Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • You know what caused that hole in the ground? A lightning strike this morning on Boat Club Road. I'm not certain, but I think that's smack dab in the middle of a parking lot. Edit: It's pretty amazing.
  • The Denton police officer who was shot on University Drive in Denton is still in critical condition. One of the shots struck him in the head.  Here's a thought: Why isn't it just standard procedure to have anyone detained on a traffic stop to immediately show their hands outside of the windows?  I'm certainly a big civil liberties guy, but that wouldn't be a Fourth Amendment violation. And after a while, it would just be a commonly understood practice. Instead of just automatically grabbing your driver's license and insurance, you just know to roll down the window and expose your hands.
  • Someone actually called me yesterday and asked, "Did I miss it, or have you spent so much time Trump bashing that you didn't write about the girls flashing at the World Series? That's right up your alley!"  First, that's hurtful. Secondly, I haven't written about it because I didn't know how to handle it. (I heard a rumor that one of the girls graduated from Bryon Nelson High School in Trophy Club, but I couldn't confirm it.)
  • When I was experimenting with "cutting the cord" -- which I still am -- someone told me to subscribe to PlayStation Vue. It's a service which, despite the name, doesn't require a PlayStation. "It's the best!" Well, due to competition, it announced yesterday that it is shutting down. This comes on the heels of news of ATT TV Now jacking up their rates to $65 a month, Apple TV+ entering the online streaming business as well as Disney and something announced yesterday called HBOMax.  You know, when all is said and done, everyone who cut the cord just might go back to Dish or DirecTV because of all the confusion -- if satellite TV can survive all of this craziness.  I'm not the first one to think of this. (Link for video below.)
  • The man screws up almost all of what he touches. (And that headline should read "Boneheadedly Shares").
  • After you hear the news that the White House monkeyed with transcript of the call between Trump and the Ukraine president, remember it isn't even a "transcript" despite the number of times Trump (and everyone else) calls it that. 
  • Man, did I get a bunch of feedback on the old Wise County map. 
    • First, many people told me "Ptd." probably refers to "patent" or "patented" which, if I understand correctly, designates a land grant from the government of Texas either as a state or as a Republic.
    • As for tracts of land within Wise County designated as land belonging to other counties as "school land", I got an answer. Remember, this is before school districts and property taxes so the government had to pay for schools of modest buildings and teachers in some manner. (I'm pretty sure the concept of a $65 million football stadium hadn't come about yet.) Any way, back in the day Texas gave each county three leagues - a little over 13,000 acres -- of government land which could be located anywhere in the state. Then each individual county could sell that land to fund its own schools. Thus, counties like Van Zandt, Smith, and Matagorda owned huge tracts of land in Wise County which they sold off.

    • I assume that all that land where one county owns part of another county has long since been sold off. But I wonder if any county still holds title to some of that original land. 
    • There have to be folks over at the Wise County Clerk's office and title companies who are laughing about all of this. They can walk a few feet and touch original patents and deeds that reference all of this. (I still remember my dad asking over thirty years ago, "Are you telling me you graduated from Baylor Law School and you can't read an abstract of title?")
    • Why didn't Texas just deed state land within a county to be used for that same county? That is, Van Zandt would get state land within Van Zandt and Wise County would get land within Wise County? I don't know. I think it has something to do with equalization of value (an 1800s version of Robin Hood perhaps?), but I'm not sure. 
    • A faithful reader sent me this link (which was part of a search) of the Library of Congress site for old Wise County maps.  This one from the University of Texas is also great
    • And those links will take you down a rabbit hole. I found a detailed map created by a fire insurance company of properties in downtown Decatur in 1896. This is just a tiny portion of it:

    •  I also found a book written published in 1912 by Dot Babb who was kidnapped by the Comanches near Chico. You can read the whole thing online or download a PDF.
    • I have a fear that I sound like a history teacher boring his class. 
  • What would $34 billion buy us in current and next generation drones which have technology we can hardly imagine? I'd spend the money on the drones.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold