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 grab your big blue ox and start lumberjacking your way through Bunyan country because we’re going to Minnesota, so let’s get started…
* Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11th, 1858 and was originally settled by a lost tribe of Norwegians seeking refuge from the searing heat of Wisconsin’s winters.
* Minnesota gets it’s name from the Sioux Indian word “Mah-nee-soo-tah”, meaning “No, really, they eat fish soaked in lye”.
* The state song of Minnesota is “Someday the Vikings Will… Aw, Nevermind”
* The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota covers 9.5 million square feet and has enough space to hold 185,000 idiot teenagers yapping away on cell phones.
* Madison, Minnesota is known as “The Lutefisk Capital of the World”. Avoid this city at all costs.
* “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was set in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was Mary’s first real acting job since leaving the “Dick Van Dyke Show”. The show – about a single woman’s struggle to find happiness in the big city – was originally titled “Life Without Dick”, but that was changed for some reason.
* The state motto of Minnesota is, “Where even a man who wears a feather boa can grow up to be Governor.”
* Downtown Minneapolis has an enclosed skyway system covering 52 blocks, allowing people to live, work, eat, and sleep without ever going outside. The only downside to this is that an Eloi occasionally turns up missing.
* Cartoonist Charles M. Shultz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and was the only artist to accurately depict the perfectly circular heads of Minnesota natives.
* The Hormel company of Austin, Minnesota produces 6 million cans of spam a year, even though no one actually eats that crap.
* The first water skis were invented in Lake City, Minnesota by Ralph Samuelson in 1922. Sadly, he drowned shortly afterwards, as the motorboat hadn’t been invented yet.
* St. Paul, Minnesota was originally named “Pig’s Eye”, after French Canadian whiskey trader Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. Its “twin city”, Minneapolis, was known as “Pig’s Colon”.
* The stapler was invented in Swingline, Minnesota by a chubby, mumbling man named Milton in 1999. The city was mysteriously destroyed by fire later that year.
* Pelican Rapids is home to a 16-foot-tall concrete pelican, which subsists on a diet of 4-foot-long concrete fish.
* In 1973, Olivia, Minnesota erected a 25-foot tall fiberglass corn cob to celebrate its rich, agricultural heritage. In 1974, it was eaten by a 50-foot statue of Babe the Blue Ox.
* Yeah, Minnesota has a LOT of problems with statue cannibalism.
* Minnesota licensce plates are blue & white and contain the phrase “Blizzards on Independence Day – You Get Used To It.”
* Frank C. Mars, founder of the Mars Candy Co. was born in Newport, Minnesota. His 3 Musketeers candy bar originally contained three bars in one wrapper, each filled with a different flavor nougat – chocolate, spam, and lutefisk.
* The first fully automatic pop-up toaster was invented in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1926, Minnesota’s stringent bread-control laws currently only allow residents to own semi-automatic toasters.
* Tonka Trucks continue to be manufactured in Minnetonka, Minnesota, despite the thousands of GI Joe dolls killed by them annually in rollover accidents.
* No airbags, no seatbelts… these things are DEATHTRAPS, I tell ya!
* Author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Walnut Creek, Minnesota, and was famous for writing the “Little House” series of books, as well as inventing the “Spam Diet” – which consists of looking at a plate of Spam until you lose your appetite.
* Much like the “Lutefisk Diet”.
* The snowmobile was invented in Roseau, Minnesota so as to allow families a means of attending Independence Day picnics.
* Contrary to popular myth, you can NOT buy a 1-ounce can of Coke in Minnesota.
* Singer Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. All gay men are required by their religion to make a pilgrimmage there at least once in their lifetimes.
* Hookers in Minnesota are easy to spot. They’re the ones wearing crotchless parkas.
* Minnesotans are almost indistinguishable from Wisconsinites. The only way to tell them apart is to ask if they voted for Mondale in ’84.
…That wraps up the Minnesota edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week I’ll be wearing my “s” & “i” keys down to nubs as I type about Mississippi.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go take a closer look at that chick’s parka.
[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]