Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Going for a Ride in the Seattle World's Fair's Gayway

I was looking for photos of the Washington State Pavilion at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, to no avail. All I found was photo of the big plastic ball known as the Bubbleator.

The Bubbleator lifted 100 people at a time into the Washington State Exhibit zone in what later became the Seattle Coliseum and even later became Key Arena.

Key Arena. Where the Seattle Supersonics played until Aubrey McClendon stole the team and moved it to Oklahoma City.

When passengers got onboard the Bubbleator either a spacey female voice would command them to "Please move to the rear of the Sphere", or space alien male voice would say, "Step to the rear of the Sphere."

Whilst looking for Seattle World's Fair images I came upon something I'd not heard before. I don't recollect that the carnival zone section of the Seattle World's Fair was known as the "GAYWAY."

I'm guessing one of the current meanings of the word "gay" did not mean what it means in 2011, way back in 1962.

After the fair closed and was morphed into the Seattle Center, carnival rides remained. I don't know at what point in time the carnival ride zone was renamed the "Fun Forest." I suspect this name change may have occurred at some point in time after the word "gay" took on a new meaning.

Looking for info about the Seattle Center's Fun Forest I learned that, "After nearly 50 years, the Fun Forest Amusement Park at the Seattle Center had its last day of operations on Jan. 2, 2011."

Apparently the Fun Forest is being replaced by a Chihuly Glass Exhibit .

I've long thought the Fun Forest looked real tacky, particularly after the EMP was added by it. So, I think the Seattle Center is well rid of the Fun Forest Gayway.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It Is Over A Quarter Of A Century Since Vancouver's Expo '86 Closed

In the picture you are looking at an abandoned floating McDonald's, docked in Burnaby's Burrard Inlet next to an oil refinery.

This abandoned floating McDonald's used to be known McBarge. McBarge's official name was Friendship 500.

Those who see McBarge nowadays call it McDerelict.

McDerelict, in its heyday, floated at Vancouver's Expo '86.

Expo 86's official name was the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication. Expo  '86 was a World's Fair that took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from Friday May 2 until Monday, October 13, 1986.

It is hard to believe it is over a quarter of a century ago that Expo '86 closed.

I went to Expo '86 twice, both times in late September. The crowds were huge as the World's Fair neared its closing. I enjoyed both my visits to Expo '86, but both times I ended up with the worst headaches of my life. And the second visit, close to the closing, I found myself in the most pressing crowd situation I have ever been in.

On at least one of the visits I went on the McDonald's McBarge. I suspect I had a fish sandwich and a strawberry milkshake. And probably fries. McBarge was near the Malaysian where I had satay for the first time.

I remember being sort of embarrassed by how bad the United States Pavilion was. It was all about the space program and somehow managed to be sort of boring. I remember riding the skyride that crossed the fairgrounds, with a couple Canadians in the capsule with me. When they realized I was American they asked what I thought of the fair. Very impressive, I told them, but I'm sort of embarrassed by how bad the American Pavilion is. The Canadians acted all pleased that I was being so honest about the American Pavilion and told me a lot of Canadians were disappointed by the American Pavilion, but liked the Washington, Oregon and California Pavilions.

I thought the same thing. The Pavilions that the west coast states built for Expo '86 were much better than the U.S. Pavilion.

In the Washington Pavilion you entered through a shower of stars, leading to a tunnel through which you rode a moving sidewalk called a Travolator, fitting with the Transportation theme of the Expo. As you traveled the Travolator movie scenes of Washington passed you by. Eventually you ended up in an exhibit hall called Discovery Place.

I found the Soviet Union Pavilion to be interesting. The Soviets showed a movie all about how peaceful the Soviets were. I don't remember if they were still in Afghanistan at the time. The Canadians cheered the Soviet movie. My American point of view saw the movie differently. I remember the Soviet Union Pavilion at Expo '74 in Spokane as being much more sinister, what with a huge Lenin head greeting you at the entry.

The Pacific Northwest has had 3 World's Fairs. Each of them successful. Vancouver's was by far the biggest. Spokane's the smallest.

Both Seattle's Century 21 World's Fair and Vancouver's Expo '86 had monorails. Seattle's still exists. Vancouver's was dismantled after the fair and shipped to England to be re-assembled at a theme park called Alton Towers.

Ironically, Vancouver's monorail was much more useful than Seattle's. Vancouver's took you all over the fairgrounds. Seattle's monorail just went, and still goes, back and forth from Seattle Center to the heart of downtown Seattle at Westlake Center, about a one mile ride.

After Expo '86 much of what was constructed for the fair remained in use, with the False Creek zone of the fairgrounds being developed for multi-uses. It seems like keeping the Expo '86 monorail in Vancouver would have been a good thing.

The era of World's Fairs in the United States seems to have come to an end. Was it the dud in New Orleans or the one in Knoxville that discouraged other towns from going to the bother? I don't know if the world's fair in San Antonio was a dud or not. I do know the Texans built a tower, like the Space Needle, with a revolving restaurant at the top, called the Tower of the Americas.

I also know that on those rare days when it is not cloudy the view from the Space Needle's revolving restaurant is a bit more scenic than the view from the Tower of the Americas,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Skagit Valley Berry-Dairy & Loggerodeo Kiddie Parades From Long Ago

That is my sister holding Yogi Bear over head. My sister is in Sedro-Woolley. At the end of the Sedro-Woolley Loggerodeo Kiddie's Parade.

When we were little kids my mom and dad had themselves a real good time building floats for us kids to parade on.

I remember one year my brother and I were Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble with my sister being Wilma. My dad made a very well done Flintstone mobile which my brother and I pulled while my sister rode.

Weeks before being Yogi Bear in the Sedro-Woolley parade we were on the same float in the Burlington Berry-Dairy Day's Kiddie Parade.

Actually, if I'm remembering correctly, I think at that point in time the kid floats were part of the main parade, not a separate Kiddie's Parade, in Burlington.

Several of our neighbors also made floats for their kids. We all kept our floats secret until the unveiling on parade day.

There were prizes given to the floaters. Us kids took it for granted that we would win. And we did.

The first Berry Dairy parade I was in it was not on a float. Mom and dad decorated my bike. I have a picture of me and that bike and a couple other floats.

The last float that I remember was a HUGE Strawberry. My youngest sister, at the time, til another sister came along several years later, was dressed like a princess, sitting on top of the HUGE Strawberry. I can find no photo of this float.

None of us kids, except for my little sister, were on the HUGE Strawberry float. My dad was inside the HUGE Strawberry, pushing it, creating puzzlement among the parade watchers as to what was motoring that HUGE Strawberry.

If I remember right it was the HUGE Strawberry float  that was the float that had trouble getting over the railroad tracks that crossed the parade route.

The HUGE Strawberry float was to be the last float my mom and dad built. I suspect this was the last because  it was the most complicated to build, hardest to move. And there was that railroad track incident.

I wonder if there are pictures in existence of the Flintstone and HUGE Strawberry floats?

As the decades passed the Kiddie's Parades became much more mundane. I don't know if, in this century, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington still have Kiddie Parades.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Why is Mercer Island one of North America's Most Charming Islands?

Mercer Island: Home to Fantastic Fall Foliage
Every once in awhile I will read a list in a magazine, or online along the line of "Best", "Biggest", Most Fun", "Smartest' or some other attribute with the list pointing to what someone by some criteria decides deserves to be on the list.

This happened today whilst reading Fox News online, in a story titled "North America's Most Charming Fall Islands."

The premise of the list of islands is set up with the following paragraph...

Come autumn, Mother Nature's dazzling palette is the No. 1 roadside attraction. While it's great fun to drive through a forest of gold-and-crimson trees, sometimes you need a rest from the hair-trigger braking that's required on packed country roads. In an effort to minimize stress, we sought out places where you can see fabulous fall foliage without the crowds. These 12 dreamy islands have forest vistas interrupted only by sailboats, farm stands, and lighthouses.

Most of the Charming Islands I've never heard of.

The islands in the article are Vancouver Island, British Columbia; Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, New York; Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia; Sheffield Island, Norwalk, Connecticut; Monhegan Island, Port Clyde, Maine; Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls, Canada; Assateague Island, Eastern Shore, Virginia; Grand Isle, Lake Champlain, Vermont; Mackinac Island, Michigan....

And Mercer Island, Washington.

Mercer Island?

This article is recommending going to Mercer Island to view fall foliage away from packed county roads? With forest vistas interrupted only by sailboats, farm stands and lighthouses?

Below is how the Fox News article described Mercer Island...

MERCER ISLAND, King County, Wash. Enjoy the perfume of fresh cider and the spice of organic pumpkin pie from restaurants serving locally sourced food. Color-seekers in Washington State often head to Mercer Island, across from Seattle in Lake Washington, for its rare autumnal palette of changing leaves. This island of 6.2 square miles was once a retreat for the wealthy and has since become an upper-middle-class community of about 22,000 residents. Yellow-and-gold hues set the tone along the bike trails that crisscross the region. Find the best foliage in 113-acre Pioneer Park on the southern side of the island, where you're likely to see tamarack, vine-maple, red-alder, and Pacific-dogwood trees. The island's restaurant community, with its organic country cred, is a huge draw. Case in point is Bennett's Pure Food Bistro, whose meals contain ingredients sourced regionally and prepared without artificial additives. The menu changes seasonally, but at any given time you can expect to find fresh seafood straight from the waters off the coast of Alaska and vegetables foraged from Washington State. 7650 SE 27th St., bennettsbistro.com, entrées from $14.

Mercer Island is a very nice location. If you are fortunate enough to live there it usually indicates you are very well off. Mercer Island is the most populated island in a lake in the United States.

I am sure there are some nice trees on Mercer Island. I've pedaled my bike across Mercer Island a time or two. I have driven all over Mercer Island. I do not remember ever thinking, wow, look at the colorful leaves on that tree.

Now, Whidbey Island, that's another story. Whidbey Island is a little less than 170 square miles, size-wise, compared to Mercer Island's slightly more than 6 square miles. Whidbey Island has a population of almost 60,000 compared to Mercer Island's 22,000. Obviously the population density is much greater on Mercer Island.

Which Island do you think you'd see a lot fewer people on as you drove around looking at leaves? You guessed right. Whidbey. Not only that, on Whidbey Island you will actually find some forest vistas and lighthouses. On both islands you will be seeing the sailboats the article mentioned. Whidbey Island has the added charm of a lot of rhododendrons, blooming colorful in the spring. And ferry boats to and from the island. And Deception Pass Bridge to take you off the north end of the island to another island, called Fidalgo, from whence you can find another bridge to take you to the mainland.

There are no ferry boats to Mercer Island. But there is a very cool floating bridge that will take you to Seattle. Where you can also find some colorful fall foliage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Did Butch Cassidy Escape Bolivia To Die In Spokane Washington?

For years there have been those who claim that Robert Leroy Parker, also known as Butch Cassidy, bearing a striking resemblance to the late Paul Newman, was not killed in a shootout in Bolivia in 1908.

The Butch Cassidy Bolivian Death naysayers insist Butch managed to escape the Bolivian Cavalry, changed his name to William T. Phillips, moved to Spokane, where he worked as a machinist, living 29 years past his alleged Bolivian death, to die in 1937.

How Butch and Sundance met their end has always had an element of mystery attached to it. Mystery or myth.

What historians generally agree on is that Robert Leroy Parker was born in Beaver, Utah in 1866. The Parkers were a Mormon family, with 13 kids, of which Butch was the oldest. Butch Cassidy's first bank holdup took place high in the mountains of Colorado, in Telluride. After that Butch holed up with cattle rustlers in Johnson County in Wyoming at a place that came to be known as the Hole in the Wall. Butch moved on before the start of the infamous 1892 Johnson County War between homesteader and cattle barons.

After Butch left Johnson County he was caught by the law, serving a year and a half in the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie. Butch's crime was being in possession of three stolen horses. After Butch got out of prison he spent the next 20 years holding up banks and trains with the Sundance Kid and the Hole in the Wall Gang.

And now a rare books collector claims he has a manuscript with provides fresh evidence that Robert Leroy Parker survived Bolivia and moved to Spokane, where, as William T. Phillips, he penned a 200 page tale titled "Bandit Invincible: The Story of Butch Cassidy." This manuscript is dated as having been written in 1934 and is twice as long as a previous known iteration written by William T. Phillips.

In 1991 what were believed to be the bones of Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh, also known as the Sundance Kid, were exhumed from their resting place in San Vicente, Bolivia. DNA testing proved the bones were not those of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

"Bandit Invincible" claims that the Sundance Kid did die in the shootout with the Bolivian Calvary. Butch somehow managed to escape and make his way to France where he had appearance altering plastic surgery in Paris. Eventually Butch made his way back to America to Wyoming to reunite with his old girlfriend. "Bandit Invincible" does not identify the old girlfriend as Etta Place.

William T. Phillips had no offspring. Phillips was cremated. So, there is no known DNA to test against any known Butch Cassidy DNA.

So, was Spokane, Washington the final hideout for Butch Cassidy? Seems like no one can say for sure, though there are plenty of skeptics, along with plenty who think there is a lot of evidence that William T. Phillips is Butch Cassidy.

My best guess is the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid got it right. Butch and Sundance died in Bolivia. I am often wrong.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Endangered Pygmy Rabbits are Back Breeding in the Columbia Basin

That is not a baby rabbit I am holding in my hands. What it is is a Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit.

The Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are an endangered species.

Until recently it had been 10 years since Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits reproduced in their native habitat.

This past spring, Pygmy Rabbits bred in the Oregon Zoo were moved back to their native habit, on a wildlife reserve near Ephrata, Washington.

Wildlife managers have confirmed several litters of Pygmy Rabbit babies in the 6 acre wildlife reserve. Baby Pygmy Rabbits are called kits.

Previous efforts to return Pygmy Rabbits to their native habitat have failed. Pygmy Rabbits have a tough time in the wild, existing pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.

And Pygmy Rabbit moms are not Mother Nature's best mothers. After giving birth in a burrow the Pygmy Rabbit mother back fills the burrow, then takes off, returning once a day to uncover the burrow, yanking the kits to the surface, nursing them, then putting the kits back in the burrow, then sealing it up again.

Until this spring's successful breeding in the wild it is believed there were no Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits left in the wild.

I wonder if Pygmy Rabbits make good pets?

USA Today & Rand McNally Decide Walla Walla Washington is the Friendliest Town in America

USA Today and map maker Rand McNally had what they called the "Best of the Road" contest where 5 teams of scouts were sent on road trips totalling 25,000 miles over the course of 3 weeks, looking for friendly people, stunning sights, terrific tastes, patriotism and fun.

After scouring America USA Today and Rand McNally decided Walla Walla, Washington was the friendliest town they visited.

Other towns checked out were places like Rapid City, South Dakota. Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Lafayette, Louisiana. Valdosta, Georgia. Woodward, Oklahoma. Nacogdoches, Texas. Lake Havasu City, Arizona and Mount Airy, North Carolina.

A total of 30 towns were visited.

While Walla Walla was the friendliest, Sandpoint, Idaho was the most scenic. Rapid City was the most patriotic. Lafayette had the best small town food. Glenwood Springs was the town with the most fun.

In the past 10 years Walla Walla has seen a big boom in wineries, with a growing reputation for producing some of the best American wines, turning Walla Walla into a destination for connoisseurs of wine. Several of the Walla Walla Wineries have earned top scores from various wine publications like The Wine Advocate, Wine & Spirits and Wine Spectator.

The Walla Walla Wineries include Woodward Canyon, L'Ecole 41, Leonetti Cellar, Walla Walla Village Winery, Spring Valley Vineyards, Cayuse Vineyards, Reininger Winery, Waterbrook Winery,  Forgeron Cellars, Tamarack Cellars, Walla Walla Vintners, Seven Hills Winery, Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars.

Walla Walla is also known for its Walla Walla Sweet Onions. An excerpt from the Walla Walla Sweet Onions website...

"The story of the Walla Walla Sweet Onions began over a century ago on the Island of Corsica, off the west coast of Italy. It was there that a French soldier, Peter Pieri, found a sweet onion seed and brought it to the Walla Walla Valley. This sweet onion developed over generations through the process of carefully hand selecting onions from each year’s crop, ensuring exceptional sweetness, jumbo size, and round shape. Today’s growers realize they’re not just raising sweet onions, but cultivating a tradition."

Walla Walla is also known for being the location of the Washington State Penitentiary. This is the location of Washington's death row, where executions occur, by lethal injection. Or the condemned can choose to be hanged. Since 1921 the Washington State Penitentiary has been Washington's license plate factory, producing around 2,400,000 plates a year.

I am guessing the USA Today Rand McNally visitors focused more on the Walla Walla Wine and Walla Walla Sweet Onions, than the Washington State Penitentiary, when deciding Walla Walla was the friendliest town they visited.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Washington Has Almost Doubled Its Number of Obese Residents in the Past 15 Years

Somewhat surprising obesity news out of Washington today. That being that in the past 15 years Washington has almost doubled its obesity rate.

Washington's obesity rate was 13.9 % of the population in 1995, this increased to 26.4 % of Washingtonians being obese in 2011.

Washington is in an elite class of 10 states which had 90 % increases in obesity rates since 1995.

Washington is now the 28th most obese state, according to the latest data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1995 Washington was tied with California for the 32nd most obese spot.

Washington is now the most obese of the west coast states. Oregon's obesity rate is 25.4 %, California is even skinnier with a 24.8 % obesity rate.

Washington's neighbor to the east, Idaho has a 25.7 % obesity rate.

In 1998 I moved to one of America's most obese states, Texas. Since I arrived in Texas, the state has gotten less obese. I am fairly certain this shrinkage has nothing to do with my arrival in Texas.

I have noticed, when returning for visits to Washington, that many of my acquaintances. And relatives. Have grown fatter.

When I moved to Texas the entity in the photo above likely weighed around 250 pounds. The last time I saw her, in 2008, she had easily doubled, maybe tripled, in size. This entity could be the Poster Child, I mean, Adult, for Washington's obesity problem.

In Washington it is so easy to be active, outdoors, all year long. It is so easy to get fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood.

Washington needs to go on a diet, at once, and get skinnier than Oregon, California, Idaho and Texas.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The 4th of July in Western Washington

The 4th of July will be bursting out all over the Puget Sound region this extended weekend, with the 4th being on Monday.

My favorite 4th of July Parade is the Loggerodeo Parade in Sedro Woolley.

My favorite fireworks at Seattle's Family 4th on Lake Union, viewed from Gas Works Park.

Below is a list of many of the 4th of July events taking place through July 4 in Western Washington....

Aberdeen - Event: 4th of July "Splash" Fireworks Display Place: Morrison River Front Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 a.m. to late evening

Arlington - Event: Arlington Festival & Frontier Days Place: Arlington Boys and Girls Club, 59th Drive NE Date: July 4th Time: 7:00 p.m. to late evening.

Auburn - Event: Emerald Downs Fireworks Spectacular Place: 2300 Emerald Downs Drive Date: July 3rd Time: Noon to late evening

Bainbridge Island - Event: Grand Old Fourth of July Celebration. Place: Winslow Waterfront Park & Down town area Date: July 4th Time: Pancake Breakfast, Street Fair, 7:00 a.m. to late evening

Bellevue - Event: Bellevue Family Fourth Place: Bellevue Downtown Park Date: July 4th Time: 2:00 p.m. to late evening.

Blaine - Event: Old Fashioned 4th of July All day. Fireworks at dusk.

Bothell - Event: Lake Washington at Kenmore's Log Boom Park, off Bothell Way at 60th Pl. NE. Fireworks at 10 p.m.

Carnation -  Event: The Great Carnation 4th of July Celebration Place: Tolt McDonald Park Date: July 4th Time: Dusk

Centralia/Chehalis - Event: Summer Festival Borst Park Centralia Place: Fireworks Display at SW Washington Fair Grounds Date: July 4th Time: 7:00 a.m. - late evening

Eastsound - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Indian Island / East sound Waterfront Park Date: July 4th Time: Dusk/9:45 p.m.

Edmonds - Event: An Edmonds Kind of Fourth Place: Civic Stadium, 6th & Bell Date: July 4th Time: 7:30 p.m festivities, fireworks at 10:00 p.m.

Enumclaw - Event: Stars and Stripes 4th of July Celebration Place: King County Fairgrounds, Expo Center Date: July 4th Time: Parade at Noon Downtown, Fireworks at Dusk @ Expo Parking Lot

Everett - Event: Colors of Freedom Festival Place: Legion Park or Harborview Park Date: July 4th, Festivities throughout the day Time: Fireworks at Dusk, Approximately 10:20 p.m.

Everson - Event: Les Schwab/Hawley’s Fireworks Spectacular Place: Deming Speedway Date: July 2nd Time: Fireworks after the Races

Federal Way - Event: Red, White and Blues Festival - Fireworks Display & Celebrations Place: Celebration Park, 1095 S. 324th Date: July 4th Time: Fireworks Display at 10:15 p.m.

Fort Lewis - Event: Freedom Fest, Fireworks Display & Celebrations Place: Cowan Stadium Date: July 4th Time: 11:00 a.m. to late evening

Friday Harbor - Event: Picnic, Music, Parade and Fireworks Display Place: San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price St. Date: July 4 Time: 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Kenmore - Event: Fourth of July Fireworks Place: Lake Washington, Log Boom Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 p.m.

Kent - Event: 4th of July Splash, Fireworks Display Place: Lake Meridian Park Date: July 4th Time: noon - late evening fireworks at dusk

Kingston - Event: Kingston Fourth of July Celebration Place: Mike Wallace Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., fireworks at dusk

Kirkland - Event: Celebrate Kirkland Place: Marina Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:15 p.m.

Maple Valley - Event: Fourth of July Celebration Place: Lake Wilderness Park Date: July 4th Time: Dusk

Monroe - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Monroe Fairgrounds at the Speedway Date: July 4th Time: Immediately after Races

Mount Vernon - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Edgewater Park Date: July 4th Time: Approximately 10:00 p.m.

Newcastle - Event: Old Fashioned 4th of July Place: Lake Boren Park (13010 SE 84th Way) Date: July 4th Time: Dark

Orcas Island - Event: Eastsound Fireworks Display Place: Eastsound Waterfront Park Date: July 4th Time: 9:45 p.m.

Port Orchard - Event: Fathoms of Fun Festival Place: View from Port Orchard, Bremerton and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Date: July 4th Time: 10:30

Port Townsend - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Fort Worden State Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 p.m.

Poulsbo - Event: Third of July Celebration Place: over Liberty Bay—view from Anderson Parkway and Waterfront Park Date: July 3rd Time: Booths open at 5:00 p.m., fireworks at 10:15 p.m.

Puyallup - Event: City Blast Fireworks Show Place: Puyallup Fair Grand Stands Date: July 4th Time: 9:45 p.m.

Renton - Event: Fabulous Fourth of July Place: Gene Coulton Memorial Beach Park Date: July 4th Time: Events mid morning to 9:30 p.m. fireworks 10:00 p.m.

Sammamish - Event: Fourth on the Plateau Place: Sammamish Commons Park Date: July 4th Time: Approximately 10:00 p.m.

San Juan - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Friday Harbor Date: July 4th Time: After parade at approximately 10:00 p.m.

Seattle - Event: Family 4th at Lake Union Place: Gas Works Park Date: July 4th Time: Noon through late evening. The show will be simulcast on 97.3 KIRO FM and will be televised on KING 5 and streamed on KING5.com. Dennis Bounds, Meeghan Black and Jim Dever will bring you all the festivities - including a live post-fireworks concert by Seattle's own Dusty 45s.

Sekiu - Event: Clallam Bay Sekiu Fun Days Place: Fireworks Off of Olson’s Breakwater in Sekiu Date: July 9th-11th Time: Dusk

Silver Lake - Event: Fireworks Display Place: Silver Shores Resort, 4220 Spirit Lake Hwy Date: July 3rd Time: Dusk

Steilacoom - Event: Steilacoom Old Fashioned 4th of July - Fireworks Display & Celebrations Place: Lafayette Street, Down Town Date: July 4th Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Tacoma - Event: Freedom Fair and Fireworks Extravaganza Place: Rustin Way Waterfront Park Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 a.m. till late evening

Tumwater - Event: Tumwater Artesian Festival Place: Tumwater Valley Golf Course Date: July 4th Time: 11:00 a.m. parade, Festival 6:00 p.m., Fireworks at 10:30 p.m.

Whidbey Island - Event: Celebrate America Place: Freeland Park, 140 E. Main St., Freeland Date: July 3rd Time: 4:00-6:00, fireworks at dusk

Yarrow Point - Event: Yarrow Point Community 4th Place: Cozy Cove Date: July 4th Time: 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spencer Jack & Your Hometown Fidalgo Drive-In Family Restaurant in Anacortes Washington

That is my great nephew (or is it grand nephew?) Spencer Jack in the picture getting ready to have a root beer float in his dad's restaurant, the Fidalgo Drive-In.

I last saw Spencer Jack's dad, my nephew Jason, in April of 2006 when I was in the Skagit Valley of Washington for Jason's wedding. The wedding reception was held at Jason's previous restaurant, Eaglemont Pavilion, in Mount Vernon.

At some point in time, after 2006, Jason opened the Fidalgo Drive-In in Anacortes. I thought I'd been told Jason's restaurant was called Jason's Grub.

This morning my sister emailed me some pictures. One picture was of Jason's brother, Joey, clam digging on Samish Island and one was of Jason at Bay View State Park, wearing a shirt that said Fidalgo Drive-In on it.

I Googled Fidalgo Drive-In to find Jason has a website for his restaurant. Unfortunately the website does not come up in the #1 position due to it being a flash based website. Those do not index well with the search engines.

Checking out the Fidalgo Drive-In website I see Jason has a lot of tempting seafood. I miss Pacific Northwest seafood. I remember the first time I dropped in on Jason's Eaglemont Pavilion he made me cod and fries. Very good cod.

Several other websites have reviews of Jason's restaurant. Below is what some of the Fidalgo Drive-In diners had to say........

Terry V. said....

Great milkshakes!

Sean B. said....

Holy mother of crab, this place was delicious!

After a long, relaxing weekend in the San Juans, my boyfriend and I were dreading the drive from Anacortes to Tacoma. Thankfully, my filling experience at Fidalgo made the journey a tolerable experience.

I had the crab sandwich, which amounted to a giant lump of buttery crab, wedged between a bun. There may have been some vegetables wedged in there, but who cares? It was loaded with crab! The onion rings were also served in generous portions, and soft-serve ice cream was a-plenty in the root beer floats.

I will definitely make a point of stopping here on my next trip to the San Juans!

Chris C. said....

Cool!  A first review!  A former A&W.  Went on a Saturday at lunch with a party of seven into an almost full restaurant.  Put in a big order and it came rather fast.

The food was good and a more than you would expect from a drive-in/fast food place.  Had a selection of burgers, corn dogs, regular fries, curly fries, tater tots, soup, and root beer floats.   All was good. The root beer floats were huge!  The tater tots were crispy and probably the best I have ever had.  The soup was Ivar's, can't go wrong there.

The menu had quite a selection and enough choices to satisfy any group.  Service was friendly.  Place was clean.

Jordan B. said....

Really good burgers and amazing waffle fries. The French Dip was pretty good, but the burgers are better. Pretty big menu for such a small place. Cheese curds are awesome.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wikipedia Has An Article About Burlington-Edison High School

I am not much of a fan of Facebook.


This afternoon I came upon something that seemed Facebook share-worthy.

Share-worthy with Facebook Friends who also happen to be people I went to high school with in Washington.

Burlington, Washington, to be precise.

Burlington-Edison High School to be even more precise.

The Share-worthy thing was being surprised to find Wikipedia has an article about Burlington-Edison High School.

I tried to share this on Facebook, via the Facebook share status deal. But, apparently I can not concisely explain anything. Facebook kept telling me I was way above the permitted number of words. I grew tired of trying to whittle down the length.

Then I remembered I have blogs.

So, I decided since Burlington-Edison High School is in Washington, this could go on my Washington Blog where I can be as long-winded as I want with no one able to tell me to quit talking so much.

I tried to find a picture of the old high school, to no avail. Then I remembered one in an annual. I scanned it. So, there is now a picture on the internet of the long-demolished old high school many of us went to school in.

I also saw a picture of myself that I don't remember. It appears we are some sort of totem pole with me at the top. I can tell that right below me is Janice J., below Janice is Beth S., aka Honey Lulu, below Honey is Lori M., aka Carlotta Camano, below Carlotta is a little blond twerp named Jake, who also happens to be my brother.

I'm digressing badly from what I read in the Wikipedia article about B-EHS.

One interesting part of the article is a list of 6 notable B-E graduates.

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that I was not on the list of notables.

Of the six notables, I knew of three. Edward R. Murrow, Mary Mapes and the most notable, number one on the list, Danielle Fisher, youngest daughter of Jerome and Karen Fisher, who happens to be the youngest person to climb to the summit of the tallest mountain on each of the 7 continents.

One of the six notables confused me. "Ezekiel Engle- Best football player to never get a start because of Shearer."

Shearer? Who is Shearer? Then when I read the rest of the article I learned that in recent years a guy, last name of Shearer, has been the B-E football coach. I suspect someone named Ezekiel Engle had himself a little Wikipedia editing fun. The entry may have been deleted by now.

The following paragraph also confused me...

The Tiger football team has won state championships in 1971, 1977 and 1986 led by legendary Glenn Rickert. The Tigers have found recent success in the past decade under coach Bruce Shearer. They have made the state playoffs 6 straight years from 2005 and present, including a state championship run against the Prosser Mustangs in 2007.

It has been a few years, and my memory is not what it used to be. But, I do not remember there being high school football playoffs ending with a champion. I do remember B-E ending up in the top spot in those poll type things they do for football. But, I also remember going to a B-E football game in the Kingdome in the late 80s or early 90s. That had to be some sort of championship/tournament game.

I won't rest until I get to the bottom of this B-EHS football state championships mystery.

I had not heard of the B-EHS Intelligent Design Scandal til reading the Wikipedia article.

Football is almost as big a deal in Burlington as it is in Texas. I learned something new about Burlington football in the below paragraph....

The football game between the Burlington-Edison Tigers and the Mount Vernon Bulldogs, known as the "Battle of the Bridge" is played every year either at Kirkby Field or Bulldog Stadium. The Tigers have won the past 8 meetings from 2003 to present, recently winning the 105th battle at Kirkby Field 20-6.

You do not grow up in Burlington and not know that the annual football game between Mount Vernon and Burlington is a big deal. But, I do not ever remember hearing the game called the "Battle of the Bridge."

I do remember one year, I think it was after I was out of high school. Burlington and Mount Vernon were number 1 and 2 in the football poll, with the winner the state champion, as determined, then, I think, by poll. I remember the game was played in Burlington, with extra bleachers brought in, creating a sort of bowl-like effect.

I am almost 100% certain Burlington won that "Battle of the Bridge" and thus one more state championship.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Visiting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument 31 Years After the May 18, 1980 Eruption

In the picture you are looking at a screencap of the USDA Forest Service's website for Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

It is 31 years ago, this morning, that Mount St. Helens erupted.

There was no such thing as a website when the mountain blew up. And now Mount St. Helens has a website. From the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument website....

At 8:32 Sunday Morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Erupted. Mount St. Helens Shaken by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, the north face of this tall symmetrical mountain collapsed in a massive rock debris avalanche. In a few moments this slab of rock and ice slammed into Spirit Lake, crossed a ridge 1,300 feet high, and roared 14 miles down the Toutle River.

The avalanche rapidly released pressurized gases within the volcano. A tremendous lateral explosion ripped through the avalanche and developed into a turbulent, stone-filled wind that swept over ridges and toppled trees. Nearly 150 square miles of forest was blown over or left dead and standing.

At the same time a mushroom-shaped column of ash rose thousands of feet skyward and drifted downwind, turning day into night as dark, gray ash fell over eastern Washington and beyond. Wet, cement-like slurries of rock and mud scoured all sides of the volcano. Searing flows of pumice poured from the crater. The eruption lasted 9 hours, but Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape were dramatically changed within moments.

A vast, gray landscape lay where once the forested slopes of Mount St. Helens grew. In 1982 the President and Congress created the 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument for research, recreation, and education. Inside the Monument, the environment is left to respond naturally to the disturbance.

It is hard to grasp that the eruption was over 3 decades ago. I remember the morning of the eruption as if it happened yesterday.

From my location at the time of the eruption, in Mount Vernon, in the Skagit Valley, about 150 miles north, what I heard was 5 loud, concussive booms, like bombs exploding. About 15 minutes later a neighbor informed me that the volcano had exploded. The rest of that day, and several to follow, were spent watching incredible sights on TV.

Before the eruption, while the mountain was having fits fortelling the explosion, after a large area surrounding St. Helens had been ordered closed by then Washington State Governor, Dixie Lee Ray, I drove down to the St. Helens zone to see if I could get a look at the smoldering volcano. I could get about 30 miles from it. But I saw nothing. It was too cloudy.

About 10 years after Mount St. Helens exploded I drove into the blast zone for the first time. This was before a marvel of engineering highway was built that takes you all the way to the Johnson Ridge Observatory and its direct view into the crater.

My first drive into the blast zone was over a logging road. The logging road twisted and turned through a dense forest of tall firs. And then, suddenly a turn in the road and I was in the blast zone. Utter destruction. Remains of trees knocked over like toothpicks. The further I drove in the more utter the destruction. After a few miles it was nothing but scorched earth.

And then you come to the overlook of the remains of Spirit Lake. And a view looking into the gaping hole in the side of Mount St. Helens.

Almost another 10 years later I revisited the now Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The new highway built to take you to the mountain is one of the most scenic I have ever driven on. There are several visitors centers, all interesting, as you drive into the Monument.

This would have been in, I think, 1998. It was astonishing how much recovering Mother Nature had done. There was vegetation growing again on the blast zone. Animals had returned. The park service had built many facilities. And trails. It was hard to believe you were at ground zero of a force of nature many times stronger than the most poweful nuclear bomb.

If you are planning a visit to Washington and the Pacific Northwest, trust me, you do not want to miss driving the Spirit Lake Highway all the way to Johnson Ridge Observatory.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Start of Sound Transit's University Link Has Me Thinking About Tunnel Ventilation in Seattle

Yesterday Senator Patty Murray ran a bottle of champagne down a zipline to christen a pair of tunnel digging machines that will be working next to each other to dig southbound and northbound tunnels under Capitol Hill to connect the University of Washington with Capitol Hill and Westlake Center,

This will be Sound Transit's University Link of the ever growing Puget Sound light rail system.

University Link will cost around $2 billion. The tunnel part of the link is two miles long. The tunneling phase will last 14 to 18 months, with the link scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Soon the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunneling will begin. Seattle has a lot of tunneling going on.

All this tunneling had me thinking back to when the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel was built back in the 1990s. That tunnel was built with future rail in mind. But, they got the rails wrong and that had to be re-done. The buses that run in the Seattle Transit Tunnel have to be dual buses. Meaning they run on both diesel and electricity. This makes for very expensive buses.

To enter the tunnel a bus has to stop and attach the electric power from a line over head.

I remembering wondering at the time the transit tunnel was built why a ventilation system was not doable, rather than having to have dual powered buses.

Now I'm really wondering about this, due to the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel. Vehicles entering that tunnel will not be required to be dual powered vehicles. The Viaduct replacement tunnel is deeper than the Seattle Transit Tunnel.

So, how is the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel to be ventilated? It seems like a tunnel with cars running through it is going to generate a lot more to ventilate than buses running through a tunnel.

The need for the dual buses in the Seattle Transit Tunnel, rather than ventilation, has perplexed me for almost 20 years. And now it perplexes me more than ever.

Monday, May 16, 2011

On July 1 You Will Need A Discover Pass to Discover Washington State Parks

Way back in 2004 I was in Washington and discovered that you now needed a permit to park at Rosario Beach in Deception Pass State Park. Or to park at the parking lot at the south end of the bridge. Not long after that I read that the public did not like having to buy permits to play on Washington State Public Park Lands. And so the park fee revenue raising scheme was dropped.

I remember being appalled when I learned Washington had gone to such a fee scheme. When I moved to Texas one of the things I was surprised by was the fact that to enter a Texas State Park you either pay an entry free or buy a season's pass.

I think the last year I bought a Texas park pass it cost around $60. I don't know what it costs in 2011.

Texas was charging the entry fees back when the state did not have budget woes.

Washington is now resorting back to state park entry fees, due to the state's budget crisis, with shrinking revenue generated by current taxes not bringing in enough money to maintain existing parks.

The Annual Pass in Washington is called The Discover Pass and costs $30. Any vehicle you want to drive on to public state park land will require the $30 sticker on the windshield. If you are caught without a sticker it is a $99 fine.

Day passes cost $10.

The Discover Pass gives you access to nearly 7 million acres of state recreation lands in Washington, including:

    * More than 100 developed state parks
    * More than 350 primitive recreation sites, including campgrounds and picnic areas
    * Nearly 700 water access points
    * Nearly 2,000 miles of designated water and land recreation trails
    * More than 80 natural areas
    * More than 30 wildlife areas

Visitors from out of state will need to buy a pass to enter Washington State Park Land.

Washington State's budget shortfall is projected to be in the $5 billion range. The Discover Pass is expected to being in $64 million every two years.

$64 million?

That is barely a tiny dent in a $5 billion deficit.

The Discover Pass goes into play on July 1, 2011.

I think this Discover Pass idea is wrong in so many ways. First off, the concept of state parks is to provide recreational opportunity for everyone. Charging a set fee for that access is a very regressive tax.

How many families barely getting by, will now forego going to a state park? How much revenue will be lost due to fewer customers buying stuff at businesses that operate near state parks? Like stores selling supplies, fast food joints and others.

If the amount being raised is only $64 million, why not come up with some other means of raising that relatively paltry sum? How about a special Bill Gates tax? It'd be sorta anti-regressive and probably all sorts of not legal.

But Bill Gates makes an awful lot of money with his Microsoft operations in Washington. I know Bill Gates already gets nicked for a lot of taxes, in various ways, but, $64 million, every two years, to keep Washington's State Parks open to everyone, that seems like a bargain.

Bill Gates grew up in Washington. And it still is his home, even though he could live anywhere he wanted to in the world. I'm sure Bill Gates has been to Washington State Parks many times over the years.

If I were Bill Gates, the state legislature would not have to pass some special tax Bill Gates to keep the parks open for free law. I'd just call the governor and ask what I could do to help stop this Discover Pass thing from going into play.

The state may be having a serious budget crisis, but it found enough money to make a Discover Pass website.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Building of the Seattle Space Needle Began on this Day 50 Years Ago

I am not 100% certain, but I believe Sunday, April 17, 2011 marks the 50th Anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Seattle Space Needle.

Construction was completed by December of 1961. Four months later the Seattle World's Fair, known as the Century 21 Exposition, opened, on April 22, 1962, with the first visitors taking the elevator ride to the top of the needle.

The legend of the Space Needle has it that it started in 1959 with a sketch on a napkin. Edward Carlson, at the time the president of Western International Hotels, had been inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany, and so he drew a futuristic looking tower.

The final design had a flying saucer with a rotating restaurant at the top.

And thus one of the most iconic images of the Pacific Northwest was born.

I did not realize until I read it somewhere recently, that the residential towers in the Jetsons cartoon, back in the early 60s, had been inspired by the Space Needle.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We Love It In Seattle

This morning Betty Jo Bouvier, the Wild Woman of Woolley, emailed me a link to an amusing video about Seattle.

The subject line of Betty Jo's email was "Fun Seattle Stuff You May Remember."

Watching the video I remembered a lot of it. I do not remember Ike (President Eisenhower) coming to Seattle. Nor do I remember JFK. I do remember Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter coming to Seattle. Of those, I saw Ford and Carter.

Ford on the Seattle Waterfront and Carter in a hangar at Boeing Field.

In the video you see Northwest icon, Dick Balch. A few days ago Speedo commented about the blogging I wrote about meeting Dick Balch.

Speedo commented....

I've been wondering whatever happened to Dick Balch for a long time (maybe a year, anyway, which at my age seems shorter than it used to be, but not as short as my memory). Finally I remembered to think about aforesaid Balch while i was near a computer (not knowing nothing about no smartfone). So i put his name into a browser (okay, i googled it). And up this popped. 

When I was a student at Western about 1972-74 thereabouts, Balch was a featured speaker at the college, about which i mainly remember the laugh. I think it was supposed to be about how there are many paths to success in this world; at least, that's what I now assume, based on something or nothing at all. Then that laugh enters the consciousness (mine) and i can't remember anything after that. 

At least i don't have to think about googling 'Dick Balch' anymore; at least until that laugh comes back, then i may have to repeat like it was Groundhog's Day. Maybe next time i'll be sophisticated enough that i won't even use Capital Letters for his name. There's always hope.

In the "We Love It In Seattle" video below you will see floating bridges, a lot of rain, Burgermaster, Dag's Beefy Boy Burgers, Olympia Beer, JP Patches, Gertrude, Brakeman Bill, Wanda Wanda, Stan Boreson, 707s, KJR95, Olympia Beer, Elvis, Ike, Keith Jackson, the Beatles in the coliseum, the Space Needle, the World's Fair, Elvis making a movie at the Seattle World's Fair, Dan Evans beating Albert Rosselini for Governor, Huskies with the Rose Bowl, Don James, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Kingsmen, Bobo, Namu, JFK at the UW, the Seattle Pilots, the arrival of the Sonics, Slick Watts, Scoop Jackson, Bob Rule, Jimi Hendrix in a Purple Haze, the aforementioned  Dick Balch, Ted Bundy, Sonny Sixkiller, Jumbo Jets, Seattle Slew, Judge Bolt, Ray Seales, King Tut, Kingdome, D.B. Cooper, Dixie Lee Ray, Warren Magnuson, Bruce Lee, World Champion Sonics, the Seattle Seven, Ivar Hagland keeping clam, Trident submarine, teacher strikes, last one out turn out the lights, Steve Largent, Jim Zorn, Spencer Haywood, Heart, Junior Cadillac, Mt. St. Helens, Bill Gates, Rosylyn Summers, Kenny G, Huskies/Cougars Apple Cup, Green River Killer, Brian Bosworth and California moving in.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Carlotta Camano has Caused Me to Learn What I Did Not Know About the Seattle Sounders

In the picture you are looking at Carlotta Camano shivering while watching a Seattle Sounders soccer game at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Carlotta and her husband have season tickets to the Sounders' games.

Until Carlotta mentioned she was going to a Sounders game I did not realize the Seattle Sounders were back playing soccer again.

Decades ago, in 1974, I went to the first Seattle Sounders game. It was played in Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center. I had never been a fan of soccer but I greatly enjoyed the spectacle of a packed stadium, with Mount Rainier glowing bright to the south.

Two years later, on April 25, 1976 the Sounders played the New York Cosmos before 58,218 soccer watchers in the first sporting event to take place in the now long gone Kingdome.

Soccer has had a tough time catching on in the United States. It's been struggling to do so for decades. The Seattle Sounders played their games in the Kingdome until 1979 when they moved to the Seattle Center Coliseum. In 1982 the Seattle Sounders ceased to exist.

I do not remember if the Seattle Sounders ceased to exist because the North American Soccer League folded, or if they got stolen from Seattle like what happened with the Seattle Supersonics when the evil Oklahoma entity known as Aubrey McClendon stole the Sonics, moving the basketball team to Oklahoma City.

In 1994 a new Seattle Sounders soccer team was born, playing in something called the American Professional Soccer League. In 1997 the Sounders became part of something called the USL First Division, which was a second tier level of the American soccer hierarchy.

In 2008 the Seattle Sounders morphed into a new Major League Soccer franchise owned by Hollywood producer, Joe Roth as the majority owner, with minority owners Microsoft Billionaire, Paul Allen and funnyman Drew Carey.

The Seattle Sounders FC soccer team was the new league's 15th team. The first game for the new team was played on March 19, 2009. Since its start the Seattle Sounders FC have sold out Qwest Field for every match, with the highest average attendance in the MLS, along with leading the league in season ticket sales.

The Seattle Sounders FC was the second expansion team in MLS history to win something called the U.S. Open Cup, doing so in 2009, and then repeating the win in 2010 to become the first team to win the Open Cup two years in a row.

There is also a Seattle Sounders women's soccer team which started playing in 2003. The women play in the United Soccer Leagues W-League. The Seattle Sounders women play at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

I do not now if Carlotta Camano also goes to the Seattle Sounders women's games. I do know that Carlotta Camano used to play soccer. I do not believe she played the game professionally.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Wild Women of Woolley Are Calling It Quits After a Final Show This Coming Saturday

In the picture you are looking at three of the "Wild Women of Woolley."

And one "Wild Man."

The Wild Women of Woolley have been a Skagit Valley institution for 17 years of having fun and raising money, appearing in parades and Sedro-Woolley's annual Loggerodeo.

This coming Saturday, March 19, you will have your last chance to see the Wild Women of Woolley at Sedro-Woolley's American Legion Hall at 6:30 pm.

The Wild Women of Woolley decided to dis-band a month after the death of the group's director/co-founder, Corey Corkill.

The show on Saturday is a tribute to Corey Corkill.

The only Wild Woman of Woolley that I know is Betty Jo Bouvier. I do not know if Betty Jo is performing in Saturday's show.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tacoma Yelps at the Valentines Day List of the 5 Most Romantic Cities in America

In the picture you are looking at Mount Rainier, in the background and in the foreground you are looking at a restaurant on the waterfront of what the user-review website known as Yelp has scientifically determined, just in time for Valentines Day, is the Most Romantic City in America.

Tacoma, Washington.

Yelp based their determination of the Most Romantic City by looking at when a particular city's Yelpers began their Valentine's Day searching, which cities were most active in Valentine's Day type searching, which cities had the most Valentine's Day engagements and by looking at what the most popular businesses in a particular town are on Valentines Day.

And somehow Tacoma, the town that used to be known for its aroma, is now to be known as the Most Romantic City in America.

Yelp's Romantic City list consisted of the 5 Most Romantic Cites....

1. Tacoma, Washington
2. Los Angeles, California
3. Santa Cruz, California
4. New Haven, Connecticut
5. El Paso, Texas 

New Haven? Santa Cruz? El Paso? Tacoma?

Yelp has come up with one of the more goofy lists that I've seen in awhile.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Case of the Missing Sedro-Woolley Gas Pump

A few days ago Betty Jo Bouvier woke to find her antique Chevron Gas Pump that had functioned as Yard Art for years was missing.

Someone in Sedro-Woolley is a rather brazen thief to heist something so big from someone's yard.

And due to the size of the Gas Pump it seems likely more than one thief did the Gas Pump heisting.

If anyone has seen a Chevron Gas Pump show up lately please email Bettty Jo Bouvier and tell her where you saw her Missing Gas Pump.

Thank you in advance for helping find the stolen Gas Pump

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are You Smarter Than Sedro Woolley & Portlandia?

Apparently there are some residents of a couple Pacific Northwest towns who are slightly offput by a little attention from a couple types of media.

On Friday the Independent Film Channel (IFC) premiered a new comedy called Portlandia that sort of mocks Portland's liberated liberalness.

The YouTube video below is an intro to Portlandia.

And then, north of Portland, up in the Skagit Valley of Washington, the town of Sedro Woolley is being the butt of a Bellingham radio station's idea of a joke.

Two disc jockeys, John Reynolds and Brad Cash on 92.9 KISM, since August, have been running a segment on their morning show called "Are You Smarter Than Sedro-Woolley?"

Apparently the humor is based on the supposed stereotype that a lot of people view Sedro Woolley as a "redneck" town.

I grew up in the town just to the west of Sedro Woolley, Burlington. Somehow Woolley's reputation as a redneck town escaped my attention. I do recollect mention made of Sedro Woolley having some Tarheels in their schools, with Tarheels being people who came from the Deep South and who lived somewhere upriver from Sedro Woolley.

I don't actually understand how this radio contest works. Apparently the disc jockeys call someone living in their broadcast range, but out of Sedro Woolley, asking 2 current event type questions and one Sedro Woolley question that is, according to disc jockey, Cash, "A redneck kind of question."

I have no idea what a redneck kind of question might be. Or how answering these type questions somehow makes You Smarter Than Sedro Woolley.

Seems like a better question might be Are You Smarter Than These 2 Dumb Disc Jockeys?

Anyway, below is the aforementioned Portlandia video......

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Orca Pod is Touring the Seattle Area Off Alki Point

A small pod of Orcas, possibly members of the L-Pod, were spotted off Seattle's Alki Point yesterday.

I do not think there is a sight on the Puget Sound more amazing than seeing an Orca pod.

It seems appalling now, the fact that years ago, in the 1960s, that Orcas, then more commonly known as Killer Whales, were being hunted and trapped in Puget Sound, primarily due to the efforts of a guy named Ted Griffin.

Griffin bought a 22 foot long male Orca that was caught in a floating salmon net near Namu, British Columbia. Hence the name of the most famous Orca ever. Namu.

Namu was brought to Seattle where he quickly become a popular attraction of the Seattle Aquarium, living in his floating pen in Elliott Bay. Ted Griffin soon captured another Orca, a female, named her Shamu and shacked her up with Namu.

Namu and Shamu did not get along. Namu survived just a little of a year in Killer Whale Prison, found dead in his cell on July 9, 1966.

Shamu continued in captivity, eventually being sold to Sea World in San Diego. I believe eventually, Shamu, or another Orca bearing that famous name, was sold to the landlocked Sea World in San Antonio, Texas.

In quickly growing numbers, residents of Washington wanted an end to the inhumane treatment of their fellow mammals. Soon the state legislature put a stop to Ted Griffin's Orca Operations.

I have seen an Orca Pod pass through Deception Pass.That was an impressive thing to see.

But, my most impressive Orca Pod encounter occurred out in the San Juan Islands, off Lopez Island. I was fishing for salmon with my mom and dad. Suddenly we were surrounded by an Orca Pod, including two babies. A couple of the Orcas got very close to the boat, looking right at us, as if to say "hello." The Orcas acted very playful, sort of like Dolphins. And then just as suddenly as they'd shown up, they were gone.

This Orca Incident pre-dated digital cameras. And I had no old-fashioned camera with me. But, from that day forth I vowed, as best I could remember, to never be without a camera again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seattle Seahawk's 12th Man Gives Seattle An Advantage the Dallas Cowboys Lack

The Wednesday Dallas Morning News had an article written by a reporter named Tim Cowlishaw who has attended a game or two in Qwest Field in Seattle.

The theme of this article was trying figure out what caused the Dallas Cowboys to fail so miserably in their attempt to play in the first Super Bowl to be played in the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium.

The title of the article is, "What the 8 remaining playoff teams have that the Cowboys don't."

As I was reading what each of the 8 NFL Playoff teams had, that Dallas did not have, I had no idea what the Seattle Seahawks had going for them that the Dallas Cowboys lacked.

I had forgotten about Seattle's infamous 12th Man.

With that Man being the extremely loud fans. Those fans are so loud that on Saturday's game, where they beat the defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, at one point in the game,  where a Seahawk made a spectacular touchdown, the cacophony that that touchdown released, via the 12th Man, caused a nearby seismograph to register the cacophony as an earthquake.

Below is the blurb in the Dallas Morning News about Seattle's boisterous fans, compared with the Dallas fans watching a game in their new metal sardine can.....

SEATTLE – 12th Man

It won't help the Seahawks this week, but while every team says it appreciates the home fans, in Seattle this isn't just lip service. Having been to Qwest Field both for Romo's famous botched snap and the only NFC title game the Seahawks ever won, I will vouch for Seahawk fans. The place is crazy.

As for Cowboys Stadium, well, Jerry Jones figured out how to pack 100,000 people in there. But he also created a cavernous building in which half the fans stare at the big screen hoping to see themselves. A 2-6 home record in 2010 speaks loudly.

Like Seattle.--Tim Cowlishaw

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Seattle Seahawks Fix Beer Scandal Before Saturday's New Orleans Saints Game

A seemingly inebriated pseudo scientist caused an Internet Scandal to erupt when he posted a YouTube video ostensibly showing that beer being sold at Qwest Field in Seattle during Seattle Seahawk games had a bit of a scam element.

Qwest Field was selling large beer 20 ounce beers for a $1.25 more than the small 16 ounce beers.

Trouble was, the "small" beer container and the "large" beer container held the same amount of beer.

At the end of the evidenciary video the "scientist" exhorts viewers to call the cops and report this scandalous scam.

Apparently the cops were called. Or maybe they weren't.

But, somehow the Seattle Seahawks got the news that they were running a scam which lead to the late Friday admission by the Seahawks that there was a problem with their beer cup sizes. An internal Seahawk/Qwest Field investigation revealed that the smaller cups, while labeled as being a 16 ounce size, actually held 20 ounces.

So, to make up for this outrageous bilking of the beer drinking Qwest Field Seahawk Football fans, for today's game between Seattle and the New Orleans Saints the Seahawks plans to serve all drinks in the 20 ounce cups, but will be charging fans the price of a 16 ounce cup.

Below is the YouTube video that served to right this wrong..........