Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spencer Jack's Sick Chill Magically Cured By A Grandma Vera Afghan

A day like today, cold, cloudy and dripping, such as is happening at my current location in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, a long distance north of being Deep in the Heart of Texas, with the cold, cloudy, drippiness being quite unpleasant, makes me think that I don't know if I could adjust, ever again, to living through a Western Washington non-sunny season, which is, pretty much, fall, winter and most of spring.

But, I think I'd be willing to try to make that adjustment, because I do remember how blissful those summer Pacific Northwest days can be, what with their natural air conditioning, bright blue skies.

And blackberries. Growing wild and free for the picking.

Nothing that I know of grows wild and free for the picking in Texas.

Well, there is the pear part of prickly pear cactus.

That is Spencer Jack sleeping above. Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew, Jason, emailed me this morning, with the above photo and a question about one of Spencer's relatives who lives in Tacoma.

A paragraph from the aforementioned email...

Picked Spencer up from school yesterday----he wasn't feeling well. Later that night tucked him into bed a little early. Said he was freezing. He was in sweat pants and a long sleeve shirt, covered by a sheet, a blanket and his bed comforter. Still said he was cold. Checked the thermostat in the house, which indicated it was 70 degrees. Grabbed a fleece blanket and put it over all his beddings. Went back to check on him. Still said he was cold. Drug out a Grandma Vera blanket, as seen in the picture. Must have been enough, as he was asleep in minutes.

So, Spencer Jack is ailing. I hope it's nothing serious. As soon as I saw the picture I knew what part of it was which Jason referenced, that being a "Grandma Vera blanket..."

More accurately a "Grandma Vera Crocheted Afghan."  Grandma Vera was my mom's mom. I last saw Grandma Vera in July of 2002 when Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey and I dropped in to visit Grandma in Bellingham. I think it was that visit north in 2002. It may have been an earlier visit in 2001.

Anyway, as far back as my memory goes Grandma Vera had really bad arthritis, with her hands all crippled up. This did not stop Grandma from being a crocheting machine. No one knows how many afghans Grandma made. I know I have four currently in my abode. I am looking at two right now, folded up, in position to be used should the temperature drop too much.

In addition to afghans, Grandma crocheted caps, or whatever it is you call  those mainstay headgears of skiing or a snowy winter day. I do not know how many Grandma Vera crocheted caps I have here. At least a half dozen. On a cold winter day, up in Lynden, near the Canadian border, if Grandma saw kids walking to school, capless, she'd go out and cover them with one of her crocheted caps.

I imagine to this day, in Lynden, on a cold day, you likely will see a head or two covered with a Grandma Vera cap.

Grandma Vera has been gone now for over a decade. That seems impossible. I think it would please Grandma Vera if she knew that over ten years later her eldest grandson was in Texas, talking about her on that newfangled thing, the Internet, which sort of annoyed her. Grandma Vera did not understand why everything was dot com this, dot com that. I remember trying to explain what dot com was, to limited avail.

I think Grandma Vera would be quite pleased to know her Great Great Grandson, Spencer Jack. I imagine by this point in time, if Grandma Vera were still alive, Spencer Jack would likely have a large supply of his own Grandma Vera crocheted afghans and caps.

Okay, I am feeling homesick and melancholy and sad now. Damn Seasonally Affected Disorder....

The Confederacy Of Dunces First Public Vote On The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

Yesterday after I blogged about the Confederacy of Dunces "My City. My Trinity. Fort Worth finding its way back home" photo exhibit, an amusing blog comment arrived from Ignatius J. Reilly...

Ignatius J. Reilly has left a new comment on your post "J.D. Granger & His Confederacy Of Dunces Is Now Programming Propaganda Photo Exhibit Products": 

Mr. Jones, you did not make note of a part of the TRV's press release that reeked with irony, that being the following sentence.

"A second gallery will feature community submitted photographs, the public is encouraged to vote on their favorite image."

For the first time in its history, that which you call The Boondoggle is allowing the public to vote on some aspect of The Boondoggle, albeit a very minor aspect. 

Ignatius is correct, I did not make note (in my blog post) of this first time ever public vote on any aspect of The Boondoggle.

However, I did make note of this historic fact, when I read it, and intended to mention this shocking development. But, then forgot to.

So, thank you, Mr. Reilly, for noticing this history making event and commenting about it.

As for the Confederacy of Dunces, or Dunce Confederacy, I opined yesterday that maybe we need to make this the new name for The Boondoggle.

That which is known as The Boondoggle has gone through several name changes. From Trinity Uptown, to Trinity River Vision, to Panther Island.

So, I guess it only makes sense that that which we used to refer to as the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, eventually to become known simply as The Boondoggle, may now become known as the Dunce Confederacy.

The term "Confederacy of Dunces" comes from a Jonathan Swift essay, in which Swift said, "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."

Sadly, there is no loud genius, appearing to be heard, who is speaking truth to the Fort Worth Confederacy of Dunces. Fort Worth has no real newspaper, of the daily sort, printing the results of investigative journalism.

Thus, the Dunce Confederacy basically operates in a vacuum with no checks or balance.

Fort Worth Weekly does what it can, but can not afford to annoy the local businesses who buy advertising.

Come to think of it, I don't think I saw a single ad in Fort Worth Weekly this summer from the Dunce Confederacy, formerly known as The Boondoggle, advertising their weekly Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Float Beer Parties.

You reading this outside the Fort Worth propaganda bubble, back in November we had a good example of the Dunce Confederacy in action. The occasion was the ground explosion, I mean, ground breaking, for the Dunce Confederacy's Three Bridges Over Nothing. Three very simple bridges which are scheduled to take longer to build than the Golden Gate Bridge and many other feats of modern engineering.

Only a Confederacy of Dunces would have a celebration to make note of something as lame as the start of this slow motion bridge construction project.

Go to the blogging I wrote that day, titled A Big Boom Begins Boondoggle Bridge Construction Three Months Late and you will see the Dunce Confederacy in action, including video (if the Dunces have not removed it) where you can hear J.D. Granger, his Mama Kay, and Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price, give a good verbal example of what Dunces sound like when they say stupid stuff which has no grounding in reality....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

J.D. Granger & His Confederacy Of Dunces Is Now Programming Propaganda Photo Exhibit Products

It seems so long ago, but it was only last September, when an embarrassing brouhaha broke out over a photo exhibit in the Amon Carter Museum, with the brouhaha being caused by an exhibit of photos of the Trinity River by Chicago photographer, Terry Evans.

Ms. Evans made the mistake of taking honest photos of what her eyes honestly saw, unaware, as she was, of the Fort Worth aesthetic when it comes to how Fort Worth is to be portrayed to the outside world.

In other words, Terry Evans did not take Chamber of Commerce type doctored photos, with manipulated lighting, filtering and a big dose of over saturating.

The Terry Evans photos looked at the Trinity River under the harsh light of day, not under the more forgiving light of darkness.

The forgiving light of darkness is the preferred lighting mode of way too many of those who have way too much influence over what  happens in Fort Worth, and which may be why so much which happens in Fort Worth ends up looking a bit ugly, when looked at in the realistic light of day.

Back in September I blogged about this Amon Carter/Terry Evans brouhaha in a blogging titled A Star-Telegram Review Of An Amon Carter Museum Exhibit Leads To Much Ado About Photos Of The Trinity River.

That blogging contained what may be the most embarrassing J.D. Granger verbiage he has uttered, and Lord knows there has been a plethora of embarrassing verbiage uttered from that boy's lips.

On Facebook, regarding this photo exhibit, J.D. said, "I firmly believe there are two people at fault right now. I point this out to encourage our beautiful river community to direct your comments at both of them to help educate them about our Trinity River in Fort Worth. We are victims of an outta town arrogant and ignorant photographer and a reporter who failed to educate herself about our community before she inked this junk."

The "beautiful river community" may be my favorite part of this Granger nonsense. Plus, "victims"? You tell the truth, or in this case, take honest photos, victimizing the community, because the allegedly beloved river is the object of an honest look? I suspect J.D. Granger likely has serious issues with mirrors as well.

So, after stewing about this victimhood for a couple months what does the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle do? He takes time out from his busy schedule of working on the complex, fast moving engineering project over which he is responsible to "Program" another "Product" of The Boondoggle.

In an article on The Boondoggle's website titled “My City. My Trinity. Fort Worth finding its way back home” Exhibit to Open at Fort Worth Community Arts Center we learn The Boondoggle is sponsoring a photo exhibit  including Trinity River  photos taken by the photo propagandist who helped stir up the Terry Evans controversy, Brian Luenser.

Part of the breathless "For Immediate Release" announcement....

FORT WORTH, TX -- The Trinity River and its tributaries ebb and flow through every corner of Fort Worth creating a unique opportunity for our city. Fort Worth was founded along the Trinity River because of the vitality the river provided. However, as time passed the community turned its back to the river. The Trinity became something that the community quickly drove across or beside forgetting the prominence it once played. In recent years, the Trinity River has experienced a resurrection in Fort Worth as the community has awoken to all that the river can provide. Today the Trinity River is returning to its original glory delivering water needs, open areas for recreation in and along its banks and a place to escape the hustle and bustle of one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. A deeper understanding of this wonderful amenity has developed as the public realized that the Trinity River can serve as a link that brings our entire community together.

The “My City. My Trinity.” exhibit features works of art from members of our community who have embraced the Trinity River and all that it has to offer our city. One gallery within the exhibit will feature photographs from Brian Luenser and Gordon Henry, both Fort Worth based photographers. A second gallery will feature community submitted photographs, the public is encouraged to vote on their favorite image. 

This exhibit is a gift to the community for their continued support of the Trinity River and their commitment to continue improving and embracing the opportunities it affords our city,” said Trinity River Vision Authority Executive Director, JD Granger.

This shift in perception would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of a select group of organizations. Thanks to water quality initiatives the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has implemented over the last 20 years the Trinity River is the only river in a large urban area in Texas that you can jump in and embrace.  The river is now enjoyed by kayakers, canoers, water skiers, tubers and swimmers alike. TRWD has also constructed a number of low water crossings and water access points for the community’s enjoyment. However, the amenity that TRWD is most appreciated for is its contribution to the beloved Trinity Trail system. TRWD has built and maintains over 58 miles of trail in the comprehensive Trinity Trails system. This system is connected to a strong on-street trail and park network provided by the City of Fort Worth which includes Trinity Park and Gateway Park. The full Trinity Trail system provides over 70 miles of continuous trails and connects to 31 neighborhoods. 

The above propaganda is right up there with the worst of The Boondoggle's embarrassing propaganda.

The river is returning to its original glory?

The river has experienced a resurrection?

The community has awoken to all the river can provide?

The public realizes the river can serve as a link to the community?

The river is the only river in an urban area in Texas that you can jump in and embrace?

And the best of the nonsense, predictably from J.D. Granger, telling us this exhibit is a gift to the community, with that gift given because of the continued support, by the community, of the river, along with the community support for improving the river and embracing the opportunities the river brings to Fort Worth.

The "community", as in voters, has never been allowed to vote for any of this, you clueless Dunce. How does the Executive Director of The Boondoggle know what the community wants?

There have been ZERO elections in which the community of voters has approved of anything The Boondoggle is doing.

Did the community want the world's premiere wakeboard lake? Did the community want the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century? Did the community want an ice rink? Did the community want the name "Panther Island" applied  to an area of urban blight, which is not an island? Did the community want happy hour inner tube floats on the river, with music?

If so, exactly by what means did The Boondoggle's Executive Director learn that this was what the community wanted, when the community has never approved of any of The Boondoggle's boondoggling via an election, including this embarrassing photo exhibit intended to childishly counter the Amon Carter Terry Evan exhibit?

Like I said.

A Dunce.

Leading what amounts to being a Confederacy of Dunces. A Confederacy of Dunces building bridges over nothing, in slow motion, to connect to an imaginary island, with a future island-making ditch to be dug, years from now, if ever, to fix an imaginary flood problem and make that imaginary island.

Confederacy of Dunces. I think this may be my new name for The Boondoggle....

Pantego Puzzlement Leads Me To No Man's Land In Arlington's Veterans Park

It was not soon before midnight, last night, that I returned to my abode after an exhausting night of Dancing with the Fort Worth Stockyard Cows.

Even though I got home late I got up early, before the sun, which enabled a sunrise hot tub bout which was quite salubrious.

Prior to noon I needed to go to Pantego to get myself bum puzzled  by a big electronic device which eventually gave me money.

No, there are no casinos in Pantego with slot machines. I have to drive all the way to Oklahoma or Louisiana to lose money by that method.

I was not long in Pantego before I headed to Veterans Park in Arlington.

Above you are looking at the Veterans Park Veterans Memorial, from the northeast side of the memorial.

To the south of the memorial, new signage has been installed since my last visit.

I had not heard that a Vietnam War Memorial was being added to Veterans Park.

When I saw the sign I wondered if this new memorial will be modeled after the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C.?

Fair Park in Dallas has a Vietnam Wall Memorial modeled after the one in Washington, D. C., but with the Dallas Wall memorializing only the names of Texans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone and you've not seen  the Vietnam Memorial in Fair Park, well, it is worth the trek to find it. It is very well done.

I'm sure the Arlington Vietnam War Memorial will also be well done. Arlington seems to have a habit of doing most things well. Except for things like public transit.

Today I hiked the more rugged area of Veterans Park.

As I gazed upon the scenic wonderland it caused me to wonder if this area you see here is not some sort of homage to the Veterans of World War I, with this being an art installation representing No Man's Land, with those rock structures representing trenches.

Or it may just be part of the Veterans Park Disc Golf Course.

Then again nothing stops this from being a dual purpose type deal.


Christmas In The Fort Worth Stockyards With Dancing Cows, Pete Delkus & Too Many Fort Worth Police

Last night, that being the third Monday night of the last month of 2014, I found myself in the Fort Worth Stockyards, making my way to the vicinity of Booger Red's Saloon, home of Buffalo Butt Beer, when I came upon a raucous scene I had not anticipated.

Being face to face with one of the most notorious faces in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Pete Delkus.

The premiere Weather Drama Queen of North Texas.

I have lost track of the number of times I have been peacefully minding my own business, watching some television show on ABC, to find the show suddenly interrupted by Pete Delkus excitedly informing me that a rotating cell has been detected some long distance from my location, that may drop hail or spin into a tornado.

Anyway, Pete Delkus was surrounded by a lot of Dancing Cows. And a mini-orchestra providing music, with a couple singers singing. It really was a festive affair. You can watch a snippet of the festive affair in the video below.

As I stood watching the Dancing Cows a nice young lady asked if I would like some hot cocoa. I politely declined. She then asked if I would like some cookies. I said yes please, saying I hope one is white chocolate macadamia nut. To which she replied one was, with the other one being a plain ol' chocolate chip cookie.

Soon after escaping the Dancing Cows and Pete Delkus, to continue on my way to Booger Red's, I came upon a poster informing me that the Dancing Cows with Pete Delkus mayhem was a Chick-fil-A Christmas thing.

Which explained the Dancing Cows and the event being a Toy Drop Off.

This also explained the long line of cars, with Santa and his Helpers taking packages from the cars in exchange for hot cocoa and cookies.

One thing of note which bothered  me about last night's visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards.

That being there seemed to be, to me, way too many Fort Worth police cars stationed around the Stockyards. I have been in many a tourist attraction over the years and I do not recollect ever seeing such a heavy handed type police presence at what would seem to be an innocuous night in the Stockyards. I have never noticed multiple Fort Worth police cars during daytime visits to the Stockyards.

Or was there an ISIS terror threat about which I was unaware? I did notice two Fort Worth police cars parked on Main Street, at the Exchange Street turn into the Stockyards, parked near the long abandoned New ISIS Theater.

Methinks if the Fort Worth police think a heavy handed police presence is needed, then park your police cars somewhere out of sight, get out of the car and walk the Stockyard beat.

And now for your viewing pleasure, Dancing Cows & Pete Delkus in Christmas Festive mode in the Fort Worth Stockyards, with heavy police protection...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tacoma's Foss Waterway Development Authority vs. Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Authority Boondoggle

A couple days ago, whilst sorting through my YouTube videos looking for a video I made six years ago of a drive over Tacoma's Two Bridges Over Water, I came upon another video I made during that year's stay in Tacoma, a video of a walk around Tacoma's Thea Foss Waterway.

You can watch that video below, in which you will see a pair of Tacoma Link street cars, full of riders, crossing paths in Tacoma's Museum district, which is not called The Cultural District.

Those Tacoma Link street cars are free to ride from Tacoma's Intermodal Transport Center where you can hop a bus, train or streetcar, to go to all sorts of locations, after parking in a big parking garage, for free.

At the Tacoma Intermodal Transport Center you will also find Freighthouse Square, a Fort Worth Santa Fe Rail Market-like development on steroids, which has thrived for years, rather than die a quick death like Fort Worth's pitiful public market attempt.

Watching that video I made years ago, made well after the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was well underway, with its slow motion construction, I was struck by the similarities between what Thea Foss Waterway has become and what the Trinity River Vision purports to want to be.

Both have bridges. That is the Thea Foss Waterway Bridge below, built across water in way shorter time than four years. The TRV Boondoggle currently has three simple bridges under construction, over dry land, with the water to be added later. Maybe. With these simple bridges slated to take four years to build.


Above you are looking at just a small section of the Thea Foss Waterway. What is called the Esplanade meanders along the waterway for about 1.5 miles. I believe that is about the length of the Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's imaginary promenade alongside its imaginary channel alongside its imaginary island.

Below is another look at the Thea Foss Waterway Esplanade. When I visited for a month in August of 2004 I had myself a mighty fine time roller blading on the Esplanade.


The Thea Foss Waterway Development is a mixed use type of deal. There is a large marina with boats of all sizes, restaurants, a big apartment complex, which you see part of on the left above, stores, parks, other amenities, including museums, some of which are accessed by crossing over a freeway spur via what is known as The Bridge of Glass.


Above you are looking at the broad stairway which leads to the aforementioned Bridge of Glass, where you will find an installation of Chihuly Glass worth millions. That cone shaped structure is part of the Museum of Glass.

Okay, now that I have given you some idea of what the Thea Foss Waterway is, let's talk about how this development came to be.

Historically the Thea Foss Waterway was an industrial zone. Those industries polluted the waterway. In 1983 the Environmental Protection Agency designated the waterway and Commencement Bay a Superfund cleanup site.

Tacoma city and business leaders then created the Foss Waterway Development Authority with its goal being the restoration of the waterway to being a dynamic part of Tacoma. From that point on the FWDA has set precedents in planning, engineering and development, in cooperation with regulatory agencies and the public.

In 2014 the result is a mixed use urban village combining housing, retail, restaurants, along with recreation amenities.

The Thea Foss Waterway is on ongoing development, growing and expanding.

So, how does Tacoma, a town a quarter the size of Fort Worth, population-wise, manage to pull of a massive public works project, successfully, including the building of bridges, water features, walkways, along with cleaning up a pollution mess, while Fort Worth dawdles along with an embarrassing boondoggle which had an explosive celebration celebrating the start of the four year construction of Three Bridges Over Nothing?

I think part of the explanation for the difference is in Tacoma adults are in charge. The executive director of the Foss Waterway Authority is not the unqualified son of a local congresswoman. The Foss Waterway Authority sets and meets clear goals with project timelines.

Fort Worth's Boondoggle has no actual goals or project timelines, unless one wants to count that four year goal to build three simple bridges over dry land.

Comparing the Foss Waterway Development Authority website with the Trinity River Vision Authority website is very revealing.

The Tacoma website it totally reality based, sharing information about projects already completed, or in progress. The Fort Worth website is mostly propaganda, sharing pseudo information about plans which have no plan or project timeline, such as the Gateway Park Master Plan.

The Fort Worth website does a lot of bragging about things they should be embarrassed about, such as their various "Products" and "Programs".  Products like ice rinks, drive-ins, breweries and wakeboard parks. Programs like Rockin' the River Inner Tube Floats and music festivals.

You will find no information on the Fort Worth website about project timelines. You will find a lot of propaganda puffery.

The Tacoma website has a page listing the Foss Waterway Development Authority's Completed Projects.

You will find no similar list on The Boondoggle's website.

The mission statement type blurbs on the two website's home pages are telling.

From the Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority website...

The Thea Foss Waterway is quickly becoming a popular place to live, work and play. Mountain views, marina access, walking distance to downtown Tacoma and nearby services make Foss Waterway an attractive master planned community. Development sites are available along the Foss Waterway, just 35 miles south of Seattle. The Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA) is the coordinating agency for the waterfront's development. We can be advocates for developers through our established relationships with regulatory agencies.

From the Trinity River Vision Authority website...

The Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) is the organization responsible for the implementation of the Trinity River Vision (TRV) - a master plan for the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas. It is underway now - connecting every neighborhood in the city to the Trinity River corridor with new recreational amenities, improved infrastructure, environmental enhancements and event programming. The TRV will create Panther Island (formerly Trinity Uptown), a vibrant urban waterfront neighborhood, expand Gateway Park into one of the largest urban-programmed parks in the nation and enhance the river corridor with over 90 user-requested projects along the Trinity Trails.
Every time I read the TRVB's propaganda about 90 imaginary user-requested projects I cringe. I tell you, the Fort Worth Boondogglers, led by J.D. Granger, have no shame, no matter how absurd the propaganda they spew.

A master plan to connect every neighborhood in the city to the river? Can we see that plan please?

The plan is underway? Really? Where can we check out the project timeline for that plan which is underway? Such a timeline does not exist on The Boondoggle's website.

And, before I shut up, I must add one important thing. The Boondoggle is not yet at the point, if it ever gets there, when pollution issues come up that need mitigating, such as Tacoma had to deal with. The area where The Boondoggle is boondoggling is an industrial wasteland. It is highly likely contamination is going to be encountered if digging into the ground ever actually takes place.

Does the EPA Superfund still exist? Methinks that may be the only federal money The Boondoggle may actually be able to get its hands on.....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

This Is Not A Shotgun Wedding On Austin's Capitol Steps

The Texas open carry gun madness really is getting to be a bit much.

A shotgun type wedding on the steps of the state capitol?

That is just embarrassing.

What?

That's not the State Capitol Building in Austin?

That is the State Capitol Building in Olympia, in my old home state of Washington?

Now that really is embarrassing.

What is going on here?

Well, apparently in last November's election Washington votes passed something called Initiative 594. This new law allows expanded background checks on those wanting to purchase a firearm.

I wonder if Texas might get a voter turnout, higher than less than a third of those eligible to vote, if the state ever had anything consequential on the ballot? Like voting to legalize  marijuana, same sex marriage, legalizing casinos, ending the state's bizarrely Byzantine Prohibition-era liquor laws, prohibiting industry control of state agencies such as the TCEQ and the Texas Railroad Commission, that type thing?

So, what's the deal with this guy with the machine gun and the couple getting married?

Apparently, on Saturday, around 1,000 open carry gun rights type advocates had a protest rally outside  the Capitol building to voice their objection to the new background check law.

The couple in wedding attire were not protest participants. They were there to have pre-wedding pictures taken. The Best Man guy holding the gun also is not a protester. One of the protesters handed the Best Man the gun, who I guess then willingly posed like a Mafia hit man, allowing the photo to be taken.

This open carry thing is just not right. A couple days ago I was driving through my neighborhood Albertsons parking lot when I stopped to let an extremely fat man pass in front of me. I was appalled to see that the extremely fat man was sporting a holster around his expansive waist, with a gun stuck in that holster.

I really would not want to be bagging bananas in Albertsons and look up to see an extremely fat man coming towards me packing heat.

Same applies to an extremely skinny man.

Or woman.....

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fort Worth's Defunct Lagrave Field Is No Longer The Envy Of Its League

What you are looking at here is the home base view of Fort Worth's defunct Lagrave Field, where the Fort Worth Cats used to play baseball in an extremely minor league against towns a fraction of Fort Worth's size.

Over a decade ago I was motivated to check out Fort Worth's new ballpark after reading the following in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram...

In the late Winter of 2003, in the sports section of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in an article about the coming baseball season, the Fort Worth Cats and La Grave Field, the writer said that La Grave Field, in its short existence, had become "the envy of the league...". It was decided to have a look at this Ballpark which had become the envy of the league, as it was assumed it must be spectacular, what with the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington just down the road a few miles.

Well, it did not take me long to find out that the league of which Fort Worth's field was the envy consisted of teams and towns I had never heard of, such as the Alexandria Aces, the Jackson Senators, the Ozark Mountain Ducks, the Edinburg Roadrunners, the Coastal Bend Aviators and the Rio Grande Whitewings.

You reading this in cities of Fort Worth's size, give or take a few hundred thousand, I guarantee I am not making this up. This town, with a population over 800,000, prided itself on supposedly having a better ballpark than that which the Ozark Mouuntain Ducks, and others, play ball in.

Another look at Lagrave Field, the envy of its league, now out of business.


The above photos were taken back in 2003, back when the envy of its league was still in good shape, before deterioration and a broken scoreboard became the ballpark's norm.

Long ago I documented, via a webpage, my astonishment at this sad excuse for a ballpark in a big American city, in a webpage titled, Fort Worth's La Grave Field. Included among what I photo documented, was the fact that way back in 2003, when Lagrave Field was the envy of its league, it  had no indoor restroom facilities, instead using the Fort Worth standard for its parks.

Outhouses.

You reading this in other big towns in America, again, I am not making this up.

The Wikipedia article about Lagrave Field made no mention of it being the envy of its league, but did make note of the financial woes which drove the ballpark out of business....

Recent financial challenges

In February 2010, former Fort Worth Cats owner Carl Bell defaulted on $30 million in notes with LaGrave Field as collateral. Although Amegy Bank had the right to foreclose on the field and some of the adjacent acreage, the bank did not decide to immediately exercise that right. Former owner Carl Bell also owed over $195,000 USD in property taxes and penalties for 2010 and sought a buyer for the stadium. A scheduled (January 3, 2012) foreclosure auction was averted due to a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing by LaGrave Reconstruction Company. Several months later, the debt holder Amegy Bank of Houston finally completed foreclosure and became the landlord of the Cats. On Tuesday, October 2, 2012 it was announced that LaGrave Field had been bought by an affiliate of the team's new ownership group for $4.5 million USD.

This week's Fort Worth Weekly has an article about the Lagrave Field woes titled Needing a Forever Home.

I was a little confused by the Fort Worth Weekly article. Mention is made of the fact that former owner, Carl Bell, who brought the Cats back to Lagrave Field in 2001, had also bought many of the acres which surrounded the ballpark, anticipating this would become valuable land due to what is known now as The Boondoggle. However, when the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle project moved at a snail's pace, along with the Great Recession, Bell found himself having money woes, with the Fort Worth Weekly article saying Bell was rescued by a guy named Bryant and a former Texas Rangers President named Mike Stone, who bought the team in 2012 and paid off its debts. But could not afford the ballpark.

Which does not make a lot of sense to me.

What I am remembering is the reports that Bell got himself a sweetheart deal, arranged by a TRWD board member friend, with that deal purchasing a large chunk of Bell's land for a very healthy sum, with the TRWD then leasing part of that land to the entity which foisted on Fort Worth the bizarre first drive-movie theater of the 21st century, known as the Coyote Drive-In.

If no one comes forward to buy Lagrave Field the new owners have indicated it will be torn down in order to develop the property.

I think this would be a good thing to tear down that rundown eyesore. However TRWD board member Jim Lane thinks differently, quoted in the FW Weekly article as saying...

"If it gets town down, every elected official  in Fort Worth ought to be ashamed of themselves."

Well.

I think there are plenty of reasons every elected official in Fort Worth ought to be ashamed of themselves, but tearing down this ballpark is not one of them.

The fact that Fort Worth does not seem to know how to build a ballpark of the sort other big, and some little towns, do, well that is something for the elected officials to be ashamed of.

Just go to my old home zone of Washington and check out the minor league baseball parks in towns much smaller than Fort Worth, such as Tacoma's Cheney Stadium, Everett's Memorial Stadium, Bellingham's Joe Martin Field. Even my old home town of Mount Vernon has a baseball park, Sherman Anderson Field, where, while no minor league calls it home, the Skagit County Fair does. And Sherman Anderson Field has indoor restrooms of the non-outhouse variety.

Those elected officials who should be ashamed of themselves should just take a short drive north, to Oklahoma City and check out Bricktown, where they will find a new, but classic looking baseball park.

In Bricktown those elected officials who should be ashamed of themselves will also find a Trinity River Vision type project that has actually been completed. If I remember right the signage I saw at the time I visited Bricktown, well over ten years ago, indicated it was the result of around a $1 billion bond issue.

Yes. Oklahoma City voters voted to build Bricktown. Again, what a concept. And imagine that, voted on, approved by the voters, fully funded. And built.

Oklahoma got a lot for their billion bucks. A very cool San Antonio-like Riverwalk, with restaurants and shops. Another sporting venue, besides the ballpark. I think this may be where the basketball team Aubrey McClendon stole from Seattle plays. I don't know if Myriad Gardens was part of the bond issue which built Bricktown, but it is part of the complex, and very well done.

If only the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle had the vision to go about its project in the way Oklahoma City did, Fort Worth might be reaping the benefits at this point in time, rather than waiting for the slowpoke construction of Three Bridge Over Nothing, with another wait in four years, waiting for money to be found to start building the ditch so water can be added under the bridges....

Balmy Tandy Hill Hiking Finding A Mythical Monster Hoodoo Or Possible Snowman

Today was my first time back on the Tandy Hills since the last Friday of last month. I don't know why it's been weeks since I've done any high speed hill hiking.

Maybe the lack of hill hiking is temperature related, with today's balmy 70s making it sound like it'd make for a mighty fine time to be enjoying the great outdoors, or what passes for the great outdoors at this location on the planet.

Today the Hoodoo at Tandy Hills Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail was a mere stub of its usual self.

But the Hoodoo at the Midway point on Mount Tandy was standing tall  and a bit bloated today.

When I first saw this Hoodoo I thought the Hoodoo builder was going for a Snowman Hoodoo. Then as I looked at it some more, particularly at the face, and the BIG round foundation, it started to look like a Fubboo Hoodoo.

But, a Fubboo is a mythical monster which haunts the Pacific Northwest, and is totally unknown in the Southwest, and Texas, so I think the uncanny resemblance is just a fateful coincidence.

I just got the oddest blog comment from someone named Anonymous.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Driving Over The Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridges Looking For Fort Worth's Three Bridges Over Nothing": 

I don't want to get pithy, but that ain't your video. Enjoyed it though! 

That ain't my video? Whose video is it? I am fairly certain I am driving the car in the video. I sort of recognize my voice speaking. I remember driving along holding the camcorder. I remember making the video and uploading it  to YouTube. How is it not my video?

Why are Anonymous people so weird?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Driving Over The Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridges Looking For Fort Worth's Three Bridges Over Nothing

Today, looking for a photo of my dad, and a video of Spencer Jack, had me coming across the photo you see here, and the video you can watch below.

In the photo we are looking north across a Tacoma Narrows waterfront deck, near the Steamers seafood restaurant, south of the Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridges.

The closest bridge is the newest bridge. The new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge was built this century in less than four years.

Built over water.

Built after the voters in the seven or eight counties most affected by the need for a new bridge approved a bond measure to finance the construction of the bridge.

What a concept.

Fort Worth is currently building Three Bridges Over Nothing. No water in sight. The Fort Worth Three Bridges Over Nothing are scheduled to take four years to build. And the public has never been allowed to vote on this particular public works project.

With those Three Fort Worth Bridges Over Nothing taking so long to build, longer than the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge, longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, we can certainly reasonably expect that those Three Fort Worth Bridges Over Nothing are going to be spectacular.

At some point in time, in July of 2008, I drove across the old and the new Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridges, using my antique camcorder to record the drive.

In the video you get a cloudy look at Tacoma, population much smaller than Fort Worth. But with a road system well designed to handle the traffic it needs to handle. In the video I make mention of The Mountain being out and clearly visible. However, The Mountain does not appear in my inferior quality video.

If I remember right I also made a video of Tacoma's Theo Foss Waterway and its surrounding museums. Theo Foss is a development of the sort the Trinity River Vision wants to be, but likely never will be, due to that boondoggle problem from which it suffers.

Below is the video of a drive over the Tacoma Narrows Bridges, along with my pithy commentary....