Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Port Orchard

I know a young man from Port Orchard,
Who likes being tied up and tortured.
But the neighbors complain
Of the whips and the chain
That they, while they sat on their porch, heard.

Port Orchard (pop. 7693 in 2000) is the seat of Kitsap County on the western edge of the Olympic Peninsula, 13 miles west of Seattle (Wikipedia. The town was named after the inlet Port Orchard, named by Vancouver in 1792 after H.M. Orchard, who discovered the inlet (Phillips).

Monday, March 23, 2009


A young botanist from Centralia
Decided to fuck an azalea,
But quickly he came in
Its pistil and stamen
(FYI, that's a flower's genitalia).

Centralia, WA (pop. 14,742 in 2000) is located on I-5 in Lewis County in southwestern Washington, approximately 25 miles south of Olympia (Wikipedia). Its founder was a man named George Washington, born in 1817, the son of a slave and a white serving girl (Phillips). In 1850, Washington moved west in an attempt to avoid the laws that discriminated against him (HistoryLink). Even so, he was not legally able to stake a claim in the site that would be Centralia, as it was illegal for African Americans to settle property in the Oregon Territory, which at the time included all of Washington (ibid). He was forced to have the white couple who had raised him file for him, and was only able to claim ownership four years later when the Washington Territory had been created (ibid). In 1875, George Washington and his new wife Mary Jane Washington officially founded the town, which they called Centerville (ibid). Its name was later changed to Centralia in order to avoid confusion with another town in Washington named Centerville (Phillips).

On November 11th, 1919, on the first anniversary of the end of World War One and therefore the first Armistice Day, a violent conflict occurred between members of the Legionnaires and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or Wobblies) that would come to be known as the Centralia Massacre. For years tensions had been mounting between the IWW and the conservative citizens of Centralia, who viewed the IWW as subversive and unpatriotic. After being the subject of much harassment and several violent attacks, the IWW was certain that the Armistice Day parade would be used as an opportunity to raid their hall. Therefore, the Wobblies consulted a sympathetic lawyer, who told them they would legally be allowed to defend themselves if they were attacked. They therefore decided to arm themselves with concealed guns. When members of the Centralia Legionnaires forced their way into the Wobblies' hall, a gunfight ensued that left three Legionnaires dead. One member of the IWW, Wesley Everest, was cornered by several Legionnaires while attempting an escape . When one held a gun to him and demanded his surrender, Everest shot and killed him. Everest was captured and thrown in jail. That night, a group came to the jail and demanded the keys to all the cells. They took Everest to a nearby bridge, where he was hanged, shot and left. Most other Wobblies who had been present at the incident were convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 25-40 years in prison. Washington quickly made membership in the IWW illegal and the Centralia Massacre helped fuel the rising Red Scare of the 1920s (all from The Centralia Massacre).

On a lighter note, Centralia is home to two restaurants that are very near and dear to my heart. The first is the historic Olympic Club. Founded in 1908 as a "gentlemen's resort" full of drinking and gambling, it transitioned seamlessly to speakeasy during the Prohibition years. The Oly Club is now owned by the McMenamins chain, which has maintained much of the original furnishing. In addition to its bar and restaurant, it contains a movie theater and concert venue, and the upstairs acts as a cheap and pleasant European style hotel. The other restaurant is the northernmost location of the Burgerville fast food franchise. This Oregon and Washington chain is devoted to sustainable, local and delicious food and whenever I'm traveling up or down I-5, I try to take advantage of my last or first opportunity to eat there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Castle Rock

or, Why, Yes, So You Think You Can Dance IS one of my Favorite TV Shows

A street dancer from Castle Rock
Has mastered the cock pop-and-lock.
He's worked to perfect it,
But if you don't expect it,
The cock pop-and-lock's quite a shock.

Castle Rock (pop. 2,130 in 2000) is a town in southwestern Washington, approximately 60 miles north of Portland, OR (Wikipedia). The town is named after a local 190 foot volcanic rock formation which resembles a castle (Phillips). The city's motto is "The Gateway to Mt. St. Helens", due to its proximity to the mountain (Washington Sec. of State Homepage). At one time Castle Rock had a thriving sawmill and timber industry, but today it is primarily a bedroom community (ibid).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Housekeeping: Apologies

Due to hectic work schedule and several illnesses, I have let updating this blog fall by the wayside. No more! I shall resume posting dirty limericks based on Washington State town names on Friday with a bold skewering of the small town of Castle Rock!