Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.
This week, it’s time to follow the yellow brick road out to Kansas, so let’s get started…
* Kansas became the 34th state on January 29th, 1861 because America needed to meet its Affirmative Action quota for stolen Indian land.
* Kansas was originally populated by people from Iowa who just couldn’t handle that state’s hectic, fast-paced lifestyle anymore.
* The state bird of Kansas is the meadowlark, whose beautiful song failed to impress Simon during an American Idol audition.
* The state flower of Kansas is the sunflower, the seeds of which are highly poisonous and can only be cured with high doses of steroids.
* At least according to the Major League Baseball Player’s Union.
* Kansas lies along the eastern edge of Colorado, but sometimes sneaks across the border in the dead of night to steal the occasional mountain.
* Kansas normally maintains a constant temperature of 72 degrees all year long, but sometimes impish tornadoes mess with the thermostat when no one’s looking.
* At just over 4000 feet, Mt. Sunflower is the highest point in Kansas.
* And yeah, they stole it from Colorado. Dirty, thieving Kansasians!
* Members of the Kansas Board of Education voted to outlaw the teaching of evolution in Kansas schools to avoid offending monkeys who were outraged at the suggestion that they evolved from hippies.
* The state song of Kansas is “We’re Not Too Crazy About Newton’s Theory of Gravity, Either”.
* The state motto of Kansas is “Flat, boring, and full of wheaty goodness. We’re like America’s snack cracker!”
* The word Kansas comes from a Sioux Indian word meaning “Probably not a good place to build a ski resort”.
* Cawker City, Kansas is home to the world’s largest ball of twine. It contains over 300 miles of string and 73 slow kittens.
* Kansas has a population of 2.6 million people, but surprisingly, NONE of them have ever seen “The Wizard of Oz”, and they’ll just stare at you blankly if you refer to someone’s dog as Toto.
* The state tree of Kansas is the cottonwood tree, which is used to make very splintery T-shirts.
* The first female Mayor in the US was Susan Salter, elected in Argonia, Kansas in 1887. However, she was soon driven out of office due to a scandalous affair with her intern, Marvin Lewinsky
* No relation to Monica, although he WAS rumored to occasionally wear a blue dress.
* The dial telephone was invented by Almon Stowger of El Dorado, Kansas and was a vast improvement over earlier models which required the user to make different animal noises for each digit.
* The 34th President of the US – Dwight Eisenhower – was born in Abilene, Kansas. His portrait was removed from the dollar coin in 1979, but still remains on most Chuck E. Cheese game tokens.
* In exchange for the relatively low income tax rate, citizens of Kansas are required to spend one week each year working in one of the state’s wheat mines.
* Kansas has the lowest suicide rate of any state in the US, mostly because there’s nothing high enough to jump off of.
* The state sport of Kansas is WheatBall, which is even less exciting than it sounds.
* The state constitution of Kansas guarantees its citizens the right to keep and bear tornadoes.
* Mostly as a defense against any flying monkeys that might their way over the rainbow from Oz.
* Kansas has the largest population of wild grouse in the US. These birds are also known as “prairie chickens” or “meadow Frenchmen”.
* There are over 500 caves in Kansas. The fact that Bruce Wayne owns all of them does NOT prove that he’s Batman.
* Last year, Kansas grew 500 million bushels of wheat, which, if it were all made into bread, would be enough to feed Michael Moore lunch.
Well, that wraps up the Kansas edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week I’ll be out shopping for moonshine in Kentucky.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play a game of WheatBall… yay.
[The complete e-book version of "Fun Facts About the 50 States" is now available at Amazon.com. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download free Kindle apps for your web browser, smartphone, computer, or tablet from Amazon.com]