Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Century 21: The 1962 Seattle World's Fair Had No Internet

Century 21, before it became the name of a well known real estate company, was the name of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. If I remember right, and I probably don't, the full name was Century 21 World of Tomorrow. The World's Fair was a transformative time for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

Life in the next century, that being the one we are living in now, was the theme of Century 21.

The Seattle World's Fair ended up not being very accurately predictive about the future. The future ended up being quite a bit more amazing than anything imagined for Century 21 in 1962 Seattle.

Personal computers, cell phones, digital cameras, the Internet, flat panel TVs, thousands of TV channels, DVRs, DVDs, I-Pods, Pads and Phones, Space Shuttles, the end of the Soviet Union, none of that was predicted in Seattle in 1962.

The Seattle World's Fair is one of the few World's Fairs that managed to turn a profit. And it left Seattle and the Northwest with the Seattle Center, it being a gift that keeps on giving.

The video below gives you a little bit of a time machine trip back to Seattle of 1962...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Seattle is Not One of the Fattest Cities in America

One those ubiquitous lists listing things like livability or obesity, Seattle usually comes out near the top livability-wise and the bottom obesity-wise.

Such is the case with a list of the 100 Fattest Cities in America in the current Men's Health Magazine.

Men's Health factored in the number of overweight people, the number of coach potatoes, the percentage with Type 2 Diabetes and junk food consumption to come up with a list of 100 that had Corpus Christi, Texas as the Fattest City in America.

Four other Texas towns joined Corpus Christi in the Top Ten, El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.

Austin, Texas was almost as skinny as Seattle as the 5th Leanest City, with Seattle being the 4th Leanest.

Other Fat Northwest Cites were #35 Anchorage, #58 Spokane and #76 Boise.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two Gray Whales Wash Up On Skagit Shores

Two dead Gray Whales washing ashore on Skagit County beaches? That can't be good.

One was found near Deception Pass on Whidbey Island, at least I assume it was on the Whidbey Island side of Deception Pass, but it could have been on the Rosario Beach side, on Fidalgo Island.

I have seen a giant Gray Whale moving slowly, barely off the beach, at Rosario. It drew a lot of onlookers, many perplexed as to what the huge whale was doing so close to shore, worrying that it was sick. Most assumed the whale was just feeding really close to shore.

You see something like a giant Gray Whale, in the saltwater in which you've swam, and it changes how you think about getting in the water. Not that the Gray Whales have any record of hurting humans, they are fellow mammals, after all.

The other dead Gray Whale was found beached on the north shore of Samish Island. It was approximately 42 feet long. That is a lot of whale. The tidal flats of the north shore of Samish Island make for rather shallow water. I wonder where along that beach the whale died?

Necropsies will be done to the whales to try and learn what did them in. Some reports are saying the whales were unnaturally skinny. I hope they are not like parakeets in a mine, a dire warning that something has gone really badly wrong in the Puget Sound.

But, salmon runs have been doing real well. There should be plenty of whale food in the water.

There have been 4 reports of Killer Whale (Orca) attacks on Gray Whales, with one caught on video, with the attack happening on Sunday, to a Gray Whale named Patch, who has been tracked visiting the Puget Sound for 20 years.

I hope there is not something in the Puget Sound that is riling up the Killer Whales. One of my most memorable life experiences was fishing out near Lopez Island in the San Juans, with my mom and dad, and finding ourselves surrounded by a big Orca Pod, including 2 babies. This pre-dated the digital camera era. No pictures were taken. One of the Orcas came right up to the boat, as if both curious and as if to say Howdy.

I have trouble imagining an Orca being a bully to a Gray Whale. There is quite a size differential, with the advantage going to the Gray Whale by a long shot.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The 27th Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

The 27th Annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, this past weekend, drew a lot of people to the Skagit Valley, with cars backing up on Interstate 5 at the downtown Mount Vernon Kincaid Street exit.

It has been over 10 years since I've been in the Skagit Valley and out on the flats to see the Tulips and the throngs of tourists.

This year's Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1 through April 30.

So, I still have 18 days to get myself north to see one of the most fertile valley's in the world in all its colorful glory.

That may not happen. Below are a few pictures that brought to mind how incredible the Skagit Valley looks each and every Spring...

The Tulip Tower in Downtown Mount Vernon, with the Riverside Bridge across the Skagit River, which takes you to West Mount Vernon and beyond, to the Skagit Valley Tulip Fields.