Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Margin Notes: Green Desert, Arnold Palmer, FM


Manastash Ridge south of Ellensburg, Washington showed a rare green face on 13-May-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Canada's largest city is now enveloped in the green of springtime as it should be in mid-May, but I was surprised last week to find Manastash Ridge between Ellensburg and Yakima, Washington substantially green. This area, used by the US Army as a proving ground, is normally quite brown and desert-like. I guess I had never passed through at right time of spring before, as I could not recall it ever being anything close to green before.

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While eastern Washington and Oregon are hardly as green as a golf course even in spring, the drinks served there think they are on a golf course. While having lunch in Bend, Oregon on 8-May, I first heard someone order an "Arnold Palmer" drink. I had no idea what it was, but I found out later in the day at the Madras, Oregon location of the Black Bear Diner--it's half iced tea, half lemonade, and the taste didn't impress me very much.

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While I may not have eaten at In'N'Out Burger this trip, I did manage a meal at Burgerville last Saturday, and while I had more traditional items, I was very impressed to find an asparagus and tomato melt sandwich on their seasonal menu. Considering how remarkable and in tune with its region that Burgerville continues to be, I have my doubts In'N'Out Burger will ever be able to expand into the Pacific Northwest, even if it wanted to.

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It's becoming almost unremarkable to have a major AM radio station start simulcasting or move to FM, but another major example took place on 15-May, as Seattle's only clear-channel, 50,000 watt station, KOMO Newsradio at 1000 AM, started simulcasting on 97.7 FM. Despite a transmitter northwest of Shelton on the Olympic Peninsula, I found that the FM signal came in reasonably clearly on the Eastside. Unlike the recent move of KIRO programming to FM, KOMO intends this to be a permanent simulcast on both AM and FM, meaning that Seattle news will still boom in at night as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada.

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The "Bellevue Financial Center" in Bellevue, Washington still wore the Washington Mutual brand on 14-May-2009, but most other locations had already turned into Chase

Another transition is taking place rapidly on the West Coast. Former locations of Washington Mutual have substantially transformed into the Chase locations. I don't think I saw a single remaining "WaMu" in California, and one of the few remaining locations in Washington state was my "home" branch in Bellevue, Washington pictured above.

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A variable speed limit sign greeted travelers westbound on I-90 across Mercer Island, Washington on 15-May-2009

A new feature has been added to I-90 between Bellevue and Seattle, Washington--variable speed limit signs. I've seen a variety of variable speed limit signs over the years from Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state to the Autobahns around Cologne, Germany, and these may be the best-looking signs I've seen. They still have the traditional white background and could be mistaken for nothing other than a normal speed limit sign. Unfortunately, when they display anything other than 60 mph, that means that there's a traffic jam to navigate.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I rather like the Arnold Palmer. You can now purchase them in your local grocery store. I buy them all the time. http://www.arnoldpalmertee.com. To the best of my knowledge it is only one of three drinks named after someone. The other two being Roy Rogers and Shirley Temple. All three drinks are non-alcoholic. More recently a fourth drink has originated called The Sully which is comprised of two shots of Grey Goose vodka and a splash of water. This drink is named after the heroic US Airways Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and evidently is quite popular in New York...