Friday, February 5, 2016

Amusing Bass Static Over New Downtown Fort Worth Hooters

Last week's Fort Worth Weekly Static column Who’s Against Hooters? told us about Ed Bass being behind the attempt to constrain the opening of a Hooters in downtown Fort Worth.

This week's Fort Worth Weekly Static column Chest Having Fun is mostly a tongue in cheek apology for supposedly erroneously blaming Ed Bass for the anti-Hooters Conspiracy.

This week's Static column is sort of a look at how Fort Worth's shadow government works, with Ed Bass and the Bass family having way too much control over that which they seem to treat as their personal fiefdom.

I've long thought Fort Worth would be better off if it did some things on its own, like a city wearing its big boy pants does, rather than relying on the Bass family. Yes, I know, many locals think the Bass family has done wonders for Fort Worth and have no problem with the family imposing their personal tastes on the town.

Or slapping their names on the results of their largess. I know many people think the Bass Performance Hall is a wonder to behold. But to me it looks out of place, and sort of weird with those giant trumpet blowing angels stuck to the front of the building.

I digress, back to Static.

For a long long time I verbalized my perplexation regarding downtown Fort Worth having signs pointing to something called Sundance Square, where there was no square, thus confusing Fort Worth's few out of town tourists.

Eventually I was informed that there was no square in Sundance Square, that Sundance Square was a downtown development scheme run by the Bass Family.

After decades of downtown Fort Worth embarrassing itself, due to there being no square in Sundance Square, a square was finally built on one of the parking lots which many had assumed was Sundance Square, and then goofily, redundantly named Sundance Square Plaza.

So, now there is a plaza in Sundance Square.

Now, what did I learn in this week's FW Weekly Static column that I did not know before? Well, I learned that that which is still known as Sundance Square is even more convoluted and odd than I realized.

Read the entire Chest Having Fun  Static column to get the entire amusing scope of the Bass Sundance Square ridiculousness after you read the following paragraphs gleaned from the column.....

Last week, Static discussed how billionaire businessman Ed Bass was behind an organized push to keep a particular breastaurant out of downtown. We also wondered why the people who created the Facebook page Say NO to Hooters in Downtown Fort Worth (2,000 “likes” and counting) were so upset about the well-established wings chain featuring scantily clad female servers when another breastaurant, Ojos Locos, has been operating in Sundance Square for several years.

That prompted a Sundance Square spokesperson to ask for a correction. Seems Ojos Locos is not located in Sundance Square.

Anyone who has visited Ojos Locos would swear they were in Sundance Square. The sports bar with barely dressed female servers is located at 515 Houston St., and it sits next door to Milan Gallery (505 Houston St.), which is billed as being in Sundance Square.

As it turns out, streets, blocks, borders, and addresses don’t define Sundance Square, the downtown wining/dining/shopping haven and brainchild of the Bass family. Your business is considered a part of the exclusive district only if you lease space in a building owned by Sundance Square Inc., a real estate management company whose employees oversee more than 40 downtown buildings, all owned by the Basses.


The anti-Hooters Bass Conspiracy has made itself a Facebook page titled SAY NO to HOOTERS in DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH.

After FW Weekly's Static made mention of the hypocrisy of the Bass anti-Hooters being against a Hooters in Sundance Square, while another Hooters-like restaurant named Ojos Locos seemed to be operating in Sundance Square, the anti-Hooters Facebook page was re-titled SAY NO to HOOTERS & OJOS LOCOS in DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH.

How did downtown Fort Worth suddenly get so prudish? The downtown used to host one of the most notorious red light districts in the world.

Known as Hell's Half Acre.

With dozens of bordellos and saloons. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid frequented Fort Worth to visit Hell's Half Acre, so much so that that is why Sundance Square is so-named.

What would Butch and Sundance think of Fort Worth now? The town run by prudes trying to run restaurants out of downtown simply due to the slightly revealing nature of a restaurant's waitress uniforms.

This is an appalling state of affairs....

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Is Chesapeake Energy Doing Some New Drilling & Fracking In My Neighborhood?

Around noon I left the warm comfort of my abode to push my way through the chilly brisk air up the hill to my friendly neighborhood Albertsons to see about the possibility of acquiring blackberry cobbler and a spinach portabella mushroom pizza.

I was successful with both acquisitions.

I'm in attaining supplies mode for Sunday's Super Bowl Party.

The day before the Super Bowl Elsie Hotpepper and Mary Not Contrary are taking me to a pre-Valentines Day lunch. I am fairly certain I will not be having blackberry cobbler or spinach portabella mushroom pizza at Saturday's lunch.

When I left Albertsons, carrying cobbler and pizza I looked north, across the street to my not so friendly neighborhood Chesapeake Energy Barnett Shale Natural Gas Fracking Pad Site and saw the sign you see here and thought to myself that this looked like a new sign.

So, I walked across the street for a closer sign look and to take a picture.

Is this sign announcing that a new permit to drill multiple wells has been issued to Chesapeake Energy? Or has this sign been stuck in the ground since way back years ago when the Chesapeake earth hole poking took place at this location? With oblivious me not noticing, or forgetting that I'd noticed?

It's been years since a fresh fracking has happened at this location. My other unfriendly neighborhood Chesapeake Energy fracking site has been fracked in recent years.

I thought Chesapeake had ceased with the Barnett Shale drilling and fracking.

I'm really in no mood for my neighborhood to get fracked again. It's noisy and dusty, with a lot of trucks cluttering up the roads. And there is just something unsettling about the ground underneath ones location getting fractured so as to release gas.

Maybe it is my neighborhood's turn to do some shaking from fracking earthquakes. So far we have been immune from the rocking and rolling which has vexed other areas of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone.

I have not been shaken by an earthquake this century. I understand the Texas fracking quakes are not noisy, unlike the non-fracking Mother Nature quakes that used to shake me fairly regularly in Washington and were extremely noisy....

A Tale Of Burlington's Maiben Park Fix & Fort Worth's Heritage Park Fix Failure

Yesterday around this time I was having myself a mighty fine time having a chilly walk with the Indian Ghosts who haunt Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Whilst I was doing my Ghost Walking I was pondering something I had read via website links emailed to me by Spencer Jack's dad, my Favorite Nephew Jason.

The website links were to articles about Maiben Park in my old hometown of Burlington. I grew up across the street from Maiben Park.

When I lived by Maiben Park it was a peaceful, safe place, always with a lot of kids playing.

Last year a teenager was murdered in Maiben Park. Homeless people were using Maiben Park as a residence. There were drug use problems. All sorts of problems none of which existed decades ago when I lived across the street.

The articles Jason sent me detailed what Burlington is doing to fix the problems of Maiben Park. This struck me as such a contrast with how things happen in my old home zone and how things happen in Fort Worth. For years now downtown Fort Worth has had a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded eyesore, a park formerly celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, called, appropriately, Heritage Park.

Fort Worth's Heritage Park had very minor supposed problems which led to its closure, including homeless people using the park's water features for bathing purposes. Supposedly people felt there were security issues. It's been years now that Fort Worth has been unable to figure out how to restore its Lost Heritage.

So, what is little Burlington, population around 9,000, doing to fix the problems in Maiben Park?

Security cameras are being installed which will cover the entire park.

LED lighting is being installed to illuminate the entire park, including the area we always called "The Woods". Apparently The Woods had become popular with homeless people. The Woods is one of the few remaining stands of old growth forest on the floor of the Skagit Valley.

The restroom is being moved to a more open location. And redesigned. Yes, unlike most parks in Fort Worth, Burlington's parks have modern restrooms. Prior to the new one being built several decades ago, the previous modern restroom was built way back early in the previous century. Yes, modern plumbing has existed that long in other parts of America.

Those are just a few of the improvements being made to Maiben Park that I read about in the Burlington Leaders Propose Changes to Maiben Park article Jason directed me to.

Til reading the articles Jason directed me to, I did not realize Maiben Park now has a water feature for kids to play in. And that the Little League field is no longer used, with Little League, and other types of baseball, now being played in Burlington's complex of ball fields which have made the town a mecca for regional baseball games.

Reading the articles I learned that there was a lot of public input into the Maiben Park fixes. How is it little Burlington can bring about fixes to a park's problems, while a big city like Fort Worth dithers and dawdles unable to fix simpler problems in a park celebrating the town's heritage?

Very perplexing....

Go To Bellevue To Meet Louis Kahn Designer Of Fort Worth's Former World's Most Beautiful Modern Building

I saw that which you see here this morning on the front page of the Seattle Times online.

Louis Kahn is the architect who designed the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

I have blogged about the Kimbell Art Museum a few times, including...

Someone Thinks Fort Worth Is The Location Of The Most Beautiful Work Of Modern Architecture In The World


Shocked To Learn The Kimbell Art Museum Is No Longer The World's Most Beautiful Work Of Modern Architecture

In the first blogging I referenced the Wikipedia article about the Kimbell Art Museum, in which the article informed us....

"Fort Worth is home to the Kimbell Art Museum, considered to have one of the best collections in the world, and housed in what is widely regarded as the most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world."

Well, clearly the above is ridiculous hyperbole, and I so indicated. Soon the Wikipedia article was edited to  be more grounded in reality, which I blogged about in the second blogging, with the edited hyperbole now saying....

The Kimbell Art Museum, considered to have one of the best collections in Texas, is housed in what is widely regarded as one of Texas' foremost works of modern architecture designed by Louis Kahn and Renzo Piano.

So, I was curious if the Seattle Times Meet Louis Kahn, the modern designer you know the least about at the Bellevue Arts Museum  article mentioned the former most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world.

Well, mention was made in the following paragraph...

Kahn’s most famous buildings — The Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the National Assembly Building in Dhaka, Bangladesh — show a fascination with pleasingly layered geometric shapes, touchable materials and human scale. They reveal a creator less concerned with making sculptures to be admired from afar than making spaces in which people can experience light and motion as it unfolds over time.

The Seattle Times article failed to mention that the Kimbell Art Museum used to be widely regarded as the most beautiful work of modern architecture in the world....

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Elsie Hotpepper Points Us Again To Texas Society Of Architects Bridge Boondoggle Info

Last week Elsie Hotpepper emailed me an email which only contained a link to a website, with no explanation as to why I should click on the link, which was perplexing, because I could see the link was to one of my blog posts.

Why is Elsie Hotpepper directing me to go to one of my own blog posts, wondered I?

So, I clicked on the link, was surprised it was to a post from less than a year ago, and further surprised by the info the post shared and the fact that I'd forgotten about it.

It was a blog comment made by Steve A, made to another blogging, which caused me to write the According To The Texas Society Of Architects The Boondoggle's Bridges Over Nothing Were Completed Five Years Ago blogging which Elsie Hotpepper directed me to.

I used Google's Blogger's new "Featured Post" feature to feature this post, which you see screen capped here and on the right column of this blog, if you are looking at the blog via a computer web browser, not a smart phone.

Following is the comment from Steve A which led me to the interesting article from the Texas Society of Architects about the Phantom Bridges of America's Biggest Boondoggle....

Steve A has left a new comment on your post "Up A Creek Again With The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle":

What's all the fuss? After taking up the "Durango Challenge" and Googling "Trinity River Boondoggle" myself, I discovered at the Texas Society of Architects website that the bridges would cost only $53Mil and would be complete in 2010. Accordingly, I want to see Durango pictures of the wonderful bridges designed by the same architect that designed the never-completed TCC River Campus. The article is WELL worth a read if you've never seen it before. Seriously, I guess that makes the project AT LEAST nearly a decade behind schedule and over budget by more than anybody has claimed so far since the bridges cost a lot more even though they "cheapened" them up. 

How did I manage to forget this bit of information about America's Biggest Boondoggle? Information documenting how far behind "schedule" this project with no project timeline is. How come the locals don't demand answers and explanations for the tardy progress of the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision?

It's not like America's Biggest Boondoggle has been slowed up due to problems with the world's biggest tunnel boring machine and mysterious sinkholes, such as what has slowed up a much bigger project in another town in America.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Who Knows If Fort Worth's Bike Share Program Has Failed Like Seattle's?

What you are looking at is a row of bikes parked somewhere on the Seattle waterfront.

I did not know, til yesterday, via an article in the Seattle Times titled Bike share’s failure deflates Seattle’s self-image that Seattle had a bike share operation, like the one that operates in Fort Worth.

That would make this blogging sort of a variant of our popular series of bloggings about something I read via a west coast news source which I would not expect to be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Apparently Seattle's bike share program has been rolling for only one year. When the plan was announced there was a lot of opposition. But, despite the objections, the city went ahead with the bike sharing.

I remember back when Fort Worth started its bike sharing program someone asked me if such a thing existed in Seattle. I remember saying I don't think such a thing would work there, due to it being very hilly and downtown is so busy with traffic and pedestrians, riding a bike would be hazardous. And that people in Seattle, who are into biking, already would have a bike. And that tourists staying downtown would not want to try and explore on a bike, as it would be too hazardous.

So, the various Seattle bike share kiosks were generating only about $30 a day, which apparently has not been enough revenue to make the operation solvent.

The Seattle Times article I read about the Seattle bike share failure was so different than an article one reads in the Star-Telegram, in that the Seattle Times article is very detailed, very critical, sort of self-deprecating and pretty much comprehensive about the issue.

The first five sentences in this Seattle Times bike sharing article as an example of what I mean by critical and self-deprecating...

Who would have thought Seattle’s bike share program would struggle? Probably anyone who’s tried to cycle through downtown. The news that Seattle’s bike share program is insolvent only a year after opening is, symbolically anyway, a wound to Seattle’s green psyche. It could be due to mismanagement. Or a lame rollout. These were some of the reasons offered for how a bicycling program could falter so badly in a place that fancies itself as Bike City, USA.

And the article, since being published yesterday, has generated, when last I looked, 360 some comments.

More than 360 comments!

Intelligent, well-reasoned comments, the likes of which one rarely reads in the Star-Telegram. Recently the Star-Telegram published a breathless article about a million dollar tacky piece of supposed art being celebrated by America's Biggest Boondoggle. One would have thought such a subject would have caused oodles of locals to opine. Instead, mostly crickets chirping.

Click the Bike share’s failure deflates Seattle’s self-image link and read the article and some of the comments and you'll see what I mean about the total tonal difference between the Seattle Times and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

What explains such a stark difference? A better educated population? A more progressive, democratic population? A population used to opining on public issues? Used to having their voices heard?

Being totally blunt, which really is not my style, but why is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram so dumbed down?

How is the Fort Worth bike share program faring? Has it been a success? You don't really see all that many people rolling around town on those rental bikes. Has the Star-Telegram had an article about how the Fort Worth bike sharing program is doing after it being in operation for a year or two?

The Cast Of Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price

I don't know why, but last night someone who goes by a one letter first name of "L" emailed me that which you see here.

A photo of Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price, who appears to be wearing some sort of stylish winter boot.

Or in some sort of cast.

Did Fort Worth's esteemed, extremely athletic, inspirational mayor have a biking accident, the news of which I missed?

The email which contained this photo included no explanatory text. So, I do not know if those are Betsy Price's daughters and son, or husband, she is standing with.

I see a strong resemblance factor among those in the photo, hence wondering if those are Betsy's kids, or husband.

I hope Mayor Betsy has herself a swift recovery from this injury, if an injury is the explanation for the stylish footwear, and that she is soon back on her bike, pedaling around town, inspiring Fort Worth's lethargees to get themselves some exercise.

But, exercise caution, lest you end up injured.....

Monday, February 1, 2016

Father Nathan Monk's Jesus Inspired Homeless People Help

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook, via Big Ed, who shared this message from Father Nathan Monk.

Last month I blogged about a panhandling homeless person and me Feeling Guilty When Anything Helps While Having Nothing To Give. Since I made mention of this panhandling homeless person I have seen him every time I drive by his regular location at the entry to the Target shopping center off Eastchase Parkway.

Last month, due to a federal mandate to do so annually, towns across America conducted a census of the homeless people living on the streets in their towns.

Many of the homeless people are veterans of one of America's ubiquitous wars, finding themselves abandoned and in dire straits, their situation ignored by the majority of Americans, who celebrate Veterans Day every year with a lot of ironic, pseudo patriotic hoopla.

While dozens of America's veterans commit suicide every day.

Below is what Father Nathan Monk had to say about opening doors to the homeless....

Earlier this week, I suggested that churches should open their doors to the homeless. I was lambasted by both the laity and clergy that this idea would be completely unreasonable. 

The main talking point that was thrown around is that I don't understand the purpose of the church. However, James said that, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God means caring for orphans and widows in their distress." As I began to argue these points, bizarre responses rose to the surface. 

The first was that people questioned how churches could afford to do this. How is it possible that you can believe that God provided a way for Noah to build an ark, sent birds to feed prophets, walls came falling down at the sound of a trumpet, a virgin gave birth to God, food was multiplied, coins were found in a fish's mouth to provide for the apostles, and the list is never ending...but you don't think that if you provided shelter for the homeless that this same God would make a way for you to do it? 

The next reason that I was given for why churches can't take in the homeless was that they might destroy the church building. I was always taught that the church was supposed to represent Christ on Earth. Jesus allowed himself to be stripped naked, beaten, whipped to the point of death, and crucified. You want to complain about a hypothetical destruction of a building that is supposed to represent a man who freely allowed himself to be destroyed? 

Finally, I was told that my ideas were liberal and socialist. That the purpose of the church and following Jesus was simply to worship him. That both the government and charities supply homeless shelters and the poor can go there. 

But Jesus said that how we treat those is exactly how we would have treated him. He even told us what he would say to those types of people, "Depart from me, because when I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." 

I am not certain what I believe anymore about faith or religion, but I do know what the Bible says. If you don't want to be like Christ, just stop calling yourself the Christian.

A lot of people seems to think they know Jesus, seem to think they follow the alleged teachings of Jesus, as written by man long after Jesus was killed. A lot of those same people are right wing nuts who think a socialist minded Jew could not possibly become the American president.

The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex zone has hundreds of churches, with some of those churches being enormous complexes, one or two even have their own airports.

I know many of the D/FW churches help with the homeless people problem, via donations of various sorts made to the various homeless shelters.

But what if a lot of the D/FW churches did what Father Nathan Monk suggests, and find room in their church facilities for a few homeless people?

You know that is what Jesus would do if he were currently a Texan.....

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Swimming On The Last Morning Of January With Gar The Texan Unable

What with the high temperature the past couple days nearing 80 and the overnight temperature staying above 50, my pool doing criteria of an average temperature above 50 for 48 hours has rendered the pool doable the past couple mornings.

Time flies so fast. I think the last I was in the pool was Christmas morning. I am fairly certain the last couple days were the first pool bouts of the new year.

I do not recollect the pool being doable in January's past.

While for me the pool is doable, a few miles north and east of my location apparently pools are not doable when the temperature nears 80.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I saw Gar the Texan lamenting about his new pool not being doable. Gar the Texan and his latest wife recently moved to a new house, and that new house has a pool in the backyard.

Below is Gar the Texan's Facebook post about not going swimming in his new pool. Below that I'll copy the rest of Gar the Texan's cool pool lament.

Apparently Gar the Texan has a wetsuit, you know that thing you wear to go skin diving in cold water. Below is what Gar the Texan had to say about trying to go swimming in his new pool....

"I looked up my wetsuit rating and it says 55 degrees. Current water temp is 53. I put my arm in the water for half a minute. It came out numb. I need to rethink things. Perhaps the pool temp gauge is broken."

Someone reminded Gar the Texan that his latest wife is from Idaho, and is likely used to swimming in lake water heated in summer to the current temperature of his Texas  pool.

Now, in Gar the Texan's defense I must admit that he is a bit delicate. During the period of time in which I personally experienced Gar the Texan's delicate nature he had multiple incidents of what I came to call "episodes of the vapors."

The first time I experienced a Gar the Texan vapor episode was the first time I went mountain biking with him. The second time I experienced a Gar the Texan episode was the second and last time I went mountain biking with him. In that episode he had the most spectacular bike crash I ever witnessed, flying over the handlebars, then doing a somersault upon landing, and then suffering an episode of the vapors.

The one and only time I went roller blading with Gar the Texan ended with an episode about ten minutes into rolling. That episode had Gar sharing a bench with a pair of old ladies until he could recover enough to remove the roller blades and walk back to safety.

I am likely forgetting some Gar the Texan episodes of the vapors. I do recollect two hikes with no episodes of getting the vapors, one being hiking in Dinosaur Valley State Park and the other hiking at Turner Falls Park.

Due to the history of Gar the Texan having episodes of getting the vapors when doing a physical exercise type thing I am a bit puzzled as to why he has a wetsuit. Has he actually gone skin diving? If so, how does that work if an attack of the vapors happens? Seems like it would be scary.

Anyway, I think there shall only be a couple days more of swimming temperatures before the outer world resumes freezing, if the forecast is to be believed....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Non Tandy Hills Type Slippery Sauk Mountain Joey Hike

What with today being Saturday, and Saturday being the day I often go hiking Fort Worth's Tandy Hills, and what with there being what look like hills in the above photo, someone with extremely poor eyesight might think they are looking at the Tandy Hills.

That person would be thinking incorrectly. That is not a hill. It is a mountain. Sauk Mountain, located in the Skagit Valley of Washington state. Sauk Mountain is on the far west edge of the Cascade Mountain range.

I saw the above photo this morning on Facebook, via the first wife of renowned best selling author, Martin B.

Seeing this photo caused me to feel slightly homesick.

Sauk Mountain is one of the more easily accessed Cascade Mountain trails. If I remember right the trailhead was about 30 miles east of my abode in Mount Vernon. Slightly further than the four miles I drive to the Tandy Hills, but infinitely more scenic and more challenging to hike.

I have hiked to the summit of Sauk Mountain multiple times. In summer, when the high country opens up, free of the snowpack, Sauk Mountain draws hundreds of hikers on a good weather weekend day.

My last time hiking to the summit of Sauk Mountain was not on a good weather summer day. It was on a mid fall bad weather day.

My Favorite Nephew Joey and I had been doing a lot of mountain hiking the previous summer, like hiking up Mount Baker.

When Joey and I arrived at the Sauk Mountain trailhead there were only a couple other vehicles parked. And we soon saw that the owners of those vehicles were coming down the mountain, almost to the parking lot.

Joey and I decided to go for it, even though a few flakes of snow were falling. And it was freezing.

If you look closely at the photo above you can see the switchbacks of the trail which takes you to the summit of Sauk Mountain. You can also see that when this photo was taken some small patches of snow remained near the top of the mountain.

When Joey and I did that hike, that fall, there was already an accumulation of snow. When we  reached the last few switchbacks the trail was covered in ice, and slippery, but we kept on going til we reached the top.

And then the snow began falling in copious amounts. Around that time it crossed my mind  that I was being a slightly irresponsible uncle. I told Joey we'd go down the trail real slow, til we got off the iced over part of the trail. And that if we slipped and started to slide down the mountain, to just treat it as sled ride til a stop could be made.

Well, there was no slipping, we made our way slowly back to safety, where eventually the vehicle's heater warmed us up enough to stop the shivering.

Since I have been in Texas, Joey's mom, my Favorite Ex-Sister-In-Law, Cindy, has taken up the hiking sport. Cindy has hiked up many of the Cascade's most popular trails, including Sauk Mountain.

I do not know if Joey has ever told his mother that he and his irresponsible uncle hiked Sauk Mountain in an icy snow storm....