It's Friday. Let's Get Out Of Here.

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • A former Bridgeport resident, Elaine (Taylor) Hays, is running to replace Congressman Mac Thornberry who decided to not run again. The district includes half of Wise County. (I wonder if we are the smallest Texas county to be split by a congressional line.)
  • Texas requires what?! (Story.)  It's not quite as diabolical as set forth below. A dog, like all surplus "property", could currently be given to a charitable organization as well. The new law creates a loophole which will allow the dog to be given to the dog's handler, a practice -- albeit illegal -- which has probably been going on without complaint for years.
  • The Southlake PD twitter feed is pretty funny when they make an arrest (here's a thread from yesterday involving a branch of First Financial), but one of these days they are going to embarrass someone on Twitter who was wrongfully arrested and are going to get sued.  Throwing in a a mocking "allegedly" one or two times won't save them from a defamation claim. 
  • Idiocracy.
  • There are people like Jonathan. Don't be like Jonathan. (He not only deleted it, but he also deleted his account.) Edit: Wow. This story from 1016 is about Jonathan. The victim just happened to be Hispanic. The Internet mob is reacting as you would expect.
    Even had to throw in the white power hand sign.
  • And don't be like this Congressman.
  • Decatur's own Bryce Elder is the featured player of the University of Texas this season. Last season he "finished the year with a 2.93 ERA in 83 innings pitched over 13 starts...led the Longhorns with 86 strikeouts during the season."
  • The former weather gal over at Channel 8/WFAA has freed herself from the bondage of meteorological maps.
  • I still think this is all a house of cards. I bet this sentence never comes true: "The 23-story, 470,000-square-foot office tower will house thousands of Uber workers when it opens in late 2022."
  • As I've been reading again about the Comanches in around North Texas, it is still stunning that the most famous Comanche of all -- the leader of a group that did savage and almost unspeakable things -- began wearing formal wear and became "a regular invitee to public events in Dallas and Fort Worth, including the Texas State Fair, the annual convention of the Texas Cattle Raisers’ Association and the annual Fort Worth Fat Stock Show."
  • Baylor remained unbeaten last night in an ugly game. I'm not sure how you hold West Virginia to 14 yards rushing, 219 total yards (83 of that on one play), and only win 17-14. I bet Baylor will be underdogs when they play TCU a week from Saturday.
  • It's November 1st. Get ready.
  • All school districts had to turn in their attendance/"snapshot" numbers by today. Most already have. Two years ago, Bridgeport was at 651 but is now down to 618.  Other numbers for 2017/2019 comparisons are Decatur: 1054/1022, Chico 163/162, Alvord 212/214, Boyd 401/411, Paradise 349/355. (Source)


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • The fires in California got close to the Ronald Reagan library yesterday. 
  • Josh  Hamilton turned himself in to the Tarrant County Jail yesterday after allegations that last month he threw a chair and water bottle at his daughter. I'd tap the brakes on your outrage. The case began when his crazy ex-wife, Katie, sought a protective order against him because of the alleged incident.  I'm guessing there's a lot more to this case than what we've heard so far. (Hey, he might be guilty, but the Injury to a Child charge isn't quite the high bar you might think. An allegation of even recklessly causing any amount of "pain", however slight, to someone under 15 years of age is all it takes.) And if you aren't familiar with Katie . . . .
  • Staying with the "Injury to a Child" charge, some of you might be asking, "Wait a second, wouldn't spanking my child be a crime? That causes pain." Technically, yes. But there's a defense "when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare."  Every one of those cases of Injury to a Child is far from cut and dry.
  • Another case which causes my patented Skeptism Meter to go off: The arrest of the guy in the Greenville shooting at the Halloween Party. Something's not right about that whole thing. Out of hundreds of people at a costume party, the arrest was based on "one unnamed witness." It wouldn't surprise me if the Hunt County Sheriff's Office jumped the gun. 
  • Legal nerd stuff. Texas' highest criminal court released an opinion yesterday which had an odd title in my browser's tab. (Side note: It was a reversal in a case where a judge didn't let the jury consider the "Mistake of Fact" defense - a defense which was big in the Amber Guyger trial.)
    What you normally see in a tab for every opinion that court issues.
    What you saw yesterday on one released opinion. 
  • Nothing like a random shoplifter choosing your home to hide from the cops only for the cops to destroy your home to get him. Moral of the story: The government owes you nothing.
  • SMU, after decades of mediocrity, gets to be in the spotlight this week with a prime time game on national TV and having ESPN's Game Day cover the game. You know who won't be there: Long-suffering play by play man Rich Phillips. His full time gig is some type of PR position at the Texas Motor Speedway and it has its fall race this weekend. Of all the luck. 
  • A Trump nominee for a lifetime federal judgeship broke down and cried yesterday after being asked if he said he wouldn't be fair to the LGBT community. Spoiler alert: He didn't say that. But he also hadn't affirmatively said he would be fair, either. The question was prompted by an ABA letter which also said he was "arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.” Ouch. (What do you think the reaction would be if a female nominee had cried like that?)
  • I heard an ad on the Ticket this morning for The Ranches at Rolling Hills in Alvord. I had never heard of it. But it's website has a page which basically could be produced by the Chamber of Commerce of Wise County. 
  • Christie' Brinkley's ex-husband is 60 years old and is now engaged to a 21 year old. That violates the "half your age plus seven" rule. 
  • Whatever happened to (because I'm too lazy to Google it) the teenage wife of  the actor from The Green Mile who divorced him? I used to post her pics all the time because, among other obvious reasons, she had crazy written all over her. 
  • I mentioned yesterday the 1912 public domain book of Dot Babb which is a first hand account of being kidnapped by the Comanches in Wise County. I started reading it last night and it's great. If you had trouble with the site, I put a PDF of the book at this link
  • Deadspin has been gutted over the last couple of days by mass resignations of protest against management who wanted them to "Stick to sports." I don't know who else would spend the time and effort for this classic that put them on the map. I remember running to Mrs. LL when this thing came across the screen with, "You aren't going to believe this!"
  • I've told this a hundred times: My buddy Kevin Clark, many years ago, ran out of candy on Halloween late into the evening but some straggler came up and rang the doorbell. Looking for something to give away, he went to his change jar, grabbed a bunch of coins, and dumped them in the kid's basket. The kid turns around and screams into the dark void, "He's giving away MONEY!" and Kevin was suddenly inundated with kids who came running from everywhere.


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


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughs

  • A Denton police officer was shot during a "routine" traffic stop on University Drive in the parking lot of a Taco Bell shortly after midnight. He's in critical condition. It was the first shooting of a Denton officer since the 1997. 
  • Ukraine:
    • The noose tightens: The first witness who was actually listening to the Trump call with the Ukranian president will testify today before the Impeachment Inquiry. (Opening statement transcript here.) Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and Iraqi vet, was so disturbed by it that he reported to his superiors what he heard. Twice. How are the they going to attack him? Is he just a “faceless unelected bureaucrat”?
    • Oh,  Fox News is going with the double agent theory. Good lord. 
    • And the Republicans demanded a formal vote of the Impeachment Inquiry? Nancy Pelosi said they'll get one on Thursday.
  • Dirk Nowitzki just bought an 11,394-square-foot mansion in Preston Hollow. I don't know why, but that kind of surprises me. 
  • Texas trivia: What percentage of the vote did Abraham Lincoln get in Texas? (Answer below.)
  • I support the Star-Telegram but for the millionth time: Your website is an abomination. We don't want videos we didn't ask for. We don't want those videos mucking up the loading of a page we want to read. And we don't want those videos automatically playing.  We want text. Sweet, clean text. Your pages never stop loading. It feels like 1997 with a slow telephone connection.
  • An offensive lineman for TCU announced he would have season ending hip surgery and thanked coaches, teammates, and others for all of their support. Coach Gary Patterson got mad at him for disclosing it because he didn't want their next opponent to know until Saturday. 
  • More Wise County history I saw at the Paradise Museum. This is a land map of the county in 1878.  I know it's hard to read, but the largest tracks are designated to out-of-county schools. Why? How did that work? Also, a lot of the tracts have a "ptd" abbreviation next to a number under them. What is that? A quick Google search suggests it might stand for "property title dispute." There are a lot of numbers on the tracts, too, but they don't seem to be acreage or leagues.

    Matagorda County School Land? Van Zandt County?
  • And I think this timeline is fascinating. Paradise was booming in 1914.  The mode of transportation was via horse and buggy, but more importantly a relatively new train was making a stop a literal stone's throw away.  By the 1930s, cars were exploding even in the South and travel by rail was beginning to decline. And Paradise slowed down, too.

    1914 (obviously). Although I'm guessing some big event was going on. 
  • And if you don't think the technology of the automobile exploded, look at 5th Avenue in Manhattan from 1902 with all horses and buggies compared to 1913 with all the cars. My Bridgeport math tells me that's just eleven years. (I first saw this in some youtube video of a presentation on how certain inventions take off like a rocket - cars, cell phones, flat screens -- but I can't find it for the life of me.)
  • I can't get this picture of Jane Fonda being arrested at a climate change protest rally out of my head. 
  • Of all the crazy Big 12 games last weekend with OU, Texas, and Iowa State being upset, none were crazier than the ending of Tech/Kansas. I don't think it's getting the publicity it deservedly should receive. (Texas Tech blocked a Kansas game winning field goal attempt, a Tech guy tried to run with it and then made the very poor decision to lateral, and Kansas fell on it with one second left. Kansas then lined up and immediately kicked again and won the game. Watch it.)
  • Answer: Zero percent. There was no way to cast a vote for him. 


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • There was a shooting at an off campus party at Texas A&M - Commerce over the weekend where two were killed. Things got weird and weirder last night when gunshots were fired at the vigil for one of the victims in Pleasant Grove. Some vehicles were hit. One news crew captured the sounds of the gun being fired. There's something weird going on with this case.

    Not sure why WFAA decided to go with this photo of the victim.
  • Trump learned that going out in public is not the same as going to one of his rallies when he decided to go to the World Series game last night. 
    • He was booed with chants of "Lock him up!"
    • And this:
    • And this: 
    • Side note: How in the world does he not take Barron to the game? But he did, I suppose, bring the next best thing.
  • I went by the Paradise Historical Museum on Saturday, and I'll be posting a couple of things throughout the week. Here's a couple of them. (Shout out to Ms. Gay Read for showing us around.)
    • 1924: A girl in some kind of parade by the courthouse, and no one knows who she is. 
    • This isn't that old, but a beloved teacher had to sign a standard "I am not a Communist" declaration in 1958:
  • A former U.S. Attorney and professor at the University of Alabama might have said one of the dumbest thing a prosecutor has ever said: 
  • There's nothing like killing a terrorist but then posing for a picture. There's no way that's a "real time" photo although there still isn't conclusive proof he staged this. 
  • As a Baylor fan, let me say it was a good weekend to have an open date. 
  • In Pittsburgh this morning: 
  • I finally watched Ex_Machina - a sci-fi film on artificial intelligence. Not bad, but I like stuff like that. And I did love this line from the protagonist (who is basically the founder of Google but also a mad scientist obsessed with creating the perfect AI robot): "My competitors were fixated on sucking [the Internet] up, and trying to monetize via shopping and social media. They thought engines were a map of what people were thinking. But actually, they were a map of  how people were thinking. Impulse, response. Fluid, imperfect. Patterned, chaotic." And he used the "how" to create A.I.
  • This guy has a weird gig. He's a criminal defense lawyer (and sometimes gives guest commentary to local media), but he also is the spokesperson for the Duncanville Desoto PD. He'll just pull on a Duncanville Desoto PD shirt and go down to a crime scene to give a statement. 
  • A few months ago I said I never see this type of playground equipment any more. Then BagOfNothing goes and rides one this weekend. (Video)
  • Radio news: I never listen to them, but "Ben and Skin" are out at The Fan 105.3. And that relationship ended abruptly.
  • Messenger: Above the Fold