The State of Washington is the most northwestern State in the contiguous United States. To the north is the Canadian province of British Columbia, to the east is Northern Idaho, to the south is Oregon and to the west is the Pacific Ocean. Named for George Washington, this area was part of the larger Oregon Territory before becoming the Washington Territory in 1853, which became the 42nd State in the Union on November 11, 1889.

Washington State is one of the most diverse States by several measures, but most prominently in its geography and climate. Washington is divided into Western Washington and Eastern Washington by the Cascade Mountains. The western half is very wet and lush with vegetation. This side, of course, includes the Pacific Coast.

The northern two-thirds of the Washington Pacific Coast is on the Olympic Peninsula. The beaches are fairly rugged as they are mostly covered with rocks, not sand, huge logs, ample amounts of driftwood, and the occasional dead whale. The southern section is much nicer, still with plenty of driftwood but more sand. Near the mouth of the Columbia River, which forms the southern border with Oregon, is the Long Beach Peninsula, a 28 mile stretch of golden sand.

Storms from the ocean generate a large volume of the rainfall on the Olympic Peninsula. On this peninsula one will find the Hoh Rainforest and the worlds largest cedar, which stands 178 feet (54 m) tall and is 20 feet (6 m) in diameter, amongst 3 million acres of evergreen forest. It also contains the Olympic Mountains and the Olympic National Park. The Pacific to the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north, and Puget Sound to the east surround the peninsula.

Clouds pick up more water while crossing Puget Sound, which accounts for most of the rain in Seattle and other areas of Western Washington. Puget Sound contains the San Juan Islands, a chain of 172 islands. Because of the large population in the Puget Sound area, including Seattle and Tacoma, Washington operates the largest public transportation ferry fleet in the world.

All of Washington's professional sports franchises are based in Seattle. The Mariners (baseball) play at SafeCo Field. The Seahawks (American football) play next door at Qwest Stadium. And the Supersonics (basketball) play under the Space Needle at the Key Arena.

On a clear day, one can see Mount Rainier from this area, the highest point in Washington at 14,410 feet (4392 m). Farther south is Mount St. Helens, which was at 9677 feet (2950 m) prior to 1980 when it erupted; it is now at 8364 feet (2549 m). And to the east is Mount Adams, which pinnacles at 12,276 feet (3742 m). Mountaineers frequent these three peeks of the Cascade Mountains, amongst others in the region.

The Cascades collect the remaining precipitation generated by Puget Sound, which quenches several more millions of acres of alpine forest, and creates a considerable snow pack. Skiers and snow boarders from all over the State dearly love these mountains. There are several ski areas to patronize including Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, White Pass, Mission Ridge and Crystal Mountain.

The Washington Cascades divide the state geographically, politically and culturally. The mountains must be traveled via one of several 4000 ft mountain passes, which keeps the two sides from interacting too much. The west side is more metropolitan and liberal. The east is more rural and conservative. Also, the two sides have very different industry. The west side conducts a lot of logging, fishing, manufacturing, import / export, and technology development (and consequently retail coffee). The east side takes part in farming, ranching, electrical generation, and other industry.

The minority populations and cultural effects in Washington are very different on these two sides. Though both have significant Native American influences, the tribal cultures differ significantly between the coastal tribes on the west side and the river or plains tribes in the east. Regarding foreign immigration, the west has high populations of Asians (particularly Chinese and Koreans), Eastern Europeans (particularly Ukrainians) and Arabs. The east has high populations of Hispanics (particularly Mexicans). Spanish is defiantly the second language of Eastern Washington.

The east side of the Cascades descends into the Columbia River Basin. The Columbia is the largest electricity producing river system in the world. There are 55 major hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and its tributaries. Because of this, the outlying areas are blessed with the cheapest electricity and arguably the best Internet connections in the world. The Columbia used to be the largest salmon producing river system in the world. Though there is still an ample amount of salmon naturally produced, the declined salmon population as a direct result of the installation of hydroelectric dams is closely monitored and supplemented with hatchery fish.

Lying in the Cascades' rain shadow, the weather and landscape in this area is completely contrary to the west side, having as many sunny days as the west has rainy days. Though technically a desert, the area is kept vibrant with farms through advance irrigation techniques. In this area is the beautiful Gorge Amphitheater, an outside concert venue that seats 20,000. It overlooks the Gorge at George, a magnificent desert backdrop carved out by the Columbia over the last million of years.

Continuing east is the Columbia Plateau and the largest volcanic lava flows in the world known as the Grand Ronde. A massive outpouring of lava a few million years ago literally created rivers and lakes of 2000° (1100°C) magma. Later, melting glaciers caused cataclysmic flooding that quickly quarried the soft basalt creating large cannons that are a geographic phenomenon unique to the Pacific Northwest called coulees. The largest coulee, of course, is the Grand Coulee. In this titanic geological wonder rests the remains of the world's largest waterfall. A three and a half mile long crescent cliff called Dry Falls that once dropped flooding water 400 feet. The flow of the falls is though to have been 10 times greater than the current flow of all the rivers of the world, combined.

In the Northeast corner of the State lays Washington's third mountain range, the Northern Rockies, which crosses into Washington from Idaho before continuing up into British Columbia. To the south one will find the Tri-Cities and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. In contrast to the Olympic Peninsula, one of the cleanest areas in American as far as air quality and pollution, Hanford is one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world. Farther east is Spokane, the second largest urban area in Washington, which is situated near the Idaho border.

                                 British Columbia (Canada)

                  \                                                    |
                   | * Bellingham                                      |  I
                    \                                                  |  d
    _               |                                                  |  a
   | \--_______     |                                                  |  h
  /            \    |                WASHINGTON                        |  o
  |             \   /                                                  |
   \            |  |* Seattle                               Spokane *  |
    \           |  /                      * Wenatchee                  |
     |          \_/* Tacoma                                            |
     |           * Olympia                                             |
     \                                                                 |
      |                                 * Yakima                       |
      |                                                                |
      |                                                                |
      |                                          * Tri-cities          |
      |_-_                                                             \
          |                                ________---------------------`
           \           ____ ----____-------

Population: 6 million
Land Area: 66,544 square miles (172,348 km2)
Water Area: 4,721 square miles (12,227 km2)

Capital: Olympia
Nickname: The Evergreen State
Bird: Willow Goldfinch
Fish: Steelhead trout
Flower: Coast Rhododendron
Fruit: Apple
Tree: Western Hemlock
Gem: Petrified Wood
Dance: Square Dance
Song: Washington, My Home
Folk song: Roll On, Columbia, Roll On
Unofficial song: Louie Louie

Largest Cities:
Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue

University of Washington
Washington State University
Central Washington University
Eastern Washington University
The Evergreen State College
Western Washington University
Chapman University
City University
Gonzaga University
Pacific Lutheran University
Seattle Pacific University
University of Puget Sound
Whitman College
Whitworth College

Christine Gregoire

US Senators:
Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray

US Representatives:
Brian Baird, Norman Dicks, Doc Hasting, Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen, Jim McDermott, Cathy McMorris, David G. Reichert, Adam Smith

Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Puget Sound, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman, Yakima

Indian Tribes:
Chehalis, Chelan, Chinook, Colville, Cowlitz, Duwamish, Entiat, Hoh, Kalispel, Lummi, Makah, Methow, Moses, Muckleshoot, Nespelem, Nez Perce, Nisqually, Noo-Wha-Ha, Nooksack, Okanogan, Palouse, Puyallup, Quileute, Quinault, Samish, San Poil, Sauk-Suiattle, Sinkiuse, Skokomish, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Spokane, Steilacoom, Stillaguamish, Topennish, Tulalip, Walla Walla, Yakima

You might be a Washingtonian

The Everything People Registry : United States : Washington

Greenough's Washington.

Horatio Greenough (1805-1852) was a prominent sculptor of the early American republic chiefly known for his critically-damned statue of George Washington (1833-1841) which currently resides in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (see URLs below).

Greenough, like many aspiring artists of his day, felt the lure of classical models and spent time in Rome in the late 1820s. In 1832 he was commissioned by Congress to create a statue of Washington for the US Capitol Rotunda. He dug deeply into the classics to find a model suitably grand for the revered first president. Almost from the moment of his death (in 1799) legends had been accreting around Washington, not least because of parson Mason Locke Weems' hagiographic biography of 1800. Weems' influence, through his wholesale fictions like the cherry tree incident, cannot be overestimated.

He found a model in the description of Phidias' great chryselephantine statue of Zeus from Olympia (see URL below); the king of the gods was shown enthroned, with his left arm raised and holding a scepter, and the other holding an orb with a winged victory upon it. It showed Zeus semi-draped in typical fashion (though there are important exceptions, full nudity was more associated with heroes and demigods). The statue, which was taken to Constantinople in the late Roman period, eventually perished in a fire, but we have artist's representations of the statue on coins and pots. This was quite possibly the single most famous statue in ancient Greece, and it was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Phidias' Zeus was a fitting model by many standards. Zeus, king of the gods, matched Washington, first man of the young republic. By 1832 most of the founders were dead and they seemed like a pantheon clustered around the central figure of Washington. Phidias' statue dominated the temple to Zeus at Olympia, while Greenough's Washington was to give that president a signal honor in the rotunda of the capitol, a temple to democracy modelled consciously on Rome's astonishing and impressive Pantheon, another temple with a vast rotunda.

Indeed, everything about the Capitol in Washington, D.C. evokes classical precedents, and again, from this point of view, it was fitting that Washington should be modelled upon the greatest statue of antiquity. It should also be noted that Greek antiquity, in particular, was in vogue (Greek democracy - new American republic), and 1840 is about the high water mark of the so-called Greek Revival style of US architecture.

Despite all of this, the statue was a flop. Greenough's Washington is enthroned, like Zeus, though he raises his right hand. Rather than holding a royal (divine) scepter (problematic in a republic), Washington confidently extends his index finger to point heavenward as an affirmation of God and the source of his virtues. Period documents reveal that his nudity (even though draped) was shocking, however. Partly, I suppose, that is because of the dissonance between nudity in a sculpture and taboos against it in Greenough's time. (Think of the fig leaves attached in an earlier era to (or painted on) the groins of male nudes.)

Nudity brings a lot of baggage along with it in art which has little to do with sexual mores. Granted there are areas of life where near nudity (or even frank eroticism) doesn't excite much comment from anyone but conservatives; I am not conservative in this area but can remember my own shock at seeing Greenough's statue for the first time. Washington just seems wrong in anything but 18th century male costume. Greenough exposes too much to our view.

The very idea of Washington as a god (and this is the implication of his draped nudity) is disquieting and upsets democratic principles. Greenough's Washington can hardly be anything but stern (people who dress like that really can't be expected to smile, can they?)--the effect is detached and otherworldly. If you remember the movie Amadeus, you'll recall that Mozart argues against classicizing models for opera because you'd think stuffy classical characters "shit marble." The way classical nudity offends not only morality, perhaps, but more importantly democratic ideals is suggested (in a Roman context) by Paul Zanker in his Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (38-39). (There is also the ridiculousness of Washington depicted with a Schwarzeneggerian build. No way!)

The failed statue was quickly moved outside to the Capitol grounds, and much later to the Smithsonian, where it lives today.

URLs for images referenced.

Washington again:


Andronicos, Manoulis. Olympia. The Archeological Site and the Museum. 1990.
Zanker, Paul. The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (translated by Alan Shapiro). 1990.

Washington was originally the name of a manor and village in the county of Northumberland in the north of England and is first mentioned in a charter dated to 973 CE. In the twelfth century William de Hartburn (from Hartburn near Stockton on Tees), bought the manor of Washington from the Bishop of Durham and built the house now known as Washington Old Hall now a National Trust property. William changed his name to William de Washington and therefore founded the Washington family. One of his descendants later emigrated to the American Colonies and was the ancestor of George Washington, the first president of the United States of America.

In 1964 the area was designated as a site for a new town, divided into sixteen districts, eight of which were built on the sites of existing villages including the former village of Washington after which the town was named. The new town of Washington is found five miles to the southeast of Newcastle upon Tyne, on the river Wear and has a population of around 56,000.

Megan Washinton, who goes by the stage name Washington, is an Australian singer-songwriter. I don't know what to say about her, really; she isn't terribly well-known and I'm having a hard time finding information about her, so this won't be terribly informative. This will, however, be full of nothing but praise and adulation, so don't read on if you're not interested in reading a perfume-scented love letter of a review. Also, this node is quite overdue, what with her EP having been out for over a year now.

She lived in Papua New Guinea until around the age of eleven, at which point her family moved to Brisbane. She says, "When I was really small I wanted to be Judy Garland... I used to imagine I was the illegitimate child of Debbie Reynolds and Fred Astaire." She lists her influences as Rufus Wainwright, Billie Holiday, The Decemberists, The Magnetic Fields, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, The macabre, Captain Ahab, Radiohead, Gillian Welch, Tim Burton, Coco Rosie, Nick Drake, Jon Brion, Elana Stone, Martha Wainwright, The McGarrigle Sisters, Pat Matheny, Audrey Hepburn, Ben Folds, Leonard Bernstein, Mahalia Jackson, Van Dyke Parks, Antony and the Johnsons, Bach, Sufjan Stevens, Danny Elfman, Edgar Allen Poe, Paul Simon and Neil Young. She now lives in Melbourne.

So I don't actually know much about her. I do know, however, that she is very pale, wears glasses that look like safety goggles and has a voice that makes me a bit weak. She writes sweet, lyrical songs that are soft around the edges and couldn't be performed by anyone other than the writer without them seeming disingenuous or corny. They are full of melodic surprises, little twists and turns that aren't predictable but aren't jarring either. She makes a lot of subtle references to Americana in her lyrics, or maybe that's just me projecting. As far as I know she currently has only released an EP, called Clementine; her next, called How to Tame Lions, is to be released on September 11th 2009. She was also featured in The Bamboos' song King of the Rodeo.

Clementine EP

1. Clementine
To my knowledge this was her first single, and it is the most radio-friendly of the five songs here. It sounds a little like The winner Is by DeVotchKa, the opening music from Little Miss Sunshine. They're not really that similar, but the two songs always remind me of each other. It is the least lyrical of all her songs, and it really sounds like an old folk tune that's been given an electric revival. It gives the wonderful feeling of starting from a standstill and then being pulled along and gliding at high speed through somewhere beautiful. The music video is animated in a hand-drawn fashion, and really fits with the mood of the music.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling Clementine!
Turn the water, turn the water,
Turn the water into a little bit more time.

2. One Man Band
This song sounds a little like country music, but with no slide guitars or southern accents. The rhythm beats like a horse's hooves, which could well be completely intentional. This kind of element becomes something of a common point throughout her songs, because they all allude to a kind of romantic, adventurous imagery. This song creates (for me) a strong image of America, or at least my own idea of America; the little whistling in the background, the quick-fingered guitar and the brushes on the snare drum, I'm sure it means something.

You're a one-man guy,
A one-man band,
A one-man show on the ra-di-o-whoa-o-o-o

3. 80 Miles
Here is just a piano and her voice, with a guitar just barely perceptible for a moment. The song doesn't really have a structure, it's two short verses with minimalistic accompaniment, and it feels like it wasn't written at all but just poured onto the bars. Though it lacks any real rhythm or set tempo, the timing plays an important part, careful pauses and little runs. It has what it needs, and no more, and because of this is seems that much more genuine.

Why did you say that to me,
80 miles out on the sea?
And I am built with parts of you,
And you are built with parts of me.

4. Fred Astaire
This song seems to be building up to something, some event that we don't see or hear. It is following the logical progression, slowly nearing a climax all the time, and then it ends. I didn't know who Fred Astaire was, to be honest, but knowing that he was an actor and dancer makes sense of this song. I think that this might be a song about her waiting backstage for her idol, or the anticipation of going out before an audience with him. The distant electric guitar in the middle is sublime, just because it drifts in and fits right in with everything below it, and then drifts away. It's these little touches that make these songs great, or any song, if you ask me.

I am in this way too deep,
Steady with your hands, steady on your feet.

5. Fighting the Good Fight
Again, just the piano and voice. Much like 80 Miles, it's all about the timing and the unexpected chord changes. I don't know what to say about this song, except that it's tinged with genuine melancholy and its progression seems like it was being shaped to fit a specific event or idea, like a song in a film score.

Dearly beloved,
We're all here tonight
For a similar reason,
Fighting the good fight.

She also has some other songs on her MySpace page and YouTube channel that I haven't listed here, because I've written too much already. I know that this is a lot to write about a musician who hasn't actually recorded a full-length album yet, but I think she's right up E2's alley and very talented. I doubt that she'll ever be "big", she'll never top the charts, but I hope that she'll keep making such lovely music for a good long while.

I'll just finish here with a quote from her blog: "I just souped some serious chicken. Gave that chicken a bath. In soup."

For completely non-sexist reasons, she is one of only two women in my music collection. I don't know why I don't have more music by female musicians, but it's definitely not sexism. Not.

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