Washington, sometimes called "Washington State", "the other Washington" or the "good Washington" is the northwesternmost state in the contiguous United States.
It is named for its first permanent settlement, which was founded where trappers and traders used to gather every few weeks to scrub their dirty apparel.
The official language of Washington State is Chinook, widely spoken by lumberjacks, fur trappers, fishermen, and drunken grunge music fans. Typical words in Chinook include muckleshoot (which means to give the casino all your money) and skookumchuck (which means to blow salmon chunks).
Washington is divided into western and eastern halves by the rugged Cascade Mountains. People on the dry side of the mountains vote funny. You probably shouldn't call them out on this, though, because the dry side of the mountains used to be in the nuke-making business.
Cities and towns
- Seattle: Largest city, home of a baseball team that won more games in one season than any other team except the 1906 Chicago Cubs and STILL couldn't make it into the World Series. Votes Communist most of the time. Their pathetic little grunge-zine, The Stranger (founded about 1992) is still a viable newspaper today, which reveals more than one would want to know about Seattle.
- Bellevue: Where they make them Microsoft Win-doze and stuff. (Or is that Redmond? I forgot.)
- Everett: Where they make them aer-e-o-planes and stuff.
- Forks: DO NOT drive into this town with any bumper stickers expressing environmentalist viewpoints. You have been warned. Spotted owl barbecue is the local delicacy. You will be safe, however, if you have pale, sparkly skin and a taste for blood. The exact cultural opposite of Olympia.
- Olympia: A notorious hangout for "riot grrls", anarcho-crusties, and animal rights extremists. The KFC there gets vandalized on cue every few months. Home of The Evergreen State College. Was once the source of the main competitor with Coors for "nastiest cheap beer west of the Mississippi". The exact cultural opposite of Forks.
- Richland/Kennewick/Pasco: Technically three different towns but usually thought of as one place, the "Tri-Cities". Everything glows in the dark, and if you have a Geiger counter it will go off the scale at times. Kindred spirits: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Pripyat, Ukraine.
- Spokane: aka Spokaloo, "The Funnel", and some other unprintable names. A fun little city of
flophouses, hobo jungleser, that was so 50 years ago...no wait, it's still true today...and Hells Angels, pawn shops lining East Sprague, an old World's Fair site, snowplows mounted on seemingly every pickup truck, and abandoned aluminum plants. Has streets with names like Thor Street and Freya Street and suburbs with names like Dishman and Medical Lake.
- Tacoma: Three claims to fame--a now-defunct aluminum smelter that provided local lawns with a constant shower of arsenic and other heavy metals, a paper mill, also defunct, that closed years ago but smelled so bad that even now the town still has a strong aroma of overcooked Brussels sprouts and feet, and the status as the most stressful city in America.
- Fife: A city just across the bridge from Tacoma which houses the jail, the port, and a casino...making it even more of a hellhole. It also has a million RV dealers.
- Vancouver: If you made hotel reservations there for the 2010 Winter Olympics, you were probably disappointed.
- Walla Walla: The town so nice they named it twice. Or wait, wasn't that this place?
- Yakima: Where the men are men and the yaks are nervous.
- Pullman: A college town with a football team so pathetic that their fans feel the need to fly the school flag wherever ESPN's College Gameday is broadcasting (which is never in Pullman).
- George: Get it? George, Washington. Founded in 1957 by a man named Charlie Brown. Founded for the most pragmatic of reasons -- something had to be located at Exit 149 of Interstate 90. (To date, Washington has no town named "Martha.")
- Bremerton: The only notable location of interest here is the Puget Sound Naval Yard where several major US capital ships are rotting away.
- Bad musical styles inspired by too much rain in the early 1990s.
- Bad fashion influences due to the aforesaid musicians dressing for rain.
- Starbucks coffee helps keep people warm in the rain.
- Plutonium-based nuclear weapons will end the rain...forever.
- Mel's Hole - a bottomless pit that brings dead pets back to life.
- The Twilight fantasy novel series (and movies based on the novels) were set in the small town of Forks, Washington.
- Sleepless in Seattle and Grey's Anatomy present Seattle with far less cloudy days than in reality.
Washington is notorious for joke and crank political candidates. "Mike the Mover" (his real name) and "Prophet Atlantis" (his real name) are on the ballot seemingly every election for some office or another. Spoof ballot initiatives are also common. In the 1990s, the religious right attempted to put an initiative on the ballot banning adoption by homosexual couples. In response, a competing initiative was filed to ban adoption by right-wing Christian fundamentalists. The initiatives had otherwise identical wording. Later in 2003, in response to a several-years-long rash of initiatives filed by libertarian activist Tim Eyman, another activist filed an initiative to have the voters proclaim Tim Eyman a "Horse's Ass".
In 1989 the second biggest political debate in the state was over whether to change the state song from "Washington, My Home" to either "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen, or "Our State is a Dumpsite" by Dana Lyons. (The biggest debate of course was over whether to save the purple speckled spotted cockroach and put 90% of the loggers out of work).
This Washington versus that Washington
One annoying aspect of living in a state that shares its name with the nation's capital is that, during campaign season, it's common to see ads portraying political opponents as being more sympathetic to the culture of the other Washington than to that of the State of Washington.
The following two videos from the 2010 campaign are typical. Both candidates were running for the same seat that was being vacated by a retiring congressman. The highest elected office either of these candidates has held was in the Washington State Legislature. Neither have ever been elected to a statewide office.
The National Republican Congressional Committee returns fire:
Of course, the irony of this is that all congressional candidates lust after the chance to become part of the culture of the District of Columbia. In fact, politicians disparaging the culture of Washington, D.C., is part of the culture of the nation's capitol.
sing screech along. "Everything sucks / everything's my fault / I'm a creep / I'm so depressed / MAAAARY! / Black hole sun / my dad's a heroin addict / and Jeremy spoke in claaaass todaaaay"
Not suprisingly there's a widespread movement too get rid of this song.
The Cascade range has a row of active volcanoes, Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Glacier Peak. St. Helens erupted in 1980 and blew its top, clogging air filters and blotting out the sun from Seattle to Yakima and creating a thriving cottage industry of trinket sellers making tourist souveniers made of "real Mt. St. Helens ash". Any of the other volcanoes could erupt at any time. You have been warned.
- Jimi Hendrix (he went to Britain for some sun, and to get famous)
- Kurt Cobain, who wound up emulating Mt. St. Helens.
- Bill "Rich guy" Gates
- Bob "get your pets spayed or neutered" Barker
- Ted Bundy (also an up and coming member of the Republican party)
- Glenn Beck
- Orson "Ender's Game" Scott Card
- Bing "White Christmas" Crosby, who was kicked out of Gonzaga University in Spokane for drunkenly tossing furniture out of the dorm window.
- James "Scotty" Doohan
- Kenny G
- Mr. Hands
- Frank "Dune" Herbert
- Gary "Far Side" Larson
- Kenny "Footloose" Loggins
- Eddie "Evenflow" Vedder
- Adam "Batman" West
- Sherman "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" Alexie
- Ramtha and his "channeler" J.Z. Knight