The Wrap by Ron Judd

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The time has come for Washington state’s troubled ferry system to keep clam.

The state is building two additions to its most-enduring public symbol — the green, white and rust-colored ferries plying the waters of Puget Sound.

The two new boats, recently dubbed the “Olympic Class,” are 144-car vessels that will replace 1950s-era ferries such as the Evergreen State. One of the $115 million boats is under construction now at Vigor Shipyard, and will hit the Sound by 2014.

To date, the boats are unnamed. So Mr. Wrap would like to propose a long-overdue and obvious choice for the first: the M.V. Ivar Haglund.

No single person in state history personifies the saltwater-in-your-veins gestalt of Puget Sound life more vividly or colorfully than Haglund (1905-1985), the late restaurateur, troubadour, fireworks pyromaniac, civic prankster and beloved, larger-than-life civic character. Ivar’s lutefisk blood lines — he was the son of Norwegian and Swedish immigrants — don’t hurt the cause, either.

The name would be a departure in a system whose fleet is dominated by Native American names, most doubling as places or natural features. But the state’s official criteria allows boats to be named after individuals who have been deceased for at least 20 years, possess “enduring fame,” and have played a “significant historical role in the region.”

In Ivar’s case: Check, check, check.

The state plans to have the first new vessel named by Dec. 1. More details about this process — and how supporters of an Ivar boat on Puget Sound can help make it happen — will come in this space.

More unassailable logic:

Speaking of Names: Hope Washington State Ferries, with its “Olympic Class,” is ready for an official trademark-infringement Nag Letter from the U.S. Olympic Committee. A federal waiver exists for names based on the Olympic Mountains, but that’s never stopped the badly in-need-of-a-life USOC lawyers before.

Just Asking: In any other business, wouldn’t multiple people get fired for screwing up as thoroughly as CNN and Fox News Channel did in getting the result completely wrong as the Supreme Court’s health-care decision was announced Thursday morning?

Speaking of Health Care: Candidate Mitt Romney, R-Obamacare, has vowed to ride anger over the health-care initiative — based on his own Massachusetts Plan — all the way to the White House. It’s sort of like Sen. John McCain, R-Thritis, running on a youth-movement platform.

Special Petroleum-Distribution Update: West Coast gas prices have plummeted in recent weeks as the massive cash-storage facilities maintained by oil companies and refiners finished their scheduled maintenance and performance upgrades. Don’t get used to it.

It’s Come to This: Annoying NBC morning host Matt Lauer interviewed an author offering tips on inducements to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. Notably, watching the “Today” show was not among them.

Blue Toll of Death: The first of what’s likely to be a long string of rate increases hits the Highway 520 floating bridge Sunday. Can’t we just make it official and sell naming rights to the Microsoft Bridge?

And Finally: Scientists at the University of California, Davis, say they’ve solved the genetic mystery behind bad-tasting tomatoes. Does this mean they are now free to finally do something about Brussels sprouts?

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at

or 206-464-8280.