Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Panama Canal Was Built In The Time It Took Fort Worth To Begin Construction On Three Bridges Over Dry Land

No, on the left you are not looking at the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's un-needed flood diversion channel under construction.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's un-needed flood diversion channel, under construction, won't be anything anyone could possibly see for at least four years.

Before construction on that all important flood diversion channel can begin three bridges have to be built.

Three bridges which are such complex feats of engineering that they will take four years to build.

Over dry land.

What you are actually looking at above is the Panama Canal under construction. The Panama Canal was an actual vitally needed public works project, engineered by real engineers, with no congresswoman's son anywhere to be seen.

Construction on the Panana Canal began about 100 years before the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle began boondoggling, as in construction began in 1904, with the first ships floating through the Panama Canal ten years later, on August 15, 1914.

Are we all seeing the irony here?

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken was completed in the time it has taken Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Boondoggle to start construction on Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Does anyone know of any public works project anywhere that has as slow a pace of construction as Fort Worth's Boondoggle?

If the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is such an important flood control project, protecting downtown Fort Worth from flooding from which it has been protected by existing levees for well over a half century, and if The Boondoggle is such an important economic revitalization project, then why is it being built on what must be one of the slowest construction paces in the world?

Can you imagine Teddy Roosevelt signing off on building three bridges over dry land before the Panama Canal could begin to be dug? Can you imagine any sane, responsible person signing off on something so nonsensical?

I can not be the only person looking at this ongoing absurdity who is perplexed by this ongoing Boondoggle....

Fort Worth Really Is Not A Fifty Shades Of Grey Type Of Town

The last day or two I have been pondering something I have pondered before, that being trying to figure out why it is that those who represent Fort Worth, be it politicians, civic leaders and others, have such a propensity to make claims about Fort Worth which are just plain ridiculous, not grounded in reality or just out and out false.

One example, which I blogged about, is brought to us by Fort Worth's mayor Betsy Price, in a blogging titled Mayor Betsy Price Thinks The Late Nancy Bass & Her Four Sons Made Fort Worth One Of The Greatest Cities In The World.

Mr. Galtex commented on that example, saying "Perplexing to me, too. I think FW has a serious inferiority complex, which is unfortunate because in many ways it's a very pleasant place."

In another blogging, on a similar theme, titled Mr. & Mrs. Galtex Are In Argentina Where They Learned Fort Worth Has America's Top Downtown Mr. Galtex had another on target observation, saying "For the life of me, I've never been able to figure out why the FW locals are not content to simply say they have a nice downtown, a good this, and a swell that, instead of labeling everything with ridiculous superlatives. FW would be even nicer without a chip on its shoulder."

Mr. Galtex is a lifelong Texan who is one of the few people who live in downtown Fort Worth.

I totally agree with what Mr. Galtex is saying, that being that Fort Worth has a perfectly fine downtown, which unfortunately has people who speak for it spouting ridiculous superlatives with which they tout their perfectly ordinary downtown.

A time or two a person or two with limited perception ability has simplified my attitude towards Fort Worth by saying that with me it is Fort Worth bad, Seattle good. The actual fact of the matter is there are only a few downtown's with which I am quite familiar, those being Fort Worth, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Sorry Fort Worth, but you come up on the short end of all those big city sticks.

I dealt with the Fort Worth bad, Seattle good thing in a blogging titled On Top Of Mount Tandy Not Really Thinking Fort Worth Bad Seattle Good. Somewhat ironically, that blogging includes a lot of verbiage from the aforementioned Mr.Galtex in which he describes his and Mrs. Galtex's first trip to stay in downtown Seattle where they discovered a downtown accessed by rail from the airport, multiple grocery stores, vertical malls, department stores, a plethora of restaurants, lots of people, way too many Starbucks.

And little litter.

If I remember right it has been twice this year that the downtown Fort Worth propagandists have gone into full bore hype mode claiming Fort Worth was the Top Downtown in America. When I was perplexed by the absurdity of this claim it did not take much scraping off of the layers of nonsense to discover that the awards no one had ever heard of were brought about because some downtown Fort Worth entity submitted totally exaggerated submissions to some self-serving award givers,which proceeded to give out the bogus award without investigating the veracity of the award submission.

In one bizarre instance where Fort Worth's was named Top Downtown in America, by some narrow criteria, the other towns in the Top Ten were also towns most of America knew nothing about. Towns like the one I was born in, Eugene, Oregon, or a town I've lived in, Bellingham, Washington. Both of which, to me, have bigger, more evolved downtown's than Fort Worth's.

So, back to my original subject, as in where does Fort Worth's civic inferiority complex come from that causes it to so embarrassingly over compensate?

I started pondering this, oddly enough, when I watched the trailer for the upcoming movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. I knew this movie was based on some sort of publishing phenomenon which had a couple Texas women suing an Australian woman. I did not know, til watching the trailer, that Fifty Shades of Grey is set in Seattle.

Watching the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer, with its swooping views of downtown Seattle, with its skyscrapers, stadiums, Space Needle, waterfront, boats, trees, it suddenly struck me that it is seeing this type thing which must be at the heart of the Fort Worth civic inferiority complex.

I mean, can you imagine any sort of romantic novel being set in Fort Worth, with a movie filmed using Fort Worth scenery? Swooping in from the north the camera would need to avoid the Heritage Park eyesore. Or those Three Bridge Over Nothing under construction.

I have long been perplexed by the animosity towards Dallas I have heard from so many Fort Worth natives. I liked Dallas upon first exposure. Dallas is a town which seems to be wearing its big city pants. Except for when the time comes to build a new football stadium in town, or renovate something like Fair Park.

Dallas has an iconic skyline recognized all over the world due to the fact that a television show called Dallas became a huge hit all over the world.  I remember the first time I headed to Dallas on I-30 and realized I was seeing the classic scene from the Dallas opening credits.

Fort Worth being paired with a famous city must be like having a famous sibling, more beautiful, more successful, known all over the world. Of course this might lead to an inferiority complex. And over compensating.

Can you imagine a TV show called Fort Worth? Can you imagine what the opening credits would look like, coming in to town from whatever direction you chose? It would not be pretty.

It's not just 50 Shades of Grey which has Seattle as a setting. A TV show called Grey's Anatomy also is set in Seattle. Many shows and movies have been set in Seattle. Frazier comes to mine, with his big picture window looking out at the Space Needle.

Why does no TV producer choose Fort Worth as the setting for a movie or TV show? That is a question worth pondering. And please do not mention Walker: Texas Ranger to me. That is just embarrassing.

Sleepless in Seattle. Can you imagine Sleepless in Fort Worth? The lack of places to stage scenic scenes would be a killer when one would consider filming a movie in Fort Worth. No beaches, no houseboats, no waterfront, few skyscrapers, no professional sports venues, no iconic structures. Nothing really notable unless, maybe, one is filming a movie about homeless people, then Fort Worth's notorious Homeless People District might be useful.

Now, I realize me saying this type stuff may seem harsh. But, it is reality. A reality Fort Worth needs to collectively face and deal with, instead  of playing make believe.

Ask yourself why no movies or TV shows get based in Fort Worth and then ponder what it is other towns have which make them appealing for something like movies or TV shows and you'll go to the heart of why it is totally absurd to try and claim Fort Worth is the Top Downtown in America.

If it were, the town would be on the nation and world's consciousness, like Dallas is.

I truly believe that the bizarre Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is only going to make it worse for Fort Worth, that for the first time ever Fort Worth may find itself on the nation's radar screen. And not in a good way.

Think Boston Big Dig with a Southern Spin.

And now, watch the aforementioned Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer and try and imagine this being Fort Worth and you will realize Fort Worth has a lot of work to do if it wants to actually get anywhere near being the Top Downtown in America. It may be an impossible task....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stay South Of The North Face If You Know What Is Good For You

My incredibly great nephew, Spencer Jack, has been making a mighty strong case that I should move back to the Skagit Valley, going so far as to suggest I could stay in the guest wing of his Hillcrest home in Mount Vernon.

And then, just minutes ago, incoming email from Spencer Jack's dad, he being my favorite nephew, Jason, with the subject line of the email that which you see as the title of this blogging, "Stay South Of The North Face If You Know What Is Good For You."

In the body of the email, in addition to the newspaper clip you see on the left, was the following text...

"I found a good reason for you to continue living in Fort Worth via today's SV Herald.  Unless you enjoy milk, bread products and salmon."

I am feeling very conflicted. Should I move north? Should I stay south?

Even in Fort Worth, in addition to copious sunshine, I enjoy bread products and milk. Salmon, not so much, due to a scarcity of fresh out of the water salmon.

I don't think a salmon could long survive in the polluted Trinity River.

While up in my old home zone every year Spencer Jack's uncle Joey, he being my favorite nephew Joey, catches, in the Skagit River and other Pacific Northwest locations, more salmon than he knows what to do with.

I have long wondered why it is that the longer I live in the Deep South the more healthy I feel compared to when I lived in the Far North.

And now I know the reason.

Plenty of sun....

A Walk With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts Thinking About The Murder Of Mangas Colorado

This morning I was reading the chapter of Chronicles of the Indian Wars where Mangas Colorado gets murdered by a misguided army miscreant.

Mangas Colorado was an Apache. Even though he was not an Indian local to my current location, reading about the trials and tribulations of Mangas Colorado, and his murder, made me feel like driving to Village Creek Natural Historical Area for a visit with the Indian Ghosts who haunt this location.

That and I needed to go to ALDI to get butter and other good stuff.

That is not litter clogged up behind the Village Creek Dam Bridge you are looking at above. Those are leaves, a huge raft of leaves, not unlike the Great Red River Raft of long ago. Fallen leaves also made a pleasant crunching sound as I walked along the paved trail.

Back to Mangas Colorado.

If you are not familiar with the story of this famous Native American, below is the blurb from the Wikipedia Mangas Colorado article which pertains to his murder...

In the summer of 1862, after recovering from a bullet wound in the chest, Mangas Coloradas met with an intermediary to call for peace. In January 1863, he decided to meet with U.S. military leaders at Fort McLane, in southwestern New Mexico. Mangas arrived under a flag of truce to meet with Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West, an officer of the California militia and a future Reconstruction senator from Louisiana. Armed soldiers took Mangas into custody. West gave an execution order to the sentries.

"Men, that old murderer has got away from every soldier command and has left a trail of blood for 500 miles on the old stage line. I want him dead tomorrow morning. Do you understand? I want him dead.”

That night Mangas was tortured, shot and killed "trying to escape." While tied on the ground, Mangas was provoked with red hot bayonets until he moved to simulate his attempt to escape.

The following day, U.S. soldiers cut off his head, boiled it and sent the skull to Orson Squire Fowler, a phrenologist in New York City. Phrenological analysis of the skull and two sketchs of it appear in Fowler's book. Daklugie, one of informants in Eve Ball's book, said the skull went to the Smithsonian Institution.

So, U.S. soldiers beheaded Mangas Colorado, post-mortem. Sort of an ISIS army on the 1800s.

History ain't pretty sometimes.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Frozen Door Sends Me On A Wild Miss Puerto Rico Jeep Ride With Hondurans

Despite my best efforts the ongoing frigidity in the outer world is currently thwarting me from getting any exercise besides a walk and a hot tub soak.

Today's low of 26 degrees re-froze the sliding door access to my bike, despite the fact that I lubricated everything about that door that moved when I got it open two days ago.

By the time noon rolled around the temperature had risen to 50, so I thought this was likely warm enough that I could have myself a mighty fine time rolling my wheels around the neighborhood.

When I realized the sliding door was once again stuck I could have extracted the bike from another exit point, but I did not feel like going to the bother, and so opted to go on a walk.

Eventually, as I walked past the Mailbox Etc. store in the Albertstons strip mall I found myself being hollered at by Miss Puerto Rico. This soon had me abandoning walking and instead going on a wild jeep joyride with Miss Puerto Rico behind the wheel.

That soon led to a Jack in the Box drive-through where much mayhem ensued, mostly involving Spanish chatter between Miss Puerto Rico and the Honduran who was taking her money and giving her her Jack food. Miss Puerto Rico is a Jack regular, with the Honduran familiar enough with Miss Puerto that she felt comfortable asking who this guy was that she had with her.

Due to not being bilingual I don't know what Miss PR's explanation regarding me was, but it had both of them laughing.

As we left Jack in the Box I said that sure was a friendly Jack in the Boxer. That is when I was told the Jack in the Boxer was a Honduran. Miss PR then told me that Hondurans are real friendly and always happy and don't lose their tempers all the time, unlike Mexicans, Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

I have had Miss PR make these Spanish speaking world differentiations before. I find it interesting. I guess it is sort of like how a UK person might say Americans are loud and aggressive, while Canadians are quiet and passive.

I've got a big backlog of blogging fodder that my current low energy ebb has me avoiding. My favorite among this potential blogging fodder has to do with 50 Shades of Gray and Fort Worth. The Gray Fort Worth idea amused me. We'll see if amusement is the result. If not, I don't hit the publish button...

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Snow Missed Flaking On Me In The Hot Tub At My Location In The Dallas Fort Worth Zone

As you can see, this morning's hot tubbing was a steamy affair.

With the hot tub heated to somewhere between 80 and 90 degrees and the air chilled to 27 degrees the temperature differential made for a very pleasant soak under the shine of a thin sliver of a moon.

Last night snow was falling all over the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Except at my location.

I looked out my windows several times throughout the night and saw nothing falling.

Prior to bedtime I'd already read a snow report from the Fort Worth Connie D, reporting a virtual blizzard of flakes at her location a few miles west of me, slightly west of downtown Fort Worth.

This morning the only thing white that I saw was the thick coat of frost covering every roof within my purview.

Currently only a slight breeze is blowing, thus a minimalist wind chill factor. I think, if dead calm continues to prevail, I may again attempt a bike ride. Unless my sliding door access to my bike is back frozen again. After the freeze lifted, once again freeing that door, I lubricated everything associated with that door that moved.

If the sliding door is frozen shut again, and if I am feeling real determined to roll my wheels, I suspect I may go through the extra bother of extracting the bike from the back door, assuming it is not also frozen shut.

Those whose job it is to keep us worried about the weather are hinting at some apocalyptic icy weather event happening after Thanksgiving, heading into December.

I miss those good ol' days of Global Warming....

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rolling My Wheels To Walmart In Search Of A Fort Worth Sidewalk

Last night after the sun set for the day I was giving my aching self a salubrious hot tub soak, when pinpricks of recently frozen water began pummeling me. It felt good.

As I was being pummeled by the incoming former ice I remembered I'd forgotten to get salsa when I was at ALDI earlier that day. Salsa is a much needed ingredient for the baked enchiladas I was making for today's Sunday buffet.

In the middle of the night I was laying awake and had myself a brilliant idea. In the morning I would roll the wheels of my bike the less than 3 miles to Walmart to get that much needed salsa, figuring Sunday morning, with cold temperatures, there would be few people out and about.

Of course this wheeling rolling to Walmart plan was predicated on the predicted precipitation in the form of sleet and snow not precipitating, which had me a bit disappointed to see, upon the first light of dawn, that the outer world was dripping wet.

When I took this morning's salubrious hot tub soak I was once again pummeled by extremely cold formerly frozen water.

In the middle of the night I decided when I rolled my wheels to Walmart in the morning part of my plan was to document the pathetic lack of sidewalks along this route, with that lack making riding ones bike a bit more hazardous than it need be. I also wanted to document the lack of sidewalks leading to the John T. White Elementary School, which opened just a couple years ago, on John T. White Road.

I have long wondered who in the world John T. White was that he is so honored with a school and a sidewalk free road named after him.

Well, due to the extreme drippage I decided to opt out of riding my bike to Walmart. Instead I used the old-fashioned method of using my mechanized means of locomotion. On route I snapped pictures through the windshield of the missing sidewalks along John T. White Road.

In the above picture you are looking at the dirt path ending, turning into the narrow paved sidewalks which runs in front of John T. Elementary School. That would be the school you see on the right in the picture.

Apartments Short Distance West of John  T. White
 with NO sidewalks
To the west of John T. Elementary School, on John T. White Road there are multiple apartment complexes. You see the kids in those complexes walking along the dirt path with leads to their school.

You reading this in other parts of America, did you realize there are still towns in America without sidewalks, where kids wear in dirt paths to make their way to school?

Do no kids ride their bikes to school at this location? When I was in elementary school I rode my bike to school . The school was about a mile ride, all on sidewalk, unless I chose to pedal on the road. Lots of kids rode their bikes to school when I was a kid. The school had a big bike rack to park our bikes on.

How is it allowed in civilized, modern America to build a school without sidewalks built to walk on so as to walk safely to school? Are there no codes or standards or regulations or something that covers this type neglect?

What about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Does that kick in in this type circumstance for a kid in a wheelchair needing to wheel himself to school at John T. Elementary School?

Methinks Fort Worth really should collectively feel ashamed of itself for this obvious neglect. How can this town waste so much money on things not needed, such as Three Bridges Over Nothing, which likely will be over nothing for a long, long time, when the relative pittance required to build a necessary amenity, like sidewalks, is deemed something not worthy of doing?

Isn't that Americans with Disabilities Act as federal law? How do you get the feds to intervene when a city is negligent regarding the basics? Such as sidewalks to schools and running water and modern restrooms in its parks?

It is very perplexing to me....

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Deep Frying Your Thanksgiving Turkey Can Have Explosive Results

No, that is not me in the picture holding my latest culinary triumph, a severely burned turkey.

What you are looking at is a picture from the blog of some New York personal injury attorneys, specifically the post from their blog which deals with the dangers associated  with Thanksgiving and the frying of turkeys using propane fueled deep fryers.

More on what the New York personal injury attorneys have to say about the risks associated with deep frying your Thanksgiving (or Christmas) turkey later in this blogging.

I only learned of the practice of deep frying a turkey shortly before moving to Texas. I had been email corresponding with a Fort Worth inhabitant with the charming Southern sounding name of Julene. At one point Julene mentioned having ordered her Thanksgiving deep fried turkey from Dickeys.

Huh? How does one order a turkey from a blue jeans maker, let alone get it fried, I wondered?

Upon arrival in Texas it was not long until I saw Deep Fried Turkey Frying Kits for sale at Krogers and other places. Along with huge jugs of peanut oil. I knew the South liked to fry stuff, but this was beyond how bad I imagined it could be.

Then, by the time my first Texas Thanksgiving rolled around the head mistress at the domicile I was staying in at that time had bought a Deep Fried Turkey Fryer. And a giant jug of peanut oil.

I thought the idea of deep frying a turkey was disgusting, that it'd be greasy and could not understand how it could be safe heating a bit pot of boiling oil and then sticking a big bird in it.

I wanted nothing to do with it, so I absented myself from the process and went roller blading. By the time I returned the turkey was done, what with it only taking about a half an hour to deep fry a big turkey.

I saw the finished product and instantly thought it looked real good, all golden brown. And then I took one bite.

Tastiest turkey ever.

And totally non greasy.

That was to be the first of many deep fried turkeys during my time at that domicile.

At one point, for a 4th of July pool party it was decided to deep fry 10 chickens. That did not go so well. The chickens did not turn out golden brown, like the turkey, and the meat was rendered sort of chewy. I liked it, but the majority did not.

It has now been well over a decade since I have had Deep Fried Turkey. Ironically, a Dickey's has now opened in my neighborhood. I forget when it was I learned that Dickey's also barbecued in addition to making blue jeans. Last week my mailbox contained an ad from Dickey's with a Deep Fried Turkey offer.

Now, if I've convinced you that you want to rush out and get yourself a Deep Fried Turkey Fryer, here is what those New York Personal Injury Attorneys had to say about this method of making your Thanksgiving turkey...

Severe burns and other personal injuries as well as destruction of property may result from improper use of gas-fueled turkey fryers that cook the bird in hot oil. These cooking appliances are very popular for Thanksgiving but they are not safe! The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) discourages their use. The risk of oil spilling is significant and the resulting injuries can be severe.

If you still decide to use a Turkey Fryer you should be aware of some of the dangers you are facing:
  • During the cooking hot oil can splash on your hands or face resulting in burn injuries
  • The deep fryer stand can tip or collapse when the turkey is put in or taken out resulting in a major hot oil spill
  • The temperature of the cooking oil is so high that even its vapors can ignite creating an additional risk of fire
  • Deep fryers can not be used inside. Many fires have ignited when fryers were moved indoors or into a garage to keep the appliance out of the rain
  • Bad weather such as snow and rain is an additional danger to deep frying. If the rain or the snow hits the oil it may splatter or turn to steam and result in burns. The same can happen if the turkey is put in the oil when not fully thawed
  • Deep fryers use around five gallons of oil and if the turkey is dropped too quickly in it, the oil will splash and burn people close to the appliance.
I think I err on the side of caution and let Dickey's do the turkey frying....

Is It Colder In Texas Than Alaska This Week?

I learned this morning on Facebook, via Miss Julie, the Reigning Queen of Assumption, that apparently currently we are colder in Texas than those shivering in Alaska this week.

Somehow I find that a bit hard to believe.

Currently my outer world in Texas is being heated to ten degrees above freezing.

This morning when I woke up my temperature monitoring devices I had a confusing conflict. My phone told me it  was 40 degrees at my location. My online local news source also indicated it was 40 degrees.

However, my computer based temperature monitoring device was telling me it was 32 degrees, as in freezing. I clicked on that freezing information to see I'd set the temperature monitoring device to monitor the temperature in my old home zone of Mount Vernon. I switched the location to Fort Worth to find the temperature now matching my other temperature monitoring devices.

So, I find it hard to believe that Mount Vernon, located where it is, in the heart of what is known as the Western Washington Banana Belt, barely freezing, is colder than the far north, as in, in Alaska, where I suspect, in much of the state, the temperature is well below freezing.

On a temperature related note, I had myself a mighty fine time in the hot tub this morning, watching clouds flying by from the south. Great big masses of clouds in odd formations moving so fast the sky would temporarily clear and then cloud up again. It was hypnotic.

I am going to try and ride my bike again. I am assuming the door that gives me access to my bike is no longer frozen shut....

Friday, November 14, 2014

With My Bike Frozen Stuck Today I Took A Frigid Walking Tour Of My Neighborhood With Guacamole

You are looking at what freezing looks like at my location on the planet, looking past the spiked spears which make up the security fence which keeps me secure from Halloween trick or treaters and other intruders.

Due to the fact that this second Friday of November is the first day in days without a strong wind constantly blowing I decided today would be a mighty fine time to layer on my collection of winter outerwear so as to roll my wheels on a cold tour of my neighborhood in relatively chill-free comfort.

After going to all that bother of putting on more clothes than I've put on in a long long time I got to the vehicle in which my bike is stored, unlocked the sliding door to find I could not open the door. Even though the only precipitation since this Polar Bomb exploded was a little sleet in the middle of the night a couple nights ago, somehow this Deep Freeze has managed to freeze the sliding door stuck.

The other doors opened just fine. But I can not get the bike out the other doors.

So, with no wheels available for manual rolling I opted to take a well insulated walk around the neighborhood, eventually ending up in Albertsons where a pushy woman insisted I try her free sample of guacamole and one chip. I had fingerless gloves on which made the chip dipping difficult. That and the chip broke up into pieces. I had one bite of the guacamole before the chip disintegrated on me. It was good guacamole. The chip, no so much.

I don't recollect if I have mentioned that I have been enjoying getting HOT in the restored hot tub during this unfortunate icy freak weather event. The hot tub gets all steamy, seems to have a salubrious effect on my sinuses, maybe from some sort of steambath effect. The hot tub is being heated to only 85 degrees, so I don't get overheated followed by a need for a quick dip in the way too cool pool.

I have been enjoying the hot tubbing in frigid temperatures so much I have been having myself an evening soak the last couple nights, after the sun leaves for the day. It is very relaxing.