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Wednesday 4 December 2019

State of the Union -Washington

George writes:
This week, the rainy state of Washington, whose official insect you can see above.. And be prepared for some astounding facts about this state.

For example, did you know that this state was named after General George Washington? Not that he would have known, it only became part of the USA in 1846.

And that it is the biggest producer of red raspberries (aren’t all raspberries red?) in the USA.

And that Washington is home to a dam:

That does sound suspiciously like one of The Ten Best Songs Ever Recorded, though.

Yes, that is the Grand Coulee Damn.

The state mammal is the Olympic marmot (only found in Washington state).

Now, I’ve inflicted some songs you might not have liked over the past 48 weeks, but I still can’t bring myself to load My Washington Woman by Kenny Rogers.

And here’s a song by Robyn Hitchccck, whose work is shockingly scarce in my collection. I believe Belltown is a district in Seattle,

Belltown was the best place to retire to in Seattle, in 2007, but judging by Brian’s ranty comment a few weeks here, he and Mrs Brian will not be doing so.

There are plenty of songs that have been omitted, the one by Nirvana about the tragic actress, for example, and the going-through-the-motions Public Image Limited song. But there is this song which had to be included, it features the name of our second favourite blogger from Germany:

A website suggested 11 songs for sunny days in Seattle, none of which featured the word Seattle or any district therein. Although I like the implication that there are eleven sunny days in Seattle.

There is no official state motto for Washington but it does have an official oyster, an official insect (pictured at the top, the green darner dragonfly, and man alive, it’s a beauty!) and an official amphibian, that is shown below, the Pacific Chorus Frog.

A few weeks ago I mistakenly wrote of a frog growing from 25 to 75 cm. In the same article I also idiotically claimed that the Orville Brothers made the first aeroplane flight. Anyway, today’s frog grows up to 5cm from snout to urostyle. If you know what urostyle is without looking it up, well, hats off to you, but I had to look it up and it’s the long bone at the end of it’s spine. As it’s a nice sunny day here as I write this, and I’m lazing about at the  farm, with the dogs barking at nothing, I discovered that the largest frog on the planet is called, rather disappointingly and unimaginatively, the goliath frog. It can grow to about 30cm long (or as we experts say, from snout to urostyle)

Anyway, one website claims that the following law is classed as weird and unusual:
It is illegal to entice girls away from the Maple Lane School for girls. I have just deleted a sentence that blethered on about what might be legal vis a vis the above law.  And I have no idea at all why the fact that you are not allowed to spit on a bus is deemed to strange and unusual. 

There are one or two famous musicians from Washington. And also Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s female friend Willow. She married the Buffy character Wesley. In real life that is, not in Buffy (see what a fan I am, I call it Buffy). Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma, Washington. What’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney? Bing sings, and Walt doesnae…..Linda Lee Cadwell was born in Everett, Washington She’s better known as Mrs Bruce Lee (when it to martial arts-related things I’m more of  Hong Kong Phooey fan that Bruce Lee or that ilk). Anthony L. Ray was born in this state in 1963. You might know his quite famous song, Baby Got Back, which I have just watched on YouTube, causing me to laugh out loud. It’s a response, believe it or not, to the prevalence of unhealthily skinny models, and it’s a great song. And finally, Chester Carlson, best friend to all teachers, was born in Seattle. He invented the photocopier. Well done, sir, well done indeed.

Enough of this nonsense. Two more to go.

CC writes:
Struggling a bit this week. It would be much easier if it was Washington DC (The Clash,Steve Earle, etc)
So clutching at straws here is the one George mentioned but forgot to post and the song featured in the video


  1. Bing sings, and Walt doesnae - hadn't heard that in ages. The oldies are always the best.

    My favourite version of "The Grand Coulee Dam" is by Bob Dylan and The Band - a live track which was recorded at a Woody Guthrie memorial concert but I first heard it on a triple LP sampler for CBS records called "The Music People". It was the 1st triple album I ever owned and had some great (and not so great) tracks on it.

    Tocotronic look extremely nerdy, if it's OK to say that...

    1. There have been a lot worse adjectives during this series FBCB

  2. From the same neck of the woods, Robyn Hitchcock can also offer 'Viva! Sea Tac'. ' Seattle Tacoma, viva viva Sea-Tac...'

  3. We are looking to Brian this week I think for some more Seattle songs

  4. I will try not to rail on Seattle too much. I'll let 60 Minutes from Sunday do it for me...

    Or perhaps the Seattle Times from Monday...

    There are quite a few songs to choose from, but I cannot top the Hitchcock references. One of my favorites. Perhaps the most known song in these parts is from the city's own Sir-Mix-A-Lot. "Posse on Broadway" was a minor hit in the big picture but is beloved here for its many Seattle references and the Capitol Hill neighborhood in particular. Tacocat is one of many female-fronted bands that have overtaken the scene in recent years. "I Love Seattle" fits the bill, but "Bridge to Hawaii" is better. It's about having seasonal affective disorder (common here) as well as the destruction of Seattle's neighborhoods. Here's the video:

    Who Is She? recently gave us "Seattle Freeze." The band tries to destroy the myth that people here are unfriendly with a fake-polite exterior. Not sure it is a myth.

    Nirvana has "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle." Macklemore and Ryan Lewis rap about the city. Modest Mouse, Hole and K Records acts have songs about Olympia, the state's capital. Garth Brooks has a song about Tacoma. I could go on and on...

    About those frogs. That was a shock when moving here from Chicago nearly a decade ago. We always had chirping crickets back there as our soundtrack to summer evenings. Here it's croaking frogs. I still find it jarring.

    1. Thanks Brian, much more informed than my blethers (although I did refer to the Nirvana song). And frogs? You should try living here, dogs barking all night long, and not ours!

  5. My guess is I would not do as well with songs about your town in Portugal. Sorry about the Nirvana repeat.

    1. Brian, there are no songs about our place. Although our region does have an unofficial anthem, as I was astounded to learn at a wedding when everyone joined in (apart from Jo and I)

  6. I was about to say "nice marmot" and then make a remark about how you wouldn't get the reference, George, because of your lack of culture. However, you redeemed yourself this week somewhat by mentioning both Buffy and Hong Kong Fooey. That, couple with, Dan Fogelberg last week, actually has you well on the road to redemption.

    Here's the best song ever written about Seattle...

    1. Also, I'm sad to see there are only a few more posts left in this series. I hope you have your next one planned!

    2. We are in negotiations Rol
      He is currently holding out for a larger fee

  7. Crikey we learn so much "alternative info" about each state in your series so I too will be sorry to see it complete. Nothing else from me that has a WA reference but enjoyed what's been included above (bar the depressing German offering).

    As a bit of a geek about Buffy I knew Willow was born there, but yes you are right, she wasn't married to Wesley in the actual show, it was Tara, and their duet in the musical Under Your Spell was the best in the whole thing.

  8. Nice to see early Tocotronic being featured on these pages - this is a great tune of theirs. And yes, they surely are nerds, but they contributed so much important stuff to German music that I can easily forgive them for that!

    Greetings from the second favourite blogger from Germany!