Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"4 Dot" Olympia Beer Label

Where do myths begin? Is there any basis in truth to them?

Perhaps the answer can be found in cyberspace, which is a good place to start to find the truth of this mythical question--

If a female signs her name to the back of the label from a stubby Olympia beer (i.e., an "Oly") . . . and the label has four dots on it . . . does that really mean she's agreed to . . . and has to . . . (well, you know) . . . ?

The myth began (at least among my circle of miscreants) in the 1960s. Somebody heard it from somebody. So, it must have had some merit to it. The process was very very simple--

(1) Have some money.

(2) Get some Olympia beer from somebody (a) old enough to buy it and (b) stupid enough to be willing to break the law by supplying it to incredibly stupid minors with no common sense.

(3) Consume enough Olympia "stubbies" until a label is
found with what appears to be four dots on the back side.

(4) Reach into the glove box and pull out a magnifying glass to examine the smear marks after the first couple of dots. Study it in the light of the campfire.

( 5) Have a friend or other impartial observer double-check the marks.

(6) Get a consensus that the label does in fact have the requisite four official dots.

(7) Resist the urge to sell the priceless label for just enough money to buy another case of beer.

(8) Find a pencil.

(9) Find a willing female participant who's gullible enough or sympathetic enough to sign the label.

(10) Get the signature.

It's been my observation that nobody has ever gotten past step (5). Never. Ever.

It has occurred to me that the myth was generated and circulated by the marketing department of Olympia Brewing Company at Tumwater Washington. But, probably not. The Olympia Brewing Company began brewing Olympia Beer in 1896 at Tumwater Washington, just south of Olympia. Olympia Beer was very popular in the Pacific Northwest and eventually expanded nationwide. It was reasonably priced (i.e., cheap). The brewery was eventually purchased by Miller, which closed the Olympia brewery in 2003 as being unprofitable.
So, the answer to the question? Inconclusive. It appears that there's just not enough hard evidence to reach a conclusion. Still, there are people out there who are still contemplating, inquiring, conducting research: ". . . and peeling off the label to count how many dots were on the back. A four-dot was treasure indeed because, when presented to your girlfriend, it meant that she had to . . . well, best draw a veil of graceful ambiguity across THAT one . . . not that I ever had a four-dot --- or that many girlfriends, come to that --- but an anonymous can of Oly still ranks among the best beers I've ever had . . ." "Oly Labels (4 dots indicated a particular production code). Two most popular rumors (totally unsupported by Olympia Brewing Co): (1) If you saved up enough labels with the 4 dots on back, Olympia would provide you with a a free case/keg/lifetime supply (depends on who's telling the story); (2) If you could get a gal to sign the back of the 4 dot label, you were just about, almost, pretty near, but not quite assured of . . ."

Harry "Kid" Matthews

Beginning in 1964 my family was living in Everett. Later, I got my hands on a used 1963 Chevrolet Corvair. It had four cylinders. Well, there's not much a guy can do to "soup up" a Corvair. That is-- except maybe get louder exhaust pipes. But pipes never go on easily. A guy might have to have some modifications done by a welder. So, that's what I did. I found a welding shop in Everett.

I told my Dad about my plans and he said "That guy was a professional boxer." Huh? "Harry 'Kid' Matthews."

Sure enough, the welder said he was Harry "Kid" Matthews. He said little more than that. He simply fixed the exhaust. I paid him $10 or so. He wrote a receipt. I should have kept it.

Before WWII Matthews came from Idaho and ended up in the Seattle area, where he established himself as a respectable "main event" fighter. He was a contender in the middleweight division. Then he joined the US Army and didn't box again until 1946. Despite winning regularly after the war, Matthews was unable to make much progress with his career.

Meanwhile, Jack Hurley had managed fighters in Chicago in the 1930s, and also promoted fights for the Chicago Colesium in the 1940s. He eventually came to the Seattle area and set up a long residence at the downtown Olympic Hotel.

In 1949 Hurley discovered Harry "Kid" Matthews. Hurley refined Matthews's style and used his cunning public relation skills to build up Matthews. Matthhews appeared on the October 1951 cover of "The Ring" boxing magazine.

Hurley was known as a perfectionist and would drill his fighters to do exactly what he expected of them. As a result, knowledgable people could tell a Hurley-trained fighter from others.

Hurley kept Matthews busy in the Northwest in 1950 before sending him off to New York City in 1951. In July 1952, Matthews was matched against heavyweight Rocky Marciano in Yankee Stadium. After winning the first round in the eyes of most, he was knocked out by Marciano in the second round.

After that Harry "Kid" Matthews fought primarily in the Northwest. He retired in 1956 with a respectable career (1937 - 1956) record of 90 wins (KO 61), 7 losses (KO 3) and 6 draws.

After his boxing career ended, Matthews owned and operated a welding shop in Everett, Washington. He also began training Everett Heavyweight Ibar Arrington 1978. Born in 1922, he died in Everett in 2003 at age 81.

Japanese Gulch

The Mukilteo Lumber Company was started in 1903 and its name was changed to Crown Lumber Company in 1909. It was closed in 1930. (See my other post about Mukilteo).

The photographs shown here primarily come from .

Many of the lumber company workers were Japanese immigrants whose families lived in company housing in an area called “Jap Gulch,” later changed to “Japan Gulch” and “Japanese Gulch.” "Although Everett’s strong labor force held no quarter for cheap labor and other towns in the area drove out Japanese workers, Mukilteo residents came to terms with their Japanese neighbors and were able to live in harmony."

Nearby Everett Washington was a strong
"union town" and those union members probably disapproved of workers who worked for less. There were many incidents of violence surrounding the Everett unions, lumber mills and strikes during that time period. (See my other post about the "Everett Massacre" of 1916). Still, it appears that Japanese Americans and the other residents of Mukilteo got along well.

Mas Odoi, shown here, (reported by author Margaret Riddle to be in his mid-80s when she quoted him in her 2007 essay) "was born in Japanese Gulch and has returned to visit many times. In Mas’s words, 'When we moved away, we never found a place as nice to live.' Odoi was responsible for creating a monument in memory of the Japanese community at Mukilteo and their harmonious relationship with other Mukilteo residents." The monument is shown above. Here is the link to Riddle's essay--

The following information and excerpts come from an article written by Mark Higgins, a reporter for Seattle Post-Intelligencer, titled "Japanese Settlers Played Key Role in Town's History." I'm not sure of the date of the article. Here is the site--

"Mas Odoi grew up in the gulch and has fond memories of the woods, creek and shoreline where he and his friends would play and picnic. The families raised vegetables, fished and stocked trout ponds. By the 1920s, about 150 people of Japanese descent lived in Mukilteo along with about 220 whites. Both races got along well, Odoi recalls."

"When the Great Depression hit and the mill closed, most of the Japanese-American families left Mukilteo, only to return years later as tourists. His own family moved to the Long Beach Peninsula where his father went to work at an oyster farm."

The following information is from an article written by Herald Writer Yoshiaki Hohara titled "War Takes Innocence from Japanese Gulch" at (It's difficult to find a date of the article, but it does state that in 2006 Mas Odoi was 84 years old. So, that means that Mas Odoi was born in 1922).

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Mas Odoi was a student at the University of Washington, and like most of his classmates he wanted to enlist immediately to fight for his country. But Mas wasn't allowed to join the military because "Japanese-Americans weren't let into the military the same way German-Americans and Italian-Americans were."

"President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order to remove Japanese immigrants and their families from the West Coast. That forced Mas and his twin brother, Hiro, to abandon their UW studies and join their parents at Minidoka Relocation Center in southern Idaho in August 1942. They were among the camp's first inhabitants. The camp reunited them with many of their friends and neighbors from Mukilteo's Japanese Gulch."

Here is a photograph of some of the "cabins" at Minidoka. Notice the tar paper on the sides of the buildings.

"As World War II escalated, Japanese Americans started to be allowed into the Army. All Japanese-Americans in Minidoka 17 and older were given a questionnaire. Do you swear loyalty to America? Do you forswear loyalty to the Japanese Emperor? Will you serve in combat with the U.S. Army? Many balked at the questions. Some people at the camp decided to fight prejudice by not fighting. Mas answered the same questions as a boy years ago in Japanese Gulch, where he played and studied with white children. He still had no intention to side with the foreign emperor. Yet he couldn't help but feel that America made a mistake by bringing Japanese-Americans to the camp."

"The brothers decided to prove their loyalty, to show they were red-blooded American boys like anyone else. Mas (top right) and Hiro (top left) joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Japanese-Americans in the U.S. Army. The 442nd's slogan was "Go for broke." Combined with the 100th Infantry Battalion from Hawaii, the unit had the highest casualty rate for its size and length of service: 9,846 lives lost in pitched battles across North Africa, France and Italy."

On April 5, 1945 Mas Odoi was on the front line of the Italian battle zone some place north of Florence. The German line was half a mile away. Mas was ordered to run through the minefield along a narrow trail. A mortar dropped behind him, blowing him through the air. He landed on the dirt. He'd suffered a deep bleeding wound to his throat. He was finally able to stop the bleeding. His brother Hiro saw that Mas was wounded but continued on towards the battle line. Mas spent a month recovering in a hospital. While his injuries weren't serious enough to send him home, he didn't have another chance to fight because Germany surrendered a few days before Mas was returned to his unit.

"After the war, Mas married, raised two sons, repaired TVs and held down a series of jobs in Illinois and California. When Mas retired, he returned to the Pacific Northwest with Frances, his bride of 51 years. Mas always missed the woods and the brisk, clean air. He would love to move back to Mukilteo. He can't afford the rent. Instead, the couple lives in Renton, where things are more affordable. Sometimes he walks through Japanese Gulch. Nobody lives there anymore."

In 2000, Mas and others from the Mukilteo Historical Society dedicated the sculpture to always remember the lives and friendships that existed in Japanese Gulch before World War II.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

McNeil Island

Washington State's McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC) is located in southern Puget Sound. McNeil Island is reached by a 20-minute boat ride on one of the facility's passenger vessels.
The main prison facility houses medium-custody offenders in five living units and a segregation unit. It is located on approximately 90 acres and is within walking distance of the island passenger dock.

In 1976, the U.S. government made a decision to close the federal Penitentiary that had operated on McNeil Island since 1875. In 1981, the state signed a lease agreement allowing it to use the Penitentiary, renamed McNeil Island Corrections Center. In 1984, the island was officially deeded to the state of Washington.

In 2000 McNeil Island had a population of 1,500 residents. The majority of the residents are incarcerated in MICC prison while several hundred are civilly committed to Special Commitment Center (SCC), discussed below. There are about 40 families and about 100 people that live on the island. The non-incarcerated families have at least one family member employed at MICC. There is no commerce or stores on the island and access to the island is strictly controlled by the Department of Corrections making it the most exclusive island in the entire Puget Sound.

While under federal authority, the prison's most famous inmate was probably Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz" who was held there from 1909 to 1912. Chicago gangster Al Capone was transferred to Alcatraz from McNeil Island in 1934. Charles Manson was an inmate from 1961 to 1966 for trying to cash a forged government check. Shortly thereafter he went to California and engaged in "helter skelter," including murder.

Also located on McNeil Island is the Special Commitment Center (SCC)for confinement of "sexually violent predators" (SVP) which is operated by the Department of Social and Health Services. "Residents" are committed for treatment after completing their standard prison sentences.

Under Washington's civil-commitment law for sexually violent predators, a jury has to decide whether the offender is mentally ill and unable to control his sexual behavior, making him likely to engage in predatory sexual violence. If committed, inmates at SCC can seek periodic reviews to determine if they can be released, but they would invariably have to admit to their sex crimes and seek treatment. I've represented a couple of clients committed at SCC and have ridden the ferry and bus to visit them.

Convicted rapist Kevin Coe is to be locked up indefinitely as a danger to the community even though he has already served his full 25-year prison sentence. Coe served his time for the lone conviction among what prosecutors described as dozens of sexual assaults in Spokane's South Hill neighborhood, starting with a fondling case in 1966 and escalating to violent rapes in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (See my post about "Candy Rogers").

Sun Spots

There's been a lot of "news" about "global warming." (I'm not a "true believer" in global warming, but will try to keep an open mind. At the same time, it seems to me that believers should also consider that maybe humans aren't all that powerful-- that maybe there's a power greater than mankind at work).

This isn't a scientific article-- there are plenty of experts and articles out there to support any argument. My goal here is to only list some things which have led me to question fashionable global warming propaganda. Basically, I ask--

(a) If the climate is getting warmer, is man responsible for the rising temperatures?

(b) Is the climate in fact getting warmer?


Previous Ice Ages. Has the earth gone through previous cooling and warming changes (including the extinction of animals) in other ages long before the invention of the automobile?

Consider the "Ice Age" and sabre tooth tigers and woolly mammoths. (See my post on "Dry Falls and the Marmes Man"). Did man cause those changes and extinctions? If so, what kind of automobile did the cave man drive?

As another more "recent" example, there was the "Little Ice Age" in northern Europe roughly between the years 1400 and 1850. Climatologists and historians do not agree on either the start or end dates of this period, but it is generally agreed that there were three coldest points-- on or about 1650, 1770, and 1850-- each separated by slight warming intervals.

The Little Ice Age brought bitterly cold winters to many parts of the world, but is most thoroughly documented in Europe and North America. It probably brought about the demise of the Norse settlements in Greenland.

What kind of automobiles did the Vikings drive? Saabs or Volvos?

Further, scientists have concluded that decreased solar activity was a contributing cause of the Little Ice Age.

Sun Spots. Could it be that "sun spots" influence earth's climate as many scientists have concluded after studying? Which is more powerful-- the sun or mankind? Politicians demand that humans stop "global warming," but can mankind influence the sun? What make of automobile stops sun spots?

Sunspots are dark planet-sized regions that appear on the "surface" of the sun. Sunspots are darker because they are colder than the areas around them. A large sunspot might have a temperature of about 6,700° F. This is much lower than the 10,000° F of the bright "photosphere" that surrounds sunspots. Some sun spots are as big as 50,000 miles in diameter and move across the outer surface of the sun, shrinking and growing as they go. (The earth is roughly about 8,000 miles in diameter. The earth's circumference is 24,000 miles). Sun spots are big.

The sun is about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium by mass. The remaining 2% is called "metals." In its core, the sun is slowly converting its hydrogen to helium. Conditions in the core are extreme, as the sun's density at the center of its core is more than 150 times the density of water. Lead is about 11 times the density of water.

The Sun's energy output is produced by nuclear fusion reactions. Each second about 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen are converted to about 695,000,000 tons of helium and 5,000,000 tons of energy in the form of gamma rays.

You've heard of the "hydrogen bomb" or "H-bomb." Such weapons are generally referred to as thermonuclear weapons and produce a large amount of energy through nuclear fusion reactions. The largest H-bomb ever detonated on earth (the Tsar Bomba of the USSR in 1961) released energy equivalent to over 50 megatons of TNT.

Many, many more nuclear fusion reactions occur in the sun every few seconds of every minute of every day of every month of every year, ad infinitum. That's a lot of energy.

Solar Flares. Sunspots are the planet-sized dark spots on the face of the sun, where the gases are cooler. "Faculae" are harder-to-see hotter spots on the face of the sun, also associated with sunspots. This faculae interacts with the magnetic fields of nearby sunspots. These intense magnetic fields penetrate the "body" of the sun to link the sun's interior to the surface. The results are solar flares, which are violent explosions in the sun's atmosphere releasing enormous amounts of energy.

Flares are powered by the sudden release of energy. The energy particles, x-rays, and magnetic fields from the solar flares bombard earth with a geomagnetic storm, which affects earth in many ways. The heat of the faculae more than offsets the cooler sunspots, so lots of sunspots mean a warmer sun. (And, we know from experience that a warmer sun affects our climate. E.g., when the northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun, it's not as warm-- it's a winter climate).

The sun's output is not entirely constant, nor is the amount of sunspot activity. There was a period of very low sunspot activity during the time period 1645–1715, called the Maunder Minimum. It coincides with an abnormally cold period in northern Europe sometimes known as the "Little Ice Age."

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that there is a correlation between low sunspot activity and cooling temperatures.

Don J. Easterbrook is a retired geology professor at Western Washington University and recognized author. He is skeptical of anthropogenic global warming (i.e., "man-made" global warming). "If the cycles continue as in the past, the current warm cycle should end soon and global temperatures should cool slightly until about 2035, then warm from about 2035 to 2065, and cool slightly until 2100.

Weak sunspot activity correlates to colder temperatures on earth. In fact, low sunspot activity in the past has led to decades of extremely cold worldwide temperatures. Indeed, a lack of sunspot activity may already correlate to the global cooling of the planet seen in the last twelve months [2008]. Therefore, current sunspot inactivity may predict even more cooling of the Earth’s climate in the years to come. In fact, in the years ahead, the world may even experience the extreme global effect of a mini ice age.

Record cold temperatures have been set in many parts of the nation during the winter months of 2008-2009. Yet, we are told that global warming is imminent, requiring immediate drastic measures.

Perhaps we should keep our cool.


Mukilteo sits on Puget Sound in Washington State. It's now my hometown. The information in this post comes from--

I'm posting this informatiion because it sort of lays the foundation for my other post about "Japanese Gulch."

Before the area was explored by Europeans, people of the Snohomish Tribe set up a permanent winter village on the land spit and adjoining salt marsh that became Mukilteo. "Mukilteo" is an English spelling that approximates the original Native American name. It means either "good camping ground" or "narrow passage of water."

In 1792 British Captain George Vancouver (1757-1798) anchored his ship Discovery at the site. In 1841 a US Navy Lieutenant anchored at the site and officially changed the name on American nautical charts and maps to “Point Elliott.”

In 1855 Washington Territory Governor Isaac Stevens (1818-1862) met at Point Elliott with 82 Native American leaders including Chief Seattle. A treaty was signed whereby Native Americans in the region ceded their lands to the United States government in exchange for relocation to reservations, retention of hunting and fishing rights, and an amount of cash. Since, there have been a number of disputes and lawsuits arising out of the treaty.

Snohomish County was created by the territorial legislature in 1861 and Mukilteo was the temporary county seat. The town of Snohomish was soon thereafter established as the county seat, and finally Everett.

The Eagle Brewery was established in Mukilteo in 1870 but fire destroyed the plant in 1882.

In 1903 the Mukilteo Lumber Company plant was established, later renamed to Crown Lumber Company. Many of its workers were Japanese immigrants. (See my posting about "Japanese Gulch"). The company closed in 1930.

A powder plant was established in 1906 by the Puget Sound and Alaska Powder Company but it exploded in 1930 and was never rebuilt.

In 1901 a lighthouse at the point was planned. It was all wood and was lit for the first time in 1906. Electricity reached the station in 1927.

Residents on nearby Whidbey Island needed to connect with the mainland and in 1911 the Island Transportation Company began ferry service. Car ferries began in 1919 with runs between Mukilteo and Clinton, the terminal on the island. For the next three decades, ferry service was maintained by ships of the Puget Sound Navigation Company (the Black Ball Line) until 1951, when the company was purchased by Washington State Ferries.

The state transferred ownership of Light House Park to the City of Mukilteo in 2003, which has plans for redevelopment that will include adding lawns and picnic spaces. Mukilteo Historical Society is now in charge of the lighthouse. --