Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Tale Of Two Town's Multi-Purpose Arenas

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook. A post from KING 5 News, in Seattle, about a new Seattle arena getting closer to being a done deal.

I saw this and thought I was looking at something coming to me via a west coast online news source which would likely not be something I would read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about something similar happening in Fort Worth.

Which, actually, is sort of not exactly true.

The Star-Telegram has had an article, or two, about a new multi-purpose arena in Fort Worth. An arena whose construction was approved by voters in an election held over a year ago, in which voters passed three propositions, with the three propositions proposing goofy things, like one proposition allowed the charging of a $1 fee to rent an arena livestock stall.

So far I don't believe any dirt has been moved to begin building Fort Worth's new arena.

I read the KING 5 News article about the new Seattle arena. That article made no mention of what the new arena is projected to cost, or how many attendees would be able to be in the new arena.

So, I Googled "Chris Hansen Seattle Arena". Chris Hansen grew up in Seattle before ending up managing hedge funds in San Francisco. An activity which apparently made Chris Hansen a lot of money and want to spend some of that money on a new Seattle Arena. Googling came up with multiple websites with info about the new Seattle arena.

Including a detailed Wikipedia article titled Sonics Arena. The Wikipedia article had a link to a Sonics Arena website, a screen cap of which you see below.

No amount of Googling will cause you to find a Wikipedia article about Fort Worth's proposed multi-purpose arena, or a Fort Worth multi-purpose arena website.

Because such articles do not exist.

I wonder why?

From what I can glean, the Seattle Arena is a bit more evolved than the Fort Worth Arena, including having a big parking garage, a plaza and mixed use office buildings.

Seattle voters have not been asked to vote on anything goofy under the pretense that approving a goofy proposition gives the go ahead to build.

From the Sonics Arena website....

The Arena will be developed and primarily financed with private funds. The public participation is designed to be self-financing and requires no new taxes or fees. The public financial participation will be repaid solely with Arena generated revenues that would not otherwise exist. The MOU includes multiple layers of protection built into the financing that protect the general funds and bond ratings of the city and county from being affected. 

Fort Worth's new multi-purpose arena is estimated to cost $450 million. Seattle's is estimated to cost $490 million.

Fort Worth's multi-purpose arena will seat about 14,000 for concerts. Seattle's will seat 19,000. I do not know if basketball and hockey are able to be played in Fort Worth's multi-purpose arena.

There has been criticism directed at those behind Fort Worth's multi-purpose arena that the price is out of whack for the small number of visitors it can seat.

And one can assume the Fort Worth arena will not see as much action as an arena hosting an NBA and NHL team, meaning the Fort Worth arena will sit idle a lot of the time.

And if a big concert type act comes to the D/FW zone, given a choice are they going to opt to choose an arena that can hold only 14,000 ticket buyers? Or a venue like the Dallas Cowboy stadium? Or that place in Dallas where the Mavericks play basketball?

Read the Wikipedia article about the Seattle Arena  history and make note of all the finagling which goes on to make something happen, like a new arena, in Seattle.

Contrast that with a town that has people voting yes or no on whether to charge $1 to rent a livestock stall, and then not much of anything happening over a year after the vote....

Monday, November 30, 2015

In Texas Looking At Snow Geese Flying From An Island To A Snow Covered Volcano

Yesterday I blogged about a Rainy Walmart Drive With Mom To A Mallard Cove Mystery.in which I made mention of the fact that the cold gray rain currently infesting Texas reminded me way too much of a stereotypical Western Washington winter day after day after day after day of rain.

I also made mention of the fact that when winter Western Washington rain finally dried up with a return to blue sky that in any direction one looked one would see snow-capped mountains, unlike  my current mountain-free zone.

In that aforementioned blogging I also made mention of Fir Island in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley.

And then this morning, in one of those serendipitous coincidence type things, what do I see in one of my west coast online  news sources?

That which you see above, with a caption of....

Been out to catch the snow geese yet? They are really getting thick out there! This was shot on Fir Island Road with Mount Baker for backdrop. photo credit: Eddie Murdock Photography

Now, that sure is something I would never see at my current location. A real island. A real mountain, which is a volcano. Glaciers. And snow geese....

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rainy Walmart Drive With Mom To A Mallard Cove Mystery

When I was a young lad I recollect on days like this my mom would sing a song part of which went something like "rain rain go away, come again another day..."

Since Thanksgiving Texas has been reminding me of what a Washington winter can be like. Day after day after day after day after day of rain.

And cold.

But there is one HUGE difference. When the rain in Washington finally stops and the sky is once again blue you look in just about any direction and you see these things called mountains, snow-capped, this time of year. If the sky ever turns blue again, at my current location, no matter which direction I look I will not be seeing any snow-capped mountains.

I tried going jogging this morning. That did not go well after a downpour started getting me extra wet. About an hour before noon I texted my mom and dad to ask "Are you kids home and by the phone?" My dad texted back with a "Yes".

So, I called and asked mom if she wanted to ride to Walmart with me in the rain. Mom was onboard for the Walmart trip.

I got gas a couple days ago but it was not convenient to call my mom, like I usually do, when I get gas, to tell mom how much it cost. That and usually also mentioning the temperature.

After I finished my walk around Walmart I returned to Mallard Cove Park for the third day in a row. I figured the flood would be flooding much higher, what with a lot of rain continuing to fall.

Instead, when Mallard Cove came in to view I was surprised to see the water had receded quite a distance. Today's photo through the rain spattered windshield sort of shows you the Mallard Cove reduction, compared to the photos from Friday and Saturday.

Why has the river level gone down whilst rain still falls in copious amounts?

If this were in the aforementioned Washington, in my old home zone of the Skagit Valley, when the flooding Skagit River suddenly drops it means only one thing. A dike downstream has broken.

I remember a flood event back in the early 1990s. The storm that sank one of the Lake Washington floating bridges. Downtown Mount Vernon was in major emergency mode. An army of locals poured into downtown to help sandbag, along with a couple hundred servicemen from the Whidbey Island Naval Station. Or was it the National Guard?

I remember I was at home, about midnight, watching the flood news on TV, when the coverage went live to Mount Vernon, where the KING 5 news guy was making it sound like hundreds of people were making their way to downtown to save the library.

It was about a three mile drive from my abode to downtown Mount Vernon. About 15 minutes after hearing the library was in danger I was parking on a hill above downtown and making my way to the library.

Where I learned the library was not in actual immediate danger, but was ground zero for sand bag filling operations, I was told they had plenty of sandbaggers, but able bodied sorts were needed on the revetment (think dike with a parking lot on top) to help build a sand bag wall.

Soon I  found myself in a bucket  brigade type operation. This went on for a couple hours til about a 5 foot wall extended the length of downtown.

The river was predicted to crest around noon, if I remember right. It was expected to topple over the sandbag wall, by a slight amount, hopefully not enough to flood downtown Mount Vernon, which is sort of like New Orleans, as in below the river level when it is in flood mode.

So, before the expected crest I made my way to downtown Mount Vernon again, along with a lot of other people. We were kept a distance away, safe from a catastrophic flood wall failure. We watched as the river rose higher and higher, reaching to the top of the sandbag wall, then starting to go over the wall in spots.

Then, suddenly the water level dropped by a foot, or more.

What happened? No one knew. Soon emergency sirens were wailing. Helicopters were in the air.

I do not remember how long it was before it was known that the dike had broken downriver a couple miles, about a 200 foot breech in the dike that protected Fir Island from a flooding Skagit River.

When the Skagit River reaches Fir Island it splits into two forks, the north and the south forks of the Skagit River. The west side of Fir Island is a body of water known as Skagit Bay, which is part of another body of water known as Puget Sound.

Those reading this who live in the environs of Fort Worth, Fir Island is a real island, surrounded on all sides by moving water. There are two bridges that cross the Skagit River on to Fir Island. Both built in well under four years, and both built over a wide deep river, not dry land.

Those reading this who do not live in the environs of Fort Worth, who are wondering why I am explaining Fir Island's island status and bridges, well, here in Fort Worth we have this pseudo public works project which has been boondoggling along for almost all of this century, with very little to show for the effort.

This project has gone by many names. Currently it is the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision.

Known by many as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Over a year ago The Boondoggle had a big celebration to celebrate the supposed start of construction on its three simple little bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

A month or so ago The Boondoggle launched a publicity propaganda burst to proudly share the news that wooden forms were able to be seen being constructed at the location where the only one of the three bridges is currently sort of under construction.

I think I got off subject.

So, the breech in the Fir Island dike caused the Skagit River to flood Fir Island, doing a lot of damage.

When the river receded the dike was quickly repaired. Then, two weeks later, another storm caused another flood. The sandbag wall was still in place. Once again the river rose to a level which was going to top the sandbag wall and once again the Fir Island dike broke. This time not as catastrophically, because the damage  had already been done two weeks previous.

So, what caused the water level in Mallard Cove to drop since yesterday? I drove no further east, on Randol Mill Road, than Mallard Cove. That road is a bit of a pot holed bump fest to drive on any old time. With the flooding driving that road becomes a bit treacherous, what with flooding creeks rushing water over the road and deep puddles.

The sky is actually looking brighter right now than it has in days. Is the gray coming to an end? Will blue sky return tomorrow with clear views of the gorgeous surrounding landscape....

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Look At Texas Flooding & Town Talk

Swimming and hiking were not doable on this last Saturday of the next to last month of 2015, due to rain and air chilled to only a few degrees above freezing.

I did go jogging in the rain this morning, though. I did not get too cold.

Before noon I headed west, towards Town Talk, via Randol Mill Road, not knowing if the road was open or closed due to flooding.

As I drove by Quanah Parker Park I saw the park was flooded more than I'd ever seen previously. Then I got to the bridge crossing the Trinity. I decided to park and walk out onto the bridge to see how the new  bridge construction was faring with the flooding.

As you can see the Trinity River is moving a lot of water. I don't recollect seeing it this high before. The river appears to have wreaked some havoc with the new bridge construction. Unlike America's Biggest Boondoggle, this Trinity River bridge project did not have the option of being built  over dry land, with the water to be installed at some distant point of time way in the future.

Were no warnings given that gave the road and bridge builders time to evacuate their heavy equipment? Did the river rapidly rise due to the reservoirs being full from last spring's flood? Mary Kelleher has a farm on Randol Mill Road that also got flooded with Mary not warned a flood was on its way. Mary was alerted to the flood in the middle of Thanksgiving night when she heard her water trapped cows crying.

After checking out the flooded bridge construction I was back in my vehicle, heading west towards Town Talk, dodging some deep water covering the road in several  locations.

Town Talk was not busy and was a bit of a bust, again, in the treasure finding department.

After Town Talk I headed back east, again via Randol Mill Road, continuing to Mallard Cove Park to see how much higher the water has risen since yesterday.

Well, this flood has flooded higher than last spring's flood, at this location. When the previous flood subsided I figured a mess would be left in its wake in Mallard Cove Park. Instead, the water quickly receded with nary a sign of it having been there.

I saw a lot of flood looky-loos, both at Mallard Cove Park and in the Gateway Park/Trinity River Bridge zone. I forgot to mention, the north entry into Gateway Park is currently not doable, due to too much water.

The above was one of the Mallard Cove Park looky-loos. I do not know what this person is doing in the picture. Framing something with his hands? As he was doing this he was also talking to himself. I kept my distance.

I have not witnessed any precipitation precipitating for several hours. Is the worst of this over now? I thought I read the remnants of a Pacific hurricane was scheduled to arrive in Texas after visiting Mexico.

Will this flood be the final nail in the former Cowtown Wakepark's coffin? How has that other project of The Boondoggle, that being those V-pier forms under construction that The Boondoggle seemed so proud about, fared during this latest deluge?

I suppose The Boondoggle's one little bridge being built over dry land likely has not been too impacted by too much water....

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday In Walmart Wondering About Humanity Sanity Before Seeing A Flooding Trinity River

Donald Trump being the Republican front runner has a lot of people concerned about the sanity of a large number of my fellow Americans.

Well, I was finding myself concerned about the sanity of a large number of my fellow Americans when I had myself a Walmart visit on this Black Friday.

As I drove on to the Sam's Club/Walmart parking lot I saw the largest woman I have ever seen. She was loading stuff into her trunk. She was as wide as her trunk. How was she able to drive I found myself wondering. But, I did not linger long enough to satisfy my curiosity.

The two ladies you see using motorized transplant inside Walmart were dainty in comparison to the large woman I just got done telling you about.

In Walmart today I saw an inordinate number of people ill-fitted into clothes, sporting too much weight for the clothes they were stuffing themselves in to, along with sporting tattoos, piercings and one with his ear lobes enlarged into big circles.

The guy with the expanded ear lobes looked quite slovenly.

It always perplexes me when I see such things, wondering why would getting tattoos and piercings and ear lobe expansions be something one thought improved or enhanced their appearance, when there are other things one would think would come first. Like losing weight, getting a haircut, wearing clothes that fit, that type thing.

I did not realize so much rain had dropped during the current storm til I  learned, on Facebook, via Mary Kelleher, that the Trinity has once again flooded her ranch, with some of her cow babies needing a middle of the night rescue from the unexpected flood.

After leaving Walmart, on the way back to relative safety, I drove Randol Mill Road and was surprised to see how high the flood waters  had risen.  Eventually I drove into Mallard Cove Park.

The water appears to have risen higher than last spring's flood, which was the first time I ever saw Mallard Cove Park flooded. I did not get out of my vehicle. Those are big raindrops hitting my windshield you see above looking like Village Creek ghosts.

More rain is on the menu for the next several days. Not good.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Happy Thanksgiving Pre Turkey Taco Tandy Hills Hike

Hope you all are having yourselves a mighty fine Thanksgiving.

The last 48 hours the temperature average has been just slightly below 70, so I was able to have a nice long swim this morning in the not too cool pool. I do not remember the pool being so easily doable this far into fall in previous years.

Makes me a fan, sort of, of Global Warming.

Turkey tacos are my take on the traditional Thanksgiving feeding today.

I'd not been on the Tandy Hills for well over a month. Not since something slashed a tire whilst parked on the summit of Mount Tandy.

As you can see via the view of the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth we are being a bit stormy at this location on the planet. Only a few drops dripped whilst I was doing the hill hiking. Now that I am back under cover rain has begun dripping in greater volume.

I saw some colorful tree leaves today, likely being more colorful since the freeze of a few days back.

Also coloring up the Tandy Hills today were hundreds of yellow flags.

I assume the hundreds of yellow flags are part of some complex science project. That or it is some madman's abstract art installation.

It is time to work on those turkey tacos now.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Texas Bullet Trains May Cut Off Texas Milk Supply

Today we have the reverse of our popular series of bloggings about something I read in a west coast online news source which I would not expect to see in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Today it is something in the Star-Telegram I would not expect to see in a west coast online news source, such as the Seattle Times.

What you see here was on the Star-Telegram's front page this morning.

For those reading this who are outside the Texas news orbit, there is a proposal afoot to make a high speed bullet train connection between Dallas and Houston.

Bullet trains exist in various advanced countries, such as France, Japan and China.

I suspect France, Japan and China have dairy cows, with some dairy farms close to train tracks.

Are Texas cows known to be easily frightened as opposed to more courageous cows in other countries?

There is some opposition to the bullet train in Texas plan. Are the opposition's arguments so weak that they are claiming a possibly dried up milk supply as a reason not to lay track through rural areas?

I would think there would be a lot better arguments against the Texas bullet train proposal.

Such as would there really be enough riders to make the train economically feasible?

The countries which already have bullet trains have elaborate train networks connecting to the bullet trains. Both Dallas and Houston have areas of their towns served by light rail. I suppose one might be able to exclusively use rail to get to your final destination.

I have only taken a long train ride once. Amtrak from Tacoma to Portland for a long weekend. The train was a rockier ride than the ferry crossing from Keystone to Port Townsend during a big tide change. Meaning it was almost impossible to walk on the train. And using the restroom facility became a treacherous balancing act.

By the time I got to Portland I was what amounted to being seasick for the first and only time ever. This was made worse when the lady who picked us up at the train station turned out to be a driving maniac. I remained seasick and head achy the entire weekend.

Since that train ride from hell, back in the last century, the track  has been upgraded and a new faster train has replaced the thing which sea-sicked me. I have been told the ride is now smooth.

There is a California high speed train proposal to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco. I think that may be further along than the Texas train. I wonder if the California's know about the possible danger to their milk supply?

Anyway, I think the Texas milk supply is safe. I doubt we really are going to be seeing bullet trains speeding at this location on the planet any time soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

According To Experts Evil Wins When Good People Do Nothing

Yesterday I blogged about the fact that Before Facebook I Had No Idea How Scarily Stupid The Racists Are.

Some of the reaction to that blogging got me thinking that while bigoted racists are a vile disgusting sub-set of humanity, those who collaborate with bigoted racists may be even worse.

I think that to be a bigot and a racist you have to be at the low end of the IQ scale.

I have known no intelligent, educated people who were blatantly bigoted and racist.

I have known some intelligent, educated people who collaborate with racist bigots, rationalizing doing so in ways which make no sense to me.

Thinking about this had me thinking of that quote one hears fairly frequently about evil people. To get the quote right I started to enter into the Google search window "For Evil to...."  and then Google filled in the rest.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

That's the quote I was looking for. What I did not know before looking for this quote was its origin and its many variations.

It is the Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke who, in 1770, is credited with first expressing this truism, writing, "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

Edmund Burke's original is more poetic in the way the idea is expressed, than its later permutations.

Almost a century later, in 1867, British political theorist John Stuart Mill gave a speech in which part of what he said was, "Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."

And then, again almost a century later, in 1961, an American president named John F. Kennedy, in a speech to the Canadian Parliament, credited Edmund Burke for the quotation, but used the modern version, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

As for Albert Einstein, and the version of the Burke quote that particular genius is quoted as uttering above, that is not a version which Einstein is thought to have said. What Einstein is believed to have actually said, in a tribute to Pablo Casals, was, "The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it."

So, what lesson do we glean from this history lesson?


Monday, November 23, 2015

Before Facebook I Had No Idea How Scarily Stupid The Racists Are

A week or so ago I blogged about being No More Mr. Nice Guy Regarding Pseudo Conservative Reactionary Racist Republican Right Wing Nuts.

A few days after that particular blogging I read that a right wing nut job in Las Vegas had been indicted for death threats directed at President Obama.

Does the FBI and the Secret Service monitor Facebook for presidential death threat types? If not, they should.

I have seen death threats directed at the president being spewed on Facebook from one of my Facebook "Friends" who I do not know and have never met and with whom I would never actually be friends.

The guy making death threat type comments is clearly an idiot. He may be insane. He clearly has some sort of mental impairment. But none of that excuses his spewing  hateful racist nonsense.

Idiots are not able to understand that the First Amendment, you know, the one guaranteeing Free Speech, does not mean you can say any fool thing your sick mind tells you to say. The cliche example of that is you are not free to scream "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

And, you are not free to suggest that some "patriot" save America by taking out the President. Suggesting such a thing is what is known as a crime, with a possible life sentence.

If you read the "No More Mr. Nice Guy" blogging you already know that the idiot who has been appalling me with his racist, bigoted, ignorant, hateful, idiotic nonsense calls himself David Patriot Lambertsen. Clearly this idiot is no patriot. What he is is what is known as a traitor.

Over and over again this idiot traitor refers to our current President as being a traitor, as you can see via the below screen cap.

I found that second comment, above, by the Lambertsen Traitor, to be very amusing. Is he confessing that he is clearly out of his mind? Because he clearly is. But can he possibly have the self awareness to realize he is what is known as an asshole, and to describe himself as such?

How is it someone living inside the borders of America can be as cut off from reality as this David the False Patriot idiot? Did his education end at grade school? What explains this level of stupidity? Does this idiot have no contact with normal people? Is that the explanation?

It's just perplexing. And equally perplexing is though this David Traitor Lambertsen person might be an extreme example of a right wing nutjob, people of a similar simple minded mindset are scarily large in number. And on Facebook they cluster like a little cult of crazies that you only get to witness if you accidentally accept a Friend Request from one of them. Then it becomes hard not to look at the train wreck madness, like a window into ignorant insanity.

How do so many people come to believe so much idiotic, stupid, ignorant nonsense?

Though Rush Limbaugh's audience is dwindling, he still has millions of listeners. Rush Limbaugh is very articulate. But he articulates nonsense, which then morphs into even more ridiculous nonsense when his poorly educated illiterate listeners try to repeat the nonsense.

Rush Limbaugh's education ended at high school. Rush Limbaugh already knew it all when he tried to go to college where, according to his mother, he enrolled in Southeast Missouri State University where he flunked everything and left the school after two semesters and one summer.

Rush Limbaugh is the Idiot Savant behind much of the hatespeak which spews from the right wing nutjob collection of idiots.

I explained in my previous blogging about this disgusting subject that this Lambertsen moron ended up on my Facebook Friends list because he sent me one of those Facebook Friend Requests. That request told me we had 13 "Mutual Friends". One or two of whom I actually know, and am fairly certain they are not racist bigots.

While it is a bit disheartening to find that there are so many Americans willing to spew hateful nonsense with zero apparent awareness they are doing such, it is also a bit heartening to see multiple Facebook threads where people express their shock and disdain for the ugly spewage of the racist haters. From what I see via my little Facebook window on the world, the sane, normal, sensible, non-racist, non-reactionary, non-bigot real Americans are in the majority.

By a large number.

Just this morning I read through the comments in a post about the latest Nazi-like idiocy from Donald Trump. A sub-set of that comment thread morphed into a lot of very wise comments about the absurdity of Rush Limbaugh and the ignorant hate speak he spews.

Well, I think I will hit the publish button on this blogging and then go to Facebook and delete a racist, bigoted non-friend, or two.

Maybe three......

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Celebrating Retirement With Spencer Jack On A Beach In Maui

This was in my email inbox this morning, sent by Spencer Jack's dad, with the text accompanying the photo saying...

Thought you'd enjoy this picture of Spencer Jack celebrating his Grandma Cindy's retirement dinner on Kaanapali Beach tonight.   Absent in the pic is myself and FNJoey.

I see no beach in this photo.

The only Kaanapali Beach I know of is located on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

Didn't Spencer Jack skip school a couple weeks ago to go to Disneyland? Maybe Spencer's school is closed for Thanksgiving, so he isn't skipping school.