Friday, January 30, 2015

Spencer Jack Bakes A Cake And Sings Happy Birthday To His Great-Grandma

Today is Spencer Jack's great-grandma's (and my mom's) birthday.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Spencer Jack baked his great-grandma a chocolate birthday cake, then Spencer Jack's dad shot video of Spencer singing Happy Birthday to his great-grandma.

Then the photo of Spencer Jack and the cake he baked, and the video, were emailed from Mount Vernon to Spencer Jack's and his dad's favorite uncle in Texas.

The video was then made in to a YouTube video, added below, so Spencer Jack's great-grandma, in Arizona, can listen to Spencer singing her Happy Birthday.

I tell you, the miracles of modern electronic communication....

Construction Of The Eiffel Tower Took About Half As Long As Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Is Taking To Build Three Simple Bridges

Continuing on with our popular series of bloggings about impressive feats of engineering which took less time to build than projected for Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle to build three simple small bridges over nothing, today we look at the Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World's Fair in Paris, France, that being a World's Fair celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the French Revolution.

The Eiffel Tower took two years, two months and five days to build, starting construction January 28, 1887, completing construction March 15, 1889.

The Eiffel Tower was designed by renowned French engineer and bridge builder Gustave Eiffel.

Gustave Eiffel did not get this job due to being the son of a corrupt Paris congresswoman.

The Eiffel Tower is a signature structure, recognized all over the world as an iconic symbol of Paris and France.

The Fort Worth Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Dunce Confederacy seems to have dropped referring to their three simple bridges as being signature bridges which would become iconic symbols of Fort Worth.

Apparently the chronically tone deaf Dunce Confederacy has heard some of the giggling caused by their hyperbolic propaganda about three bridges being built in four years over dry land, and so have dropped trying to sell these little bridges as being anything special, or signature, or iconic.

So far the Dunce Confederacy has not fessed up to the real reason their three simple bridges will take an astonishing four years to build, or why they are being built over dry land.

But, it is no secret that the slow motion construction schedule is due to The Boondoggle not being funded in the way public works projects are usually funded, which is also why the ditch under the three bridges is not currently being dug.

I wonder what Gustave Eiffel would say about a Dunce Confederacy claiming their bridges were being built over dry land so as to save money, with the water added later?

I suspect whatever the French phrase is for "engineering incompetence" or some version of that sentiment, is what Mr. Eiffel would have to say about Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle and its three bridges over dry land connecting to an imaginary island....

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saturday's Tandy Hills 2015 Brush Bash Postponed Til Saturday February 7

Incoming email from Don Young, marked "This message is High Priority".

The High Priority message is....

- - - Due to a very strong chance of rain this Saturday, Brush Bash and the Recycling Event have been rescheduled for Saturday, February 7.

Please join us and see the amazing changes taking place at Tandy Hills.

In the beginning....

....wildfire and wildlife maintained the Tandy Hills prairie keeping it free of woody growth. The grasses and wildflowers flourished without the hand of woman or man. But those glory days are over, so...

One day a year, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area with help from the City of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Dept. hosts a Brush Bash to clear sections of the prairie of invasive and unwanted trees, brush and trash.

The brush has been cut and will be ready for volunteers to drag to waiting trucks for delivery to a composting facility. Your help REALLY makes a difference! Manly Men and Wild Women welcome.

WHO: Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area
WHAT: 7th annual Brush Bash
WHEN: Saturday, February 7, 2015  9 A.M. - Noon
WHERE: Tandy Hills Natural Area, 3400 View Street, Fort Worth, TX 76103
BRING: gloves, sturdy shoes, hat, water, lunch, tarps, rakes, small wagons, tools and...unwanted electronics. (see below)
CONTACT - RSVP: Don Young <>

Coffee, tea & morning snacks provided.

Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Feral Cats & Other Nonsense

Yesterday Mr. A caused me to Google "Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Tunnel" which soon had me reading the Wikipedia article about that subject which had me thinking the article was quite the comprehensive telling of all the various issues involved in Seattle's stalled tunnel boring project.

That comprehensive covering of all the various tunnel boring issues had me wondering if Wikipedia had a similar article about Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle which had a similar high quality level of comprehensive covering of the various Boondoggle issues.


When I got to the second paragraph I realized I had already read the Wikipedia article and had blogged about it. I'll copy the first two paragraphs below and make bold the part that reminded me I'd already read this and blogged about it....

The Trinity River Vision Project is a master plan for 88 miles (142 km) of the Trinity River (Texas) and its major tributaries in Fort Worth, Texas. The river is a significant part of the history of Fort Worth, and the city's downtown was developed in 1849 as an army outpost along its banks.

More than a decade in the making, the master plan was conceived by volunteers and community leaders, and adopted by the city, county, state and federal officials.[citation needed] The goal of the master plan is to preserve and enhance the river and its corridors so they remain essential greenways for open space, trails, neighborhood focal points, feral cats and recreation areas.

Feral cats?

Make note of how clunky the first paragraph is in its second sentence. At the top of the article, Wikipedia makes note of the fact that the article has multiple issues.

It seems a bit obvious that this article was written quite some time ago, and was written by one of The Boondoggle's propaganda minions.

The article mentions essential greenways for feral cats but makes no mention of all that The Boondoggle has brought to Fort Worth.

Things like Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats.

Coyote Drive-In. The world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century.

Panther Island. That being an imaginary island.

A music venue called Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no pavilion, along with there being no island.

Constructing three simple bridges over nothing in a four year project timeline longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge and many other actually complicated engineering projects.

An ice skating rink called Panther Island Ice.

A beer brewery, called, I think, Panther Island Brewing.

And other stuff I'm likely not remembering right now, likely with that ridiculous Panther Island nomenclature attached to it.

The Wikipedia article about The Boondoggle also makes no mention of Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger's involvement in The Boondoggle via the employment of her unqualified son, J.D., as Executive Director of The Boondoggle.

The Wikipedia article makes no mention of how The Boondoggle is funded, or the fact that The Boondoggle's funding woes are why The Boondoggle is boondoggling along in slow motion, with things like three simple bridges being built over nothing taking so long to build.

And why the un-needed flood diversion ditch is not currently being dug so that water can flow under the three bridges currently being built over nothing.

Anyway, I hope the feral cats are not suffering too much waiting for the slow motion Boondoggle's "essential greenways" to show up....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Seattle's Stalled Bertha Tunnel Fiasco & Fort Worth's Stalled Trinity River Vision Boondoggle

I saw that which you see here on Seattle's KOMO TV website this morning. I read the article about Seattle's stalled tunnel project expecting to see it referred to as The Big Bertha Boondoggle.

Turns out it was only a couple Republican lawmakers wanting to stop Bertha, while Washington's governor, and others, still consider it to be a viable,  necessary project.

And not a boondoggle. Yet.

Washington state lawmakers and the governor weigh in on this project because the state is involved in the funding, due to the project involving a state highway.

Fort Worth, in Texas, also has a big public works project sort of underway, known by some as the Trinity River Vision, but referred to, by many, simply as The Boondoggle. The state is not much involved in funding Fort Worth's Boondoggle. The federal government is sort of involved in funding The Boondoggle, but Fort Worth's Congresswoman, Kay Granger, has not been very successful in securing federal earmark pork barrel money to help pay for the job which was given her son, J.D., to motivate his mama to get those federal dollars, in part to pay her son's yearly salary of well over $100,000, plus perks.

Awhile back someone asked me to explain what a boondoggle was. I was a bit boggled that knowing what a boondoggle is was not run of the mill common knowledge.

Wikipedia has a good Boondoggle article which explains both the concept and the origin of the term "boondoggle". In part what Wikipedia has to say about a boondoggle is....

A boondoggle is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy or political motivations.

The term "boondoggle" may also be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy expenditure, where at some point, the key operators, having realized that the project will never work, are still reluctant to bring this to the attention of their superiors. Generally there is an aspect of "going through the motions" – for example, continuing research and development – as long as funds are available to keep paying the researchers' and executives' salaries.

The situation can be allowed to continue for what seems like unreasonably long periods, as senior management are often reluctant to admit that they allowed a failed project to go on for so long. In many cases, the actual device itself may eventually work, but not well enough to ever recoup its development costs.

Seattle's Bertha Tunnel Project is funded in the normal way public works projects are funded. The Bertha Tunnel Project, in its entirety, is projected to cost $3.1 billion. For those billions Seattle gets a re-built waterfront, gets rid of an earthquake damaged elevated highway, and gets a tunnel through the downtown zone, if Bertha ever gets moving again.

Before Bertha stalled, if I remember right, the Bertha Tunnel project was projected to be completed in 2017.

Currently in Fort Worth, due to not being funded in the normal way public works projects are funded, The Boondoggle is boondoggling along in slow motion, currently with Three Bridges Over Nothing being built, with a four year project timeline, longer than the Seattle Viaduct Replacement-Waterfront Re-Build-Bertha Tunnel Project was projected to take before Bertha stalled.

It is a mystery to me why the Fort Worth locals don't get annoyed at the antics of Fort Worth's Dunce Confederacy, that being the Good ol' Boy and Girl Network which runs Fort Worth in what is known as The Fort Worth Way.

Meaning the town is an oligarchy, not a democracy.

The raw, galling hubris of the Fort Worth Dunce Confederacy is amazing at times.

One example quickly comes to mind, that being having a big ground breaking ceremony a couple months ago for the Three Bridges Over Nothing.

A shovel turning dirt was not good enough for this momentous occasion. A big explosion set off by a big TNT plunger plunged by key members of the Dunce Confederacy, such as Kay Granger, her son, J.D., and Fort Worth mayor, Betsy Price, was needed to mark the start of the slow motion construction of three simple bridges, scheduled to take longer to build than the Golden Gate Bridge.

The explosive groundbreaking ceremony included speechifying full of propaganda, such as Kay Granger claiming Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle was the largest urban water project underway in North America.

Apparently Fort Worth's Congresswoman is not aware that Los Angeles, California is in North America, with its own river vision and downtown revitalization, with the LA vision not being a boondoggle boondoggling in slow motion.

How come it seems to be an issue to no one but me that J.D. Granger is being paid so well, for so long, for a job for which he has zero qualifications, and which is being so incompetently implemented, as evidenced by items like the slow motion construction of Three Bridges Over Nothing, connecting to an imaginary island, which may one day be a make believe island if a ditch is ever dug under the Three Bridges Over Nothing?

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle had been funded, like a normal vitally needed project is funded, this project would have long ago been completed, with Fort Worth enjoying its alleged benefits, with J.D. Granger enlisting his mom's help in finding another job for which has was not qualified that he could help turn into another boondoggle....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Herding Miss Puerto Rico's Cats While Watching Winter In Arizona With Spencer Jack's Dad

As you can see via the view from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony this last Tuesday of the first month of 2015 is seeing a sky void of clouds at this location in North Texas.

I heard from Spencer Jack's grandma this morning that rain is falling on her in Arizona. Spencer Jack's grandma is visiting Arizona partly as a short break from Pacific Northwest winter rain.

Ironically, Spencer Jack's dad just emailed me with the news that the Skagit Valley, that being the home zone of Spencer Jack's grandma, is currently enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures in the 60s.

The temperature at my location, in the noon time frame, has hit 70. I opened my windows upon my return from checking in on Miss Puerto's baby felines.

Speaking of the baby cats, the one I call Friendly Cat has gotten used to me, to the point she likes to play with me now with her collection of toys. While the one I call Grumpy Cat is still a bit grumpy and runs away from me to various hiding places.

But I reached into today's hiding place and pulled out Grumpy Cat, who did not seem to mind. I thought Grumpy Cat would go nuts if I ever managed to catch her. I'd never seen a cat run as fast as Grumpy Cat runs when she runs to get away from me.

Following is the message in Spencer Jack's dad's email, and following that is that which was attached to the email....

Found this amusing.  Although, unlike the East Coast, Skagit Valley has had a very mild winter.   Yesterday's high was a pleasant 66 here in Mount Vernon.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bike Riding With The Village Creek Indian Ghosts & Cat Brats

With today's temperature high predicted to be somewhere in the 70s, I thought this would be a mighty fine day to go roll my wheels with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

The trouble with that plan became apparent soon after the wheels started rolling. As in the temperature was no where near 70 in the pre-noon time frame.

Eventually I sort of warmed up.

As you can see, by looking over my handlebars, parked on the Village Creek Blue Bayou overlook, that which is overlooked has not returned, yet, to being blue. Vegetation is choking the bayou. A good freeze should choke the chokers, but time is running out for a good freeze, what with spring rapidly approaching.

On the drive to the Indian Ghosts location I heard on the radio that thousands of flights have been cancelled due to the incoming blizzard in the Northeast. I wonder if this will have any effect on Miss Puerto Rico's return on Thursday?

I hope not.

I have grown tired of taking care of Miss Puerto Rico's cat infants. These babies are brats. I suppose I should go check in on them.....

Visiting Mom & Dad In Arizona With My Favorite Ex-Sister-In-Law

In my email this morning I found a photo from Spencer Jack of his grandma and great-grandparental units.

On the left you are looking at my favorite ex-sister-in-law, named Cindy, standing next to my dad and mom in front of mom and dad's abode in Sun Lakes, Arizona.

Cindy is currently making her first multi-day visit to the Phoenix Metroplex.

My favorite ex-sister-in-law is not much of a football fan. I think it is likely Cindy booked her stay in Glendale without realizing the Super Bowl would take place during her stay there.

I can say with 100% certainty that when booking her trip to Arizona Cindy did not know the Seattle Seahawks would be coming to Glendale during her stay there to play in the Super Bowl.

I am impressed Cindy managed to find my mom and dad's abode. Glendale is at the far west end of the Phoenix Metroplex, while Sun Lakes is at the far southeast end of the Phoenix Metroplex.

Getting to Sun Lakes would not be all that tricky, what with freeways taking you most of the way. But once you enter Sun Lakes confusion easily reigns. My first day there I got totally lost just walking around the neighborhood, not knowing then that while my mom and dad live on East Olive Lane North, there is also West Olive Lane North, along with East and West Olive Lane South.

I suspect Cindy is enjoying the Arizona break from Pacific Northwest SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder). I would not be surprised if Cindy becomes the latest  of my "relatives" to take up seasonal residence in Arizona.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Underage Drivers At Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake With Yellow Wildflowers Before Town Talk Treasure Hunting

As I was leaving my abode today to head towards Oakland Lake Park to walk around Fort Worth's inland sea known as Fosdick Lake, I got a text message from Elsie Hotpepper asking "You at Tandy?"

To which I replied, "No. Should I be?"

To which Ms. Hotpepper answered, "Yes. I am holding a meeting of my bird watching group on the Tandy Hills. But the meeting is over now so we are heading east to see Mary's little lamb."

I did not know Mary had a little lamb. I knew about the pigs, horses and river rats.

That kid you see driving the off road vehicle by the Fosdick ducks looked, to me, to be too young to be driving a motorized vehicle.

Fosdick Lake had a lot of people walking around it today, enjoying the relatively balmy, well above freezing, temperature, along with a mostly blue sky.

Today whilst walking with the ducks I came upon that which I come upon every year, that being the first sign of spring in the form  of a colorful wildflower.  In today's case that being the big, yellow beauty you see below.

It seems a bit early for wildflowers to be springing into bloom. This yellow wildflower did not have a pleasant rose-like fragrance, it was, instead, a rather bitter smell.

Post Fosdick Lake walk I was off to Town Talk for the first time in weeks.

I got some good stuff today. Artisan bread, Italian sausage, three cases of yogurt, giant carrots, multiple varieties of beans and other stuff I am not remembering right now.

All this food talk reminds me I have not had lunch yet. I must rectify this at once....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Open Call For Manly Men & Wild Women To Bash Tandy Hills Brush Saturday January 31

On the last day of this first month of 2015 the Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area are inviting you to the 7th Annual Brush Bash. I know this because I just got an email telling me so, copied (for the most part) below....

In the beginning....

....wildfire and wildlife maintained the Tandy Hills prairie keeping it free of woody growth. The grasses and wildflowers flourished without the hand of woman or man. But those glory days are over, so...

One day a year, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area with help from the City of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Dept. hosts a Brush Bash to clear sections of the prairie of invasive and unwanted trees, brush and trash.

The brush has been cut and will be ready for volunteers to drag to waiting trucks for delivery to a composting facility. Your help REALLY makes a difference! Manly Men and Wild Women welcome.

WHO: Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area
WHAT: 7th annual Brush Bash
WHEN: Saturday, January 31, 2015 9 A.M. - Noon
WHERE: Tandy Hills Natural Area
               3400 View Street
               Fort Worth, TX 76103
BRING: gloves, sturdy shoes, hat, water, lunch, tarps, rakes, small wagons and anything else you think might be useful to Bash Brush

Coffee, tea & morning snacks provided.

CONTACT - RSVP: Don Young <>