Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States. I’m your host, Harvey, and – 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, we’ll be singing our way through the cotton harvest as we visit North Carolina. So let’s get started…
* North Carolina became the 12th state on November, 21st, 1789. Then, as now, it was the nation’s leading producer of tobacco products and is the only state in the US whose constitution includes a Surgeon General’s warning.
* The state song of North Carolina is a wet, hacking cough.
* Although Carolina is currently considered a woman’s name, North Carolina was actually named for England’s King Charles I, since the Latin word “Carolus” means both “Charles” and “mincing poofter girlie-man”.
* In 1903, the Wright Brothers had their first successful airplane flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although early flights barely left the ground, they were quite popular among amorous couples seeking to join the “10-foot-high club”.
* In the early 1700′s Beaufort Town, North Carolina was a notorious haven for pirates – cruel, dim-witted men with foul mouths and poor personal hygiene who wouldn’t hesitate to use violence to get their way. Rather like hippies, except with bigger boats.
* The famous lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina had to be moved due to erosion problems, due in large part to endless streams of tourists spitting over the rail of the observation deck.
* The state bird of North Carolina is the Cardinal, which I assume was chosen for its red neck.
* The Andy Griffith show was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. It was based on an actual city, but to appease the censors, they changed Otis’ role to town drunk instead of his real job as Aunt Bea’s pimp.
* North Carolina’s state vegetable is the Sweet Potato, which was chosen by the state’s majority population of Sweet Irish.
* Harker Island, North Carolina, is home to the annual Core Sound Duck Decoy Festival which boasts more fake but accurate items than a CBS news broadcast.
* The WWII battleship North Carolina was preserved as a museum in 1963 as a reminder to the Japs that they should stick to tending goldfish.
* The first English Colony in America was at Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The entire population vanished without a trace in 1590, which is not as mysterious as it sounds, since the colony consisted entirely of deadbeat dads.
* The state motto of North Carolina is “Esse quam videri”, which is Latin for “arrogant basketball snobs”.
* At nearly 6700 feet, North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi and is rumored to be the hiding place of the notorious terrorist Bubba bin Laden.
* Krispy Kreme Donuts was started in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The donuts are staggeringly popular throughout the US, despite the fact that their name is an obvious euphemism for “stale filling”.
* The Venus Flytrap is a carnivorous plant which is native to North Carolina. It will eat dead flies, spoiled hamburger, and most other things commonly found in the kitchen at McDonald’s.
* The first miniature golf course was built in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and was originally invented to appeal to tourists who hate exercise, but really enjoy frustrated cursing.
* Babe Ruth hit the first of his record 714 home runs while playing in Fayetteville, North Carolina on March 7, 1914. He also hit his first peanut vendor in the process – his record for that (179) remains unbroken to this day.
* The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina is America’s largest home. Designed by architect Mike Brady, it contains 255 rooms and a single, shared, upstairs bathroom with no toilet.
* The first state-owned art museum is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. All modern art exhibits there are limited by law to 1.6 gallons per flush.
* North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is designated by the UN as an “International Biosphere Reserve”, which is just a polite way of saying “a place for the French to hide in case they get frightened by a loud noise or something”.
* The Mile-High Swinging Bridge near Linville, North Carolina, is 5305 feet above sea level. It wasn’t originally designed to swing, but that’s Union labor for ya.
* Pepsi was invented in New Bern, North Carolina in 1898. The secret ingredient in the beverage is a closely-guarded secret, but here’s a hint: the beverage was originally called “Peesi”.
* The town of Wendell, North Carolina, was named for Oliver Wendell Holmes, or possibly for that pale, sickly kid on the Simpsons.
* Golfing legend Arnold Palmer started his career playing on the championship golf team of Wake Forest University. He’s credited with inventing the “casually kick the ball closer to the hole maneuver” now popularly known as “Palmering”.
* Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1822 Hiram Rhoades Revels became the first black member of the US Congress – inexplicably, without Jesse Jackson’s help.
* 17th President Andrew Johnson started out as a tailor’s apprentice in Raleigh, North Carolina. He became the first President in American history to be impeached, but was acquitted in his Senate trial, since his crimes DID include lying about diddling an intern.
* North Carolina leads the nation in furniture production, and is famous for its leather sofas made from the skins of unlucky NASCAR drivers.
* North Carolina was the first state in the US to establish a state symphony orchestra, which consisted of a jug, a washboard, and a washtub bass.
* In 1987, North Carolina declared milk to be the official state beverage when the clerk typing up the bill inadvertently misspelled “moonshine”.
* Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, televangelist Billy Graham – like Osama bin Laden – used the power of modern media to spread his religious message. Fortunately, his followers usually became naggy church ladies instead of suicide bombers.
That wraps up the North Carolina edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be mortified to discover that the people in Fargo really DO sound like those people in the movie, as we visit North Dakota.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go join the “10-foot-high club”.
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