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 visit the state that 9 out of 10 kids mislabel as Arizona when they try to fill out a blank map of the US, otherwise known as New Mexico. So let’s get started…
* New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6th, 1912. It was originally founded by refugees from Texas seeking the religious freedom to end their prayers with “Amen” instead of “YEE-HAW!”.
* Only 10% of the New Mexico Territory acquired by the US government during the Mexican-American War actually became the state of New Mexico. Very much like your income after taxes.
* The world’s largest hot air balloon festival is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, since the city’s air comes conveniently pre-heated.
* Only .002% of New Mexico’s total surface area is covered by lakes and rivers, giving it a water-to-land ratio just slightly larger than Ted Kennedy’s conscience-to-soul ratio.
* The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated near Alamagordo, New Mexico, on July 16th, 1945. The site was chosen by President Truman because he thought it “sounded Japanese enough for blowin’ up”.
* New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument is the state’s most popular tourist destination among confused cocaine addicts.
* Grants, New Mexico, was once known as “the carrot capital of the country” until it was brought low by a plague of wascally wabbits.
* The northwest corner of New Mexico borders the corners of three other states, where Cerberus jealously guards against invaders from Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.
* The Palace of the Governors in Sante Fe, New Mexico, was built in 1610 and is the oldest public buildings in America. Its walls are covered by colorful frescoes and the unremovable stench of nearly 400 years of political corruption.
* The ancient Anasazi Indian civilization flourished in New Mexico for over 1300 years before being invaded and conquered by confused cocaine addicts.
* New Mexico is the only state in the US named after the country from which the land was acquired. At least until we get around to re-naming Quebec “New Canada”.
* That’s right, you filthy Canucks, we’re comin’ for ya.
* The state flower of New Mexico is the Yucca. Like hemp, its sturdy, fibrous leaves make excellent rope, yet hippies are inexplicably unenthusiastic about it.
* Over 1/4 of New Mexico is covered by lush, tropical, dust forests.
* Hippies aren’t crazy about those, either.
* The largest fire in New Mexico’s history destroyed nearly 50,000 acres of forest in 2000, and was caused by an Enron document-destroying party that got out of hand.
* In 1950, the cub that became the original Smokey the Bear was found after a fire in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest. He was later convicted of arson and sentenced to a life of community service as the Forest Service’s mascot.
* 1 out of 3 families in New Mexico speak Spanish at home. While driving, however, 100% of the state’s residents that I cut off in traffic shook their fist and called me “pendejo!”, so that first statistic might be low.
* The mine at Lake Valley, New Mexico, has veins of 100% pure silver, which allows for removal without destructive mining techniques. Ben & Jerry’s was so impressed by this environmentally-friendly operation that they offered to name an ice cream flavor after it, until they realized that nothing really rhymes with “silver”.
* Inventor Robert Goddard made great advances in the science of rocketry at his Roswell, New Mexico, testing site. The museum dedicated to his work features scale models of his rocket designs and the stuffed & mounted bodies of all the aliens he shot down.
* After helping to create the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, facility, many of the scientists and engineers remained in the area, leading to the creation of America’s first Federal Nerd Sanctuary.
* 1 in 4 adults in New Mexico are employed directly by the Federal Government, which may explain the state’s motto of “Liberty, Bureaucracy, Sloth”.
* There were no public schools in New Mexico until the early 20th century, which is why the state’s residents can both spell and pronounce “Albuquerque” correctly.
* New Mexico has more sheep and cattle than people. McDonald’s reports having a hard time keeping up with demand for its new McMeadow sandwich.
* Because of its arid climate, 3/4 of New Mexico’s roads are unpaved. Since the dirt is so dry and compacted, it doesn’t wash away when it rains. Much like when a hippie showers.
* Yeah, I know, but use your imagination.
* Sportscaster John Madden was born in Austin, New Mexico, on the same day as the detonation of the first atomic bomb, which may explain his penchant for the word “boom!”.
* The city of Truth of Consequences, New Mexico, was named after a popular 1950’s radio quiz show, or possibly the fact that it’s inhabited by mind reading aliens who deal screaming death to those who dare speak untruths in their presence.
* Either way, Bill Clinton has never visited the city. Make of that what you will.
* The town of Deming, New Mexico, is known for its annual duck races. Insider tip: bet heavily on “Quack O’ War”.
* Singer John Denver was born in Roswell, New Mexico, and is credited by many as the inspiration for Metallica’s raw, heavy metal sound.
That wraps up the New Mexico edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be shocked to discover that there’s actually an entire state surrounding that big, smelly, attention-hogging city, as we visit New York.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a church service to attend – YEE-HAW!
Hey… I’m Orthodox.
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