google Takes Me Back In Time Down Memory Lane

For a few months now, once a month, Google emails me an email, part of which is what you see above. The subject line in the email this month says, "On this day September 26 look back at your memories from this day."

Sometimes I do not remember the memory, or the date of that memory. In today's memory of this day of September 26 I definitely know this memory is not accurate. It is the photo on the lower left which I know exactly what date that photo was taken.

August 11, 2001, one more before that date which will live on in infamy, 9/11. 

I had driven solo back to Washington for my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary party. No one but two of my nephews knew I was doing this. I believe this may have been the last time all my siblings were together at the same location.

Nope, just remembered we were all present at nephew Jason's first wedding five years later.

In the photo from August 11, 2001 me and my siblings are lined up chronologically. The eldest, me, is on the left, next to little brother Jake, then big sister Clancy, second biggest sister Jackie and little sister Michele. I do not know why Michele is the tallest in this photo. In front of us, sitting, dad, mom and grandma Vera, my mom's mom.

As for the other photos.

The upper left is the pasture and pond at my first Texas location in the little town of Haslet, a suburb of Fort Worth.

The upper right looks to be the Paramount Theater in Seattle. Why I would have taken this picture I do know. I have no memory of having done so.

Under the Paramount Theater is my dad holding the aforementioned big sister Clancy, when she was still little and called Nancy. Next to dad that would be me, with little brother Jake on the left. 

At the bottom right that would be me, sitting on some sort of barrel. Possibly at the Fort Worth Stockyards, but I really have no memory of this.

So there you have it, a trip down memory lane, some of which I remember...

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Hannah Hornblower Finds Fort Worth's Missing Beer Guzzling Frat Boy

A couple days ago a chorus of boos erupted in Fort Worth when Kay Granger's son, J.D. Granger, former Executive Director of America's Biggest Boondoggle, before being transferred to a new position where he could not so easily do damage, but still paid well over $200,000 a year, plus perks, failed to appear at a critical meeting of the Trinity River Vision Authority Board.

Yes, that is a run on sentence. I like a good run on sentence. I hope you got the gist of that run on sentence. J.D. Granger, Fort Worth's notorious perpetual Frat Boy, failed to show up at a critical TRVA meeting. This is not the first time J.D. has wimped out on appearing at a meeting.

I was at one where that happened, with someone in the crowd famously calling J.D. a gutless wonder.

Hannah Hornblower, however, was able to find out why J.D. was not at the TRVA meeting. He had more important things to do. We have long known of J.D. Granger's fondness for beer, famously promoting his sudsy fondness with his kids, cheering for beer and going nuts for runner's butts.

And Hannah Hornblower has photo documented for us what J.D. Granger was doing instead of attending a TRVA Board meeting. 

He was drinking beer, helping drain a keg at some location Hannah failed to identify for us.

That is J.D. grinning at the upper right of the above photo. It looks like he had a lot of people cheering for beer with him.

Will the Granger madness never end? A lot of inquiring minds want to know...

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Neon Green Stop At Dry Hamilton Park Doctor's Splash Pad

I think I remember mentioning I got myself a long sleeved t-shirt the same color as my backup bike.

I do not know what the name of this particular color is. Neon green, maybe?

This morning the bike took me north on the Circle Trail.

Since the Hamilton Park Doctor's Splash Pad opened this may have been the first time I have been at this location with no one splashing.

So, I rolled onto the dry splash pad, dismounted the bike and proceeded to try and take a selfie photo in which both my neon green t-shirt and neon green bike showed up.

In bright sun I can not see what is on the phone's screen with any reasonable degree of clarity. So, I snap a dozen pics hoping I get one aimed right. The above is as good as I got.

I've taken to wearing a bike helmet after not doing so for a long long time. A month or so ago someone who was a classmate of mine all the way from grade school through college fell off his scooter, resulting in a bad forehead gash. I saw that and thought that might not have been so bad had a helmet been in play.

So, I got out my old bike helmet, which never felt comfortable, wore it for one ride, got back to my computer and went to Amazon to order a new one, which is what you see on my noggin above. Bike helmets have greatly improved since that old one I bought late in the last century. This new one is so light I don't even notice it. Padding inside the helmet make it comfortable. And multiple vents keep my hot head cool.

I like things which keep my hot head cool...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

First Day Of Fall Chilly Bike Ride To Mount Wichita

This is being the strangest start of a new season I can remember. A couple days ago we hit 103 degrees for one of the few times the temperature went over 100 this summer. I think my old Washington home zone had more days over 100. 

And now, today, on the first day of Fall, the temperature was in the low 50s when the sun arrived this morning. My interior space is currently 76 degrees, naturally air-conditioned. The un-natural air-conditioner has not run since yesterday.

I took off about an hour before noon, with the temperature 70, and let my bike roll me to Lake Wichita. It was a chilly ride. No wind for additional chilling. A dead calm day. My bike stopped at Mount Wichita so I could take a picture of its current condition. 

It won't belong before Mount Wichita is snow covered and ski season can begin.

See the green color of my bike? Yesterday I got myself a long sleeved t-shirt in that same color. First time I have ever been color coordinated with a bike.

Continuing on my bike took me on a side spur off the Circle Trail to an overlook.

The overlook looks over the Lake Wichita Bayou. A vast marsh with a wide variety of foliage. I have seen deer come out of this bayou, but no snakes or alligators.

A few days ago I saw on Facebook an Elsie Hotpepper post where the Hotpepper was lamenting that she wished she could talk to Clyde. I thought of this when I got a call from Clyde this morning. I am fairly certain this was not the same sort of Clyde call Elsie was wishing for.

With the temperature dropping so precipitously it bodes not well for the coming Winter. I don't think Texas has done anything to improve the state's power grid.

The Texas governor has been focusing on building that wall on the border. Only the new version is not a wall in the usual sense. It is a line of vehicles which goes on for miles. 

From the Washington Post, an overview of the new Texas border wall...

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Recovered Ruby Helping Theo Dam Puget Sound Tide

Good news from Washington. Ruby is feeling much better. The above photo arrived on my phone last night with the following message...

"We got some fresh air last night. Kids and I feel fine. You can't really see it in the photo, but Theo constructed a little dam and moat in between the logs and we had to wait for the tide to fill it in. He always finds a way to fight with the tide!"

I had myself a might fine time fighting the tide with Theo way back in August of 2017, at Birch Bay in Washington, a few miles south of the border with Canada.

Last year, after the COVID nightmare began Theo sent me a card on which he wrote a message. I use this card as my bookmark. The message from Theo on the card...

"When COVID 19 is over I want you to come over to build a sand castle. Theo." 

I'll snap a picture of Theo's card...

David and Ruby also sent me cards with notes at the same time Theo did. I have them saved as well. But, currently can not remember where I put them.

The Tacoma Trio and their parental units are currently not staying in their Tacoma home. The kitchen is being remodeled, so whilst that is going on they are staying at their cabin on Harstine Island, which is a real island connected to the mainland by a real bridge built over actual water.

Finding Dad's Big Halibut Catch With Mom & Mr. Lee

Yesterday when I blogged about The CATCH For Linda Lou's Seafood In Wichita Falls I made mention of the fact my dad once caught a really big halibut, and that I would see if I could find photo documentation of that big catch. Which I proceeded to do. Which is what you see above. 

I do not remember what newspaper the above article was in. Most likely the Bellingham Herald or Lynden Tribune. Or, maybe, the Skagit Valley Herald.

Whatever newspaper, the article has an error or two. It has my dad being from Mount Vernon.


Mom and dad were living in Burlington when that big fish was caught, and had been in that Skagit town for years.

The article has my dad being a former Lynden resident. I don't think dad ever lived in Lynden. Nooksack and Sumas would be more accurate. Dad was a Nooksack High School basketball star, which is how he first came to mom's attention, as she cheered for her Lynden High School basketball team playing Nooksack.

Eventually my dad's mom moved to Lynden, one block from my mom's mom. Making it easy to go from one grandma to the other whilst visiting Lynden.

The article mentions my dad catching the halibut with a 35 year old pole made by the late Cornie Slotemaker of Lynden.

Cornie was my dad's dad. Also known as my grandpa. He died before I was born. It is only in this article I have seen my grandpa called Cornie. His name was Cornelius. This was supposed to be my name. The family convention, going back to generations in Holland, was the eldest son of the eldest son rotated the name John (Jan in Dutch) and Cornelius. 

But mom and dad were totally Americanized by the time I was born and so rebelled at naming their eldest son Cornelius. And then I further disrupted the family convention by refusing to reproduce, and thus having no son to name John. As a further example of my mom and dad's rebelliousness, they named their second born son John. It's a wonder we were not ostracized from the greater Jones clan.

This article also has Cornie living in Lynden. Maybe he did. But I don't think so. Grandpa Cornie's mom, my great grandma Tillie, did live in Lynden, when I knew her.

Standing with my mom and dad and the halibut is the pseudo grandpa I knew as Mr. Lee. As in Lee Huntley, my mom's mom's third husband. I liked Mr. Lee. For my little sister, Michele, Mr. Lee was the only grandpa she ever knew. 

And since we have been talking about my grandpa Cornie, I found a photo of him with a big fish too.

That is a sturgeon, caught in the Nooksack River. Grandpa Cornie was a super fisherman. He passed on his fishing skills to my dad. And then the fishing skills skipped a generation til my Favorite Nephew Joey inherited it.

I believe Joey also now has that fishing pole his great grandpa Cornie made a long long time ago. 

I suspect Joey will be passing the fishing skills thing on to Hank Frank. The process may already have begun...

Monday, September 20, 2021

The CATCH For Linda Lou's Seafood In Wichita Falls

A few days ago I was talking to Linda Lou, who lives in Washington. Mount Vernon in the Skagit Valley to be precise.

Washington, where fresh seafood is abundantly available. Both for the buying and for the catching.

I was never a big fan of clam digging, the actual digging for clams part. But, I did like to be on the sand flats at low tide whilst others were digging.

I liked wading out in the surf to catch Dungeness crab. Or dangle a crap pot off the train trestle which crosses Fidalgo Bay to reach Anacortes. One had to hurry off the trestle, or get to one of the wide spots, if a train suddenly showed up.

It was Linda Lou's dad, Bill, who first introduced me to catching cod out in the San Juan Islands. Off Cattle Point to be precise. On the boat, if I remember right, in addition to ship's captain, Bill, there was me, Linda Lou, Russell B. and Big Ed.

We caught a lot of cod that day. And then, when we got back to Burlington, Bill made deep fried cod from what was caught a short time previous. I remember this as the best cod ever. Over the years the cod that day has been mentioned many a time. 

It was my experience catching cod that day off Cattle Point that motivated my mom and dad to buy their first boat. A few years later dad landed a 185 pound halibut. There was a photo of dad and his halibut in the local newspaper. I should see if I can find that photo, but not right now.

So, like I was saying, a few days ago I was talking to Linda Lou. She had just had really good fish and chips at a seaside restaurant in Bellingham. In Washington fish and chips means a fish like cod, or halibut. And chips are those fried spud slivers known as french fries.

Linda Lou asked if I can get good fish and chips at my location in Texas. I uttered a scoffing noise and said these people think catfish is seafood. That you might find something exotic on a menu like cod, halibut, red snapper or salmon, but more often than not if seafood is on the menu, that seafood is catfish. Or these awful insect-like things called crawdads or crawfish or mudbugs.

I told Linda Lou my first experience with Texas seafood was at the long gone Riscky's Catch in the Fort Worth Stockyards. We opted for the all you can eat fish. Which was catfish with a cornmeal coating. It came with all the hush puppies you could eat. We ate little of either the catfish or the hush puppies. The least I've ever eaten at an all you can eat.

What are hush puppies Linda Lou asked? I told her it was a Southern staple, like grits is, that hush puppies are deep fried corn meal nuggets.

Linda Lou asked if the catfish was good. I told her no, it was not good, it had a mushy texture and a slight muddy taste, does not taste like fish. I have been told by others from the Pacific Northwest, who are in Texas, that they have had edible catfish. But, I, unfortunately, have not.

So in the past week or so a new restaurant has opened in Wichita Falls.


That is one page of their two page menu you see at the top. As you can see, catfish makes multiple appearances on the menu. Crawfish tails also show up. As does Gator. And the Baskets & Fried Combos all come with those aforementioned hush puppies.

Something called Whitefish also shows up on THE CATCH menu a couple times. I would guess this is tilapia. If it were cod or halibut I think mention would be made of that fact. 

I drove by THE CATCH yesterday on my way back from ALDI. The place was packed. People were even under the umbrellas of the outside patio, despite the 90 degree plus heat. 

I likely will not be sampling the menu of THE CATCH anytime soon...

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Fort Worth Is Almost Done Cleaning Its Imaginary Island

Yesterday the DFW entity known by some as Elsie Hotpepper sent me a link via a Facebook message.

The link was to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled Millions have been spent to clean up chemicals in Fort Worth. The work is nearly done.

The Hotpepper message accompanying the link simply said "You will have a field day with this one..."

That image you see above is a screen cap from the aforementioned article. That is one of Fort Worth's new amazing iconic signature bridges you see in the foreground. There are three of these amazing bridges, which have been such complex feats of engineering that construction on them is still not complete seven years after building began with a celebratory TNT explosion way back in 2014.

You may not be able to click the link and get past the Star-Telegram paywall. For some reason I am able to do so. So, let's take a look at this article.

We start with the first paragraph perplexing me...

For more than a decade, the Tarrant Regional Water District has spent upwards of $43 million to remove toxic chemicals from two dozen properties in Fort Worth’s industrial north side.

I have long opined that America's Biggest Boondoggle would one day get much bigger when toxic chemicals get discovered requiring an EPA Superfund type cleanup.

But, I guess I was wrong about that and the toxic cleanup has been going on for more than a decade.

The TRWD has spent upwards of $43 million of TRWD funds to do this cleanup? Why wasn't the EPA involved, with the Superfund paying for the cleanup? At one point in time, this century, Tacoma had the biggest EPA Superfund cleanup in Superfund history, when the Asarco smelting plant property was cleaned up to prepare for the massive Point Ruston development.

Moving on to the second paragraph...

Now, only two sites remain between the district and its goal to complete the “largest single voluntary cleanup program in the state of Texas,” according to Woody Frossard, the water district’s environmental director.

Are we actually bragging that this is the largest voluntary cleanup in the state of Texas? And this has been a goal? To have the largest voluntary cleanup? Seems like there are plenty of other things the TRWD might focus on as a worthwhile goal.

Continuing on...

The effort to remove more than 300,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and treat more than 44 million gallons of water was spurred by the Panther Island/Central City flood control project.

I think I remember reading J.D. Granger bragging about all the contaminated dirt that had been removed. Where did this contaminated soil get moved to? Did anyone get photo documentation of the dirty dirt being moved? 44 million gallons of water was treated? How? Was the water transported to a water treatment plant where it was circulated back into the water supply? 

And then we have this...

Congress authorized federal funding for digging the channel in 2016, but has not sent the money to Fort Worth in the years since. The project would return flood protection to more than 2,400 acres inhabited by Fort Worth residents, according to a city press release.

Why hasn't the federal funding been sent to Fort Worth you are likely wondering? Didn't we read somewhere that the fact that there has been no required Feasibility Study completed, or some such thing, needed before the Army Corps of Engineers can give the go ahead? The project would return flood protection? As if the area is not already protected by levees built well over a half century ago, with no flooding in the protected area since the levees were built.

Continuing on we read that the water district's environmental director, Woody Frossard would not name the two remaining properties in need of cleanup, but he is optimistic those two properties will be cleaned up in the next fiscal year, which starts in October, and then in the next paragraph...

“Once I get these two properties remediated, I am completely through with environmental remediation for the bypass channel,” Frossard said. “There will be no additional environmental restrictions to keep the Corps from starting construction as soon as they get funding.”

Once those two properties get cleaned up there is nothing but lack of funding to stop the Army Corps of Engineers from starting to dig the ditch? What about that required Feasibility Study? And also, from what this Frossard guy is saying, there will be no ditch digging for yet one more year, with the Corps unable to dig the ditch until those two properties are cleaned up. 

I'm done with the commenting. I'll just copy the rest of the article for your reading enlightenment...

Due to its history of housing a petroleum refinery, two metal refineries and a metal reclamation facility, Fort Worth’s northern section required significant cleanups to address decades of contamination. Water district officials began identifying those sites in 2004, with remediation work starting in the mid-2000s, Frossard said.

Earlier this month, the water district announced the completion of its cleanup at Fort Worth’s former police and fire training center and an adjacent property on Calvert Street. For decades, trainees shot lead bullets at the firing range and practiced putting out fires using aqueous film forming foam, a popular fire suppressant containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS.

PFAS chemicals, which are found in many consumer products, are known as “forever chemicals” because they are highly persistent and accumulate in people’s bodies rather than breaking down, said Dr. Katherine Pelch, a professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth who studies PFAS and public health.

Frossard said the most difficult chemicals to remove are those toxic to humans, especially with the amount of lead found at the former training center, which sits near the Charles. H. Haws Athletic Center.

“For all the years of shooting, they’ve shot shotguns, rifles and pistols so there was obviously a lot of spent lead there,” he said. “We had to have a special crew come in that had to be suited up so that they could actually get in there and collect all of the lead material … That was the very first thing that had to be done: the lead contamination had to be removed and contained.”

Two concrete towers at the center are still awaiting demolition, and Frossard plans to request funding for that project at the water district’s next board meeting.

Although cleanups have officially been completed at 26 of 28 properties identified by the water district, the process of earning certificates of completion from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality could take several extra months. The water district has received 21 certificates so far, Frossard said.

Frossard has been with the water district for the entirety of the cleanup process, and is proud to have seen the district clean north Fort Worth so that it’s safe for residential development.

“We cleaned up everything to residential standards, which means you can build houses on it, kids can play in the dirt,” he said. “There’s less restrictive state standards out there, like commercial or industrial, that would limit our ability to use the property for any other purpose. The highest standard is residential, and we have cleaned it up to the highest standard.”

Friday, September 17, 2021

Madame McNutty Takes Me Back To Lake Powell Meditations

I was Facebook messaging with Madame McNutty this morning when somehow something about Seattle's Fremont Sunday Market led me to point MM to web pages I made a long long time ago about a Lake Powell Houseboat trip way back in 1994.

Madame McNutty then asked me who Homer was. I did not remember nicknaming anyone with the Homer name, so I had to go to Hell Houseboat: a Lake Powell Houseboat Adventure to remember that Homer is what I called Wally at that point in time. Wally and Big Ed are also known as the Goober Twins.

On the Bobcat Cove Hell Houseboat page I saw the photo you see above, which I had forgotten about.
That is me meditating atop a cliff overlooking Bobcat Cove and my temporary floating dwelling. There was a lot of skinny dipping in Lake Powell on that particular trip. I do not remember if I was in skinny dip mode whilst atop that cliff.

Two of my fellow floaters were seriously disturbing acrophobes. More than once while we were on Lake Powell I got yelled at for being too close to what they thought to be a dangerous precipice, including interrupting my peaceful, safe meditating whilst atop that redrock cliff.

I knew that in about four days I was going to subject the acrophobes to their scariest fear of heights episode ever when were off the houseboat, heading to the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat, with the Moki Dugway our road to the San Juan River Valley below. 

When we reached the precipice which the Moki Dugway descends, with dire warning signs, the acrophobe van began flashing its headlights, signaling the need to stop. Neither acrophobe felt brave enough to drive down that precipice. So, I assigned that task to Homer/Wally. I learned later that when we began the descent one acrophobe put a pillow case over her head while the other laid on the floor of the van guzzling vodka.

I've driven down the Moki Dugway twice. It is a little scary, as in you would be toast if the brakes failed. The second time down the Moki Dugway was after the second Lake Powell Houseboat adventure. That second time I knew what to expect. It still was scary.

I wonder if and when I will ever drive down something like the Moki Dugway again?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Husky Ruby COVID Update

When I woke up my computer this morning that which you see above was in the incoming email. 

The text in the email said..."Tried to text these but they didn’t seem to go. It’s Husky helping Ruby feel better..."

I can not tell, for sure, if Husky is an actual Husky, or a stuffed toy type Husky. Prior to Husky all the dogs in the Ruby residence have been poodles of various sizes and colors.

I texted Ruby's phone yesterday after Mama Michele told me Ruby was ailing with COVID, saying "I hope you feel better real soon, Ruby!!!!

Not more than ten seconds passed before Ruby replied with "Thank you, me too."

I took this as a good sign what with Ruby feeling good enough to tap out a quick message on her phone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Ruby Has COVID


Heard from Mama Michele this afternoon that my one and only Favorite Niece Ruby, has tested positive for COVID.

Above that is me in the middle between Theo and Ruby at an ice cream joint in Tacoma's Ruston Way development.

Theo tested negative on the rapid test. Even as I type Mama Kristin has taken Theo and big brother, David, to get the up your nose COVID test.

Ruby started getting sick on Sunday, mostly a lot of coughing. Then by Monday morning, sore throat and stuffy nose. Ruby had only been back in school for three days. A kid who was in class for the first day of school, later tested positive.

The mask mandate was in play.

When the Tacoma Trio called me on my birthday, last month, they were sounding so excited to be going back to school...

Ides Of September Rolling On The Lake Wichita Boardwalk

On this Ides of September, day 15 of the 2021 version of such, my backup bike rolled me to the Lake Wichita Boardwalk, and beyond, this morning.

A morning with a slight chill in the air being a welcome harbinger of the arrival of Autumn a week from today.

Work has begun on a section of the Circle Trail at the far west end of Lake Wichita, near Mount Wichita. There had been talk of making this new section of the Circle Trail of the boardwalk type thing you see above.

I suspect the cost of a boardwalk is what has the new section of Circle Trail circling along the shoreline, instead of over water.

Methinks the over the water boardwalk plan would be worth the extra cost, and would end the unpleasantness now being experienced due to property owners along the shoreline who don't want a trail in their backyard.

I am not a native of this town, have only been in Wichita Falls a few years. But, I was not long in town before I learned that similar objections were raised at other locations of the Circle Trail. With those objections going away when the reality of the Circle Trail turned out to be a property enhancement. As in you will now see a real estate advertisement claiming closeness to the Circle Trail to be an attribute.

Anyway, I had myself a mighty fine bike ride today. I may to the same thing tomorrow. I am a big fan of being repetitive...

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Trip Down The Memory Lane Of Fort Worth Racketeering

 A couple days ago the DFW entity who goes by the name, sometimes, of Elsie Hotpepper, sent me an email, part of which you see screen capped above.

The subject line says "A trip down memory lane". There was no further explanatory text. Just six attached PDF files. It took me awhile, and a phone call from the aforementioned Hotpepper, before I understood that the point of these PDFs is they are sort of appalling evidence of how long Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision and the town's other instances of corruption have been Boondoggling along.

We will go through these PDFs one by one, gleaning what we can, starting with the one on the left in the top row...

The first one is from way back in 1995, an article in D Magazine titled "Who Runs Fort Worth?" Okay, basically the article makes the case that the Bass Family to a large degree runs Fort Worth, treating the town like it's their own little fiefdom, remaking parts of the town to suit their whims, well, mostly the whims of Ed Bass.

The next PDF shows us the payroll of the Tarrant Regional Water District from 2013. From that we learn that way back then J.D. Granger was being paid 74.80 an hour. The employee with whom J.D. had an extramarital affair, and later married, Shanna Cate, was making 38.23 an hour. The ostensible boss of J.D. and Shanna, Jim Oliver, was making a whopping 146.63 an hour.

The next PDF goes back five years to 2008 with another TRWD payroll, but this time we learn the yearly salary. In 2008 J.D. made 140,000 a year. Girlfriend, Shanna, made 64,200, while their boss, Jim Oliver, made 275,000 a year.

Moving on, the next PDF is an article titled The Uppity Dumpties written by Richard Connor that was in the Fort Worth Business Press way back on November 27, 2006. This article details the cronyism of the group of Fort Worth insiders, like Kay Granger and her son, J.D. and Bryan Eppstein, who benefitted from multiple contracts of the no-bid sort with the water district, including managing the water board campaigns of Jim Lane and Marty Leonard.

The next PDF is an article in The Texas Observer from October 20, 2000 by P.A. Humphrey titled Bringing Home the Bacon. This article details what seems to amount to a form of insider trading by Kay Granger helping finagle pseudo public works projects which would benefit property owned by Granger.

The source of the info in the final PDF we are a bit unsure about. It's an article written by Matt Pulle on September 11, 2005, titled Einstein? No, Eppstein: Fort Worth Republican plays both sides of the fence. At the end of the article we see "Photo of Bryan Eppstein on this page courtesy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram."

So, we can say for certain the photo is from the Star-Telegram. But the article? The Star-Telegram is not known for articles like this which details the tangled web of Eppstein's dealing with the Fort Worth political machine.

So, there you go. The main thing I got out of these six PDFs is how amazingly long this stuff has been going on. How does one bring about a RICO investigation? RICO, as in Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Driving To Lucy Park Without Elsie Hotpepper To Bike To Wichita Falls

Elsie Hotpepper called last night when I was not available to talk to. So, this morning I called the Hotpepper back to ask if she wanted to ride to Lucy Park with me. But, Elsie was not available, so I drove alone to Lucy Park to take my backup bike on a ride.

Above you can see the bike has arrived at Wichita Falls.

Wichita Falls, the waterfall, is not in Lucy Park. One rides the Circle Trail out of Lucy Park and in about a half a mile one comes to Wichita Falls, the waterfall, not the town. Both Lucy Park and Wichita Falls, the waterfall, are in Wichita Falls, the town. So is the Circle Trail.

I rolled my wheels all the way to O'Reilly Park, which is a short distance from the actual location of where there used to be, way back in the 1880s, an actual waterfall with a drop of a couple feet. And it is that long gone slight waterfall from which the town, Wichita Falls, gets its name.

A century later locals got tired of tourists asking where the waterfall was. So, a fake waterfall was created, which is what you see above.

The town I lived in before Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, had a similar problem.

Fort Worth does not attract many tourists, but those who do visit the town might ask where the fort is, to learn there is no fort in Fort Worth.

I was among those visitors who was perplexed by signs pointing to Sundance Square.

I, and many others, asked, where is Sundance Square? The parking lots by the trail drive mural was the usual answer. The actual answer, I eventually learned, was that Sundance Square was the name given to a multi block development scheme, with none of the schemers realizing, apparently, that calling this Sundance Square was not a good idea. Eventually, after a couple decades of confusing the town's few visitors, downtown Fort Worth turned those parking lots into a little town square, calling it Sundance Square Plaza.

Currently Fort Worth is confusing its few visitors who see signage with Panther Island on it. There is no island. 

Anyway, back to the bike ride. On the way back to Lucy Park I rolled through the MPEC (Multi-Purpose Events Center). I stopped to take the picture you see below.

This pedestrian bridge takes you across the Wichita River. Above, we are heading back to the Circle Trail after crossing the river to where the agricultural building is located, which is part of MPEC. I think this is where farm animals can be exhibited. And other things. Such as I went to a Christmas oriented craft show type deal which was mighty fun. 

You can not see much of it, but to the left of the handlebars, on the other side of the bridge, is MPEC's sports type building, where things like hockey take place. To the right is an exhibition hall.

I should return and photo document all of MPEC.

An interesting thing I saw today at MPEC was flags of different nations. For a couple seconds I wondered why I was seeing the Canadian flag. And then I remembered Sheppard Air Force Base is a NATO training location...

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Bucolic Bike Escape From Right Wing Nut Job On Teenage Nephew David's 9/11 Birthday

My backup bike rolled me for a few miles this second Saturday of the 2021 version of September.

September 11, to be precise. Hard to believe it has been two decades since that shocking 2001 morning.

I stopped the bike for photo taking purposes on one of the bridges which cross Sikes Lake. The one you see above is at the west end of the lake. Above the bike seat you can barely see a guy fishing. He had four kids with him, also with poles in the water. It made for a bucolic scene.

Since today is 9/11 I now have a teenage nephew. My Favorite Nephew David turned 13 today. I sent David a Happy Birthday message to his phone. And then later learned that David is on a two week phone restriction due to exhibiting some stereotypical teenage bad behavior.

I was late getting to the bike ride portion of the day today, due to getting stuck in two parallel conversations on Facebook. In one of the conversations I was talking to a self described "conservative".

In the other conversation I was talking to a well educated liberal progressive sort. The liberal is in Texas, the conservative is in Virginia, but grew up in the same Washington town I grew up in.

I am unable to understand how someone can grow up in the same town I grew up in, went to the same schools I went to, from grade school to high school, and then somehow ends up being "conservative" or more accurately a "right wing nut job".

During the course of the conversation with the conservative many of the right wing nutjob tropes were uttered.

"Socialism never works".

"You've drunk the kool-aid".


"I don't want my tax dollars to pay for abortions".

"The government funds Planned Parenthood".

I guess I should be grateful I did not see Benghazi or Venezuela mentioned. 

Why do these conservative sorts seem to have zero understanding of what socialism is, and the fact it works quite well in multiple countries? And that America has multiple socialist aspects. The main socialist thing America does not have is Universal Health Care.

It seems most of these conservative types confuse socialism with communism, not understanding these are two different isms.

And, regarding communism. There are only a few communist countries left, with China being the big one.

And China is doing quite well.

In less than 20 years China built a freeway system with slightly more miles than America's. America began building its interstate system around 60 years ago. And it still is not totally finished. China began building theirs in the 1990s. And it is finished. China has many miles of high speed rail. China has a middle class bigger than the entire population of America.

So, conservatives who try to make a bugaboo out of socialism, confusing socialism with communism, well, even bugabooing communism is wrongheaded.

Even a communist nation which is not as successful as China, like Cuba, is not all that great a case for saying communism always fails. Cubans have great health care, with more doctors per capita than America. Cuba would be in a lot better shape if America would let it be, drop all sanctions, and actually try and help. It probably would not take much to have communism come to an end in Cuba, like it did with the Soviet Union.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Don't Trust Wichita Falls Bike Stop Bike Shop To Fix Your Bike

If anyone is missing the key ingredient in Duck Soup, there is a surplus available for the plucking, currently, at Sikes Lake. The duck population growth has the Sikes Lake flock rivaling the size of the Sikes Lake Goose flock.

Ducking to another subject.

I got my bike back from the bike doctor last night.

I had taken the bike to the only bike shop in Wichita Falls, called Bike Stop.

The problem I was having with the bike was the derailleur was not shifting correctly, with the main problem being the three gears that are connected to the eight gears on the rear wheel were not shifting correctly.

As in I could not shift from the 3rd sprocket to the 2nd. If I clicked to the 1st sprocket the chain would make the jump to that sprocket, and then when I clicked #2 the chain shifted to the 2nd (middle) sprocket. And from there it could go back to #3.

Now, I do not remember if this was the exact problem that had me taking the bike to the doctor, or a variation of the problem. What I do know for sure is the Bike Stop store did not fix my bike's shifting problem.

And I won't be doing any business with the Bike Stop again. 

But, even with this newfound annoyance I had a mighty fine time rolling the bike's wheels over 9 miles. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Semi Chilly Bike Ride By Kid-Free Doctor's Splash Pad

Those are the handlebars of my backup bike you see above, aimed at the Hamilton Park Splash Pad, which was brought to Hamilton Park by the good folks at the Wichita County Medical Alliance.

My non-backup bike is still at the bike doctor awaiting treatment.

Methinks this town could use another bike store to compete with Bike Stop. When I brought the bike to the doctor, two Thursdays ago, I was told it could take a week to get treated, but probably it would be fixed before that.

So, last Thursday I called the doctor's office to ask about my bike's condition. I was told it would be treated that day, or by tomorrow. Thursday and Friday came and went, with no call from the bike doctor.

Last Saturday I dropped in at the bike doctor's to take the bike bag off the sick bike so I could use it on the backup bike. At that point I was told the bike would be operated on by Tuesday or Wednesday. The bike doctor's office is closed Sunday, and Monday was Labor Day, hence the no possible surgery til Tuesday.

Well. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with no word from the bike doctor. And now it is Thursday again.

See why I think this town needs another bike store?

Today was the first time since it opened that I biked by Hamilton Park's Doctor's Splash Pad and saw no one getting wet. Hence why my handlebars are so close to the Splash Pad. I have seen kids getting splashed since school started up again. So, I think being in school is not the reason I saw no splashing today.

I think the reason I saw no splashing is because the outer world is being too cold for it to sound fun to get wet in a splashing fountain. 
 When I began rolling my bike wheels today the air was barely 70 degrees.


Monday, September 6, 2021

Fishing Madness In My Old Home Zone

A couple days ago Linda Lou told me about a scene such as you are seeing above which has been happening on the Skagit River in Mount Vernon, with a throng of people casting lines into the river, hoping to hook a salmon.

Linda Lou told me she would send me photos of the Skagit fishing scene, but those have not yet arrived.

The above photos of fishing madness is taking place in the Samish River. Seen via Facebook's "You Know You're From Anacortes When" page.

The Samish is a much smaller river than the Skagit. If I remember right the Samish empties into Bellingham Bay. But, before doing so, passes through the booming Skagit Valley tourist town of Edison.

Edison is half of the name of the high school from which I long ago matriculated.

Burlington-Edison High School.

My Favorite Nephew Joey inherited the Jones family fishing gene. I think Joey is who ended up with Grandpa Jones' bamboo fishing pole. I may be wrong regarding that recollection. But I do know Joey likes fishing, and is a master at the art of smoking salmon. 

I have experienced Joey's mastery of smoking salmon in person, due to Joey packing some dry ice and mailing me some Joey smoked salmon. Best smoked salmon ever...

Sunday, September 5, 2021

September Wall Calendar Takes Me To Fiery Furnace Elephant Arch

It has been a month or two since I flipped my National Park wall calendar to a new month and found myself looking at a sight I have seen in person, with me then wondering if I will ever see this again.

In August it was a National Park in Florida, the Everglades. I've never been to Florida, so I have never been to the Everglades.

I have been to Utah a number of times, including visiting all the National Parks in Utah, including the Utah National Park you see above. 

Arches National Park.

I am fairly certain the above is the arch known as Elephant Arch. If you look at it with your imagination turned on you can likely see why this would be named Elephant Arch.

Arches is one of my favorite places I have been to on the planet, but it is not my favorite Utah National Park. That would be Zion. Or Bryce Canyon

Arches has one of the best hikes I've gone on. It requires a ranger guide. The Fiery Furnace Hike. I've done this one twice. This hike requires a guide because it is easy to get lost in the maze of slot canyons. And Fiery Furnace gets real HOT. Hence the name.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Yellowstone Memories With Mom And A Bear


Saw that which you see above, yesterday, on Facebook, via Mildred Halbert's paternal parental unit, Jerry. 

Reading this brought about an amusing memory of my mom. 

In the above we read of the concern of a guest staying at one of Yellowstone's National Park Lodges, with that concern being "Our visit was wonderful, but we never saw any Bears. Please train your Bears to be where guests can see them. This was an expensive trip to not get to see bears."

It was either the summer of 1965, or 1966, that our annual vacation road trip took us to Yellowstone for the first time. Our 1964 Chevy Impala pulled an Arrowhead trailer. My two sister siblings slept in the trailer with mom and dad, whilst my little brother and I slept in the Impala. I got the back seat, Jake got the front.

We were camping in the huge Old Faithful campground. My brother and I were in the Impala, down for the night. Mom was still up, soaking her feet in a tub while sitting on the bench of a picnic table.

Suddenly my brother and I were fully awake, looking out the car's window to see our mom standing on top of the picnic table, screaming "Jack, Jack, Jack". 

Jake and I had no clue why mom was screaming from atop the picnic table.

And then we saw it. A big black bear was staring at mom from a distance of about 10 feet. When dad opened the trailer door the bear turned and ran. We heard other campers screaming as the bear made its rounds through the campground.

We saw dozens of bears on that trip through Yellowstone. The bears caused traffic jams. 

Over the years since that first trip to Yellowstone I've seen bears in the wild in various locations, including Yellowstone, again, where I got a picture of a bear sticking its nose in my 65 Mustang's driver side window.

I think I used the photo of the bear sticking its nose in my car on my long dormant Roadtripping blog. I shall see if my memory is serving me accurately. 

My memory did not fail me. I used the below photo in a blog post titled A Bear On My Car In Yellowstone National Park.

The most bears I have ever seen in the wild, outside of Yellowstone, was during my one and only time staying in Stehekin in North Cascades National Park. We were barely arrived from floating in on the Lady of the Lake when the first bear sighting happened. It was climbing a tree outside the National Park Lodge in which we were staying.

Each night in Stehekin we would ride a bus to the Courtney Ranch for dinner. On the way the bus driver would take us through an abandoned orchard of heirloom Delicious apples. There were dozens of bears in the trees feasting on apples.

I made a couple webpages about that visit to Stehekin in which you will see a bear or two. Unfortunately back then, my digital camera did not take good photos, although once in awhile it would. 

I wonder if I will ever see a bear in the wild again. Or see Yellowstone again. I think my last time in Yellowstone was way back in 1989. I saw no bears, but did see a lot of mountain goats...

Friday, September 3, 2021

Texas Bans Abortions Whilst Allowing Texans To Openly Carry Guns Without Permit


The above is a screen cap from the top of the main page of yesterday's edition of CNN online. 

Over the years of my exile in Texas I've lost count of the number of times where this that or the other thing has caused Texas to be a national, or international embarrassment.

It has grown tiresome being asked by non-Texans, both west coasters and east coasters and between the coasters, how I can stand living in Texas with so many redneck right wing nutjobs.

It gets old explaining that not all Texans are right wing nutjobs. And that those who are, it really is not their fault. The schools in Texas are largely sub-standard, with kids not getting the quality education those of us who were educated in more, well, educated states.

There have been many Texans who have made an effort to improve the schools. The late Ross Perot comes to mind. He famously tried to get Texas schools to pay less attention to football and more to learning.

But, for me, Texas has hit a new low with this new law allowing idiots to openly carry a handgun without a permit, license or training.

And then Texas topped that embarrassment with an almost total abortion ban, even for rape and incest victims. 

I get asked why Texas elects so many morons, like the current governor. And the one before him. And the one before that one. Well, the entire country elected to a higher office the one before the one before the current Texas Governor.

I don't know what happened that changed Texas from the state which gave America Lyndon Baines Johnson. And Anne Richards as Governor. And Lloyd Bentsen as Senator. And Barbara Jordan as Congresswoman. And Sam Rayburn as Speaker of the House.

How did Texas go from politicians like those to the likes of Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton? The current Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.

All three embarrassments prone to saying incredibly stupid stuff, over and over and over again. Which the right wing nutjobs don't understand to be incredibly stupid stuff, because, well, that is what right wing nutjobs do, they misunderstand reality, and then get mad about that which they don't understand...

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Space Needle Clarification From FNJ & Spencer Jack With Photo Documentation

A day or two or three ago I blogged that Madame McNutty Needles My Homesick Space Again

In that blogging I made mention of the fact that I was unclear regarding the status of the renovated Seattle Space Needle. With me a bit confused about observation decks and glass floors. And what revolves and what does not revolve.

Regarding my confusions I said I would likely be hearing from my relative expert on things like the Seattle Space Needle, Monorail and Ferry Boats. This morning my relative expert, my Favorite Nephew Jason, alleviated me of some of my Needle confusions via an email with a subject line of Needle Clarification, with three photos and clarifying text.

The email from Jason in its entirety, followed by two of the three photos. The first one is the one you see above. 

FUD -- 

SJ and I visited the Needle early last year to walk (or sit on) the new glass floor.

The top of the Needle has two floors. The top floor includes the outside promenade that is familiar.  The only changes to that over the years has been the all inclusive fencing to prevent someone from jumping. The fencing is hardly noticeable and does not block any views.

The lower level of the Needle formerly housed a restaurant.  It was removed and replaced with an inside observation room.  This room hosts the glass floor which is really unnerving to walk on.  Only small parts of this level have the glass floor.  The very outer perimeter of this level does still make an hourly rotational loop.  

And I do think there was a very small cocktail lounge located in there.  SJ and I didn't partake that day, as this visit was in March, and SJ chose to give up hard liquor as a part of his Lent repentance. 

If you'd just come up and visit, it would be much easier to whisk you around to all these fun sights, rather than explaining the changes that have taken place over the last 20 years since your exodus.

Anyway, I have to get Spencer's breakfast ready. Today is his first day of high school. He is attending Lincoln Elementary School this year, right down the street from our town home.


Til Jason informed me of such I did not know the revolving restaurant in the Space Needle was no more. Years ago a second restaurant was added part way up the Needle. The restaurant at the top was notorious for its high prices and spectacular views.

Apparently Mount Vernon High School has too many students so they have taken over one of the oldest buildings in town for the incoming freshman class.

I began my school years in Mount Vernon, attending kindergarten at Roosevelt Grade School. By the time I was in 1st grade we had moved north, to Burlington, where I then attended the Burlington grade school named after a Roosevelt. I think the Mount Vernon one was named after Franklin whilst the Burlington one was named after Teddy. I may have that backwards.
Below are the two aforementioned photos... 

I can see the arches of the Pacific Science Center behind Spencer Jack's left shoulder. Which indicates the view behind the boys is slightly to the southwest. That body of water is Elliott Bay. The land on the far side of the bay is West Seattle, where you will find Seattle's version of the Statue of Liberty. 

Here we see Spencer Jack sitting on the Space Needle's glass floor. I don't know if this is one of the revolving locations. 

I really don't get the attraction of glass floors like this. Or those glass pedestrian bridges China seems to have become fond of. Or that glass walkway which cantilevers out over the Grand Canyon.

I have only experienced a location with a glass floor once. And that also was in Seattle. At REI's corporate headquarters, which is not far, maybe a mile, east of the Space Needle. REI's is just a small section of glass floor. Walking over it is not too unnerving, because all you see looking down is the floor below you.

I have a tentative date next summer with Madame McNutty to get loopy at the Space Needle's Loupe Lounge, which, thanks to Jason, we have now learned is located where the restaurant used to be...

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Have Gun No License Along With No Abortions In Texas

I saw that which you see above this morning in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Apparently the Texas legislature passed a new law which allows a Texan to carry a handgun without needing to get a license to do so.

What a relief. I have been without a gun for so long I probably don't remember how to pull a trigger.

I did not want to try to buy a gun and get a license in Texas, because, before this new law, I was afraid my extensive criminal history would prevent me from getting a license to legally pack heat. 

But, as soon as this new law goes into effect I will once again be able to be legally armed and dangerous, without needing a license.

And then, after learning I could soon be an armed threat in Texas, I learned the following via being the top story on CNN online this morning.

Way back in the 1800s Texas exiled most of its Native American tribes north to Oklahoma. Leaving only a couple tribal reservations in Texas. Texas prohibits commercial casinos.

Due to federal law allowing Native Americans to operate casinos, one of those remaining Texas tribes, the Kickapoo, operates the Lucky Eagle casino, offering only electronic gaming machines.

With electronic gaming machines meaning, I assume, those new fangled slot machine type things which cause me sensory overload and confusion. But no blackjack or poker or any other card games. Along with, I assume, no keno or bingo.

Due to Texas foolishly banning casinos of the sort one sees in all the states surrounding Texas, when leaving Texas, via whatever direction, one soon comes to a casino resort.

Head north on I-35 and soon after you cross into Oklahoma you arrive at the world's biggest casino, or so it claims, the Winstar World Casino & Resort. 

At my location in Wichita Falls I am close to two casino resorts a short distance after one crosses the Red River into Oklahoma. 

Head east to Louisiana and soon you will be in Shreveport and Bossier City where you will find riverboat casinos floating on the Red River.

Head west out of Texas to New Mexico and you will soon see casino resorts.

One can assume the majority of customers in casinos close to the Texas border are Texans. Thus a lot of money flows from the pockets of gambling Texans into the pockets of the Native American tribes which own the casinos.

Which, if you look at it that way, one can say the Texans are doing a good thing, helping the tribes make money.

My old home zone of the Skagit Valley has a large Native American population, consisting of several tribes with their own reservation land. A couple of the Skagit tribes have built casino resorts, those being the Swinomish Casino & Lodge and the Skagit Valley Casino Resort.

The Skagit Valley Casino had my favorite buffet to go to when I lived in the neighborhood.

So, why, one can not help but wonder, is Texas not okay with casinos operating in the state?

As for this new Texas banning of most abortions. Are abortions legal in Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico? If so, will clinics be opening near the Texas border providing abortions to desperate Texans?