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, the natives will be tricking us into believing that buckeyes actually come from the annual shedding of the male deer’s eyeballs as we visit Ohio. So let’s get started…
* Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803 and was originally populated by people who were improperly whacked by the Detroit mob and dumped into Lake Erie.
* The state flower of Ohio is the Scarlet Carnation, more popularly known as “the cheapskate’s rose”.
* The first ambulance service in the US was started in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1865 as a method of promoting physical fitness among lawyers.
* Cleveland, Ohio is home to America’s first traffic light. The idea was borrowed from the French “war light”, whose green, red, and yellow signals told French citizens whether to flee, surrender, or collaborate.
* Ermal Fraze invented the pop-top can in Kettering, Ohio, which replaced the older, less reliable method of opening cans – outraging a Muslim into suicide-bombing it open for you.
* Singer Dean Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and was the last non-Frenchman to sincerely believe that Jerry Lewis was funny.
* The cash register was invented in Dayton, Ohio in 1879 by James Ritty. The first model consisted of a locking drawer attached to his wife’s cleavage.
* “Hang On Sloopy” is the official state rock song of Ohio, which narrowly beat out “Smack My Bitch Up”.
* Although Ohio’s state nickname is the “Buckeye State”, long-time residents still prefer the previous nickname of the “Big Red Dangling Nuts State”.
* Ohio’s name comes from an Iroquois Indian word meaning “Lake Erie’s on fire again”.
* Founded in 1869, the Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team. The second professional team wasn’t created until 1870, which may explain why the Reds won their first 130 games by forfeit.
* Akron, Ohio was the first city to use police cars. Coincidentally, it was also the first city with a donut shop.
* Cincinnati was the first city with a full-time professional fire department, originally consisting of 25 Dalmatians with bladder-control problems.
* Akron, Ohio is the rubber capital of the world, annually producing enough of the material to supply rubber chickens to every crappy prop comic on earth. Or to supply one Carrot Top show.
* The American Federation of Labor union was founded in Columbus, Ohio. It offers all the high-quality corrupt thuggery you’ve come to expect from East Coast unions, but with a pleasant mid-western accent.
* At the age of 77, Ohio senator John Glenn became the oldest man to visit outer space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. The ship was grounded for six months afterwards while crews worked around the clock to get the “old person smell” out of it.
* Cleveland, Ohio, is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is located across the street from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Museum.
* Ohio is the nation’s leading producer of greenhouse and nursery plants. None of which are marijuana. And no, I don’t know where you can get any. Now get away from me, you stupid hippie!
* Canton, Ohio, is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt in my mind that Terrell Owens will make it in there someday – if he stops at the front counter and pays for an adult admission ticket.
* Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and became the first man to walk on the moon. The second man to walk on the moon… eh… who cares about THAT loser!
* Born in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright Brothers invented the airplane in 1903. Their accomplishment was was largely ignored until they invented the scantily-clad stewardess in 1905.
* Americans have elected seven presidents from the state of Ohio. If we elect three more, we’ll get a coupon for a free Speaker of the House.
* The hot dog was given its name by concessionaire Harry Stevens of Niles, Ohio, after discovering that people weren’t interested in buying his “snouts & sawdust sausages”.
* 50% of the United States population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus, Ohio. The other 50% lives with a profound sense of relief.
* Charles Kettering of Loudonville, Ohio, invented the automobile self-starter in 1911, which was a huge improvement over the old method of grabbing the engine block while peeing on an electric fence.
* In 1839, Charles Goodyear of Akron, Ohio, developed the process of vulcanizing rubber. Prior to that time, rubber could neither live long nor prosper.
* Teflon was invented by Roy Plunkett of New Carlisle, Ohio, in 1938 after he followed a recipe for homemade glue typed up by his dyslexic secretary.
* Oberlin College was founded in 1833, with the goal of becoming the first interracial and coeducational college in the US. It took a lot of persuading to get people to part with perfectly good tuition money only to be forced to rub elbows with filthy Irishmen.
* Civil War General and US President Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio. His only notable accomplishments were getting really drunk and killing people. Which means that if Ted Kennedy had ever become president, we’d have had a different portrait on the $50 bill.
That wraps up the Ohio edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be wondering why the musical didn’t mention tornadoes and trailer parks as we visit Oklahoma.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go find an electric fence so I can start my car.
[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]