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, we’ll be visiting the state where, when a man says “mine’s bigger”, he’s talking about his belt buckle, because we’re headed to Oklahoma. So let’s get started…
* Oklahoma was admitted to the union as the 46th state on November 16th, 1907, in order to fill a diversity quota for states that vaguely resemble cookware.
* The state flower of Oklahoma is mistletoe. Its berries are deadly poisonous, which is convenient since there’s really nothing to live for in Oklahoma, anyway.
* Oklahoma’s name comes from the Choctaw Indian word “oka-oma”, which means “mobile home destroyed by tornado”.
* The state song of Oklahoma is, as you would expect, the title song from the musical “Oklahoma”. Which doesn’t make the residents of the state gay. Unless they actually LIKE the song.
* The world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, and was seen as a reasonable alternative to the previous method of controlling parking time – throwing a dead skunk on the hood of the vehicle after 30 minutes.
* Although most residents of Vinita, Oklahoma, were pleased to become the first city in the state to receive electricity in 1871, city hall was soon inundated by complaints from citizens who were unable to make their VCR’s stop blinking “12:00″.
* Oklahoma City has an operating oil well on its capitol grounds. Despite numerous attempts to have it removed, Mr. Clampett firmly refuses to sell.
* Duncan, Oklahoma is home to a life-size statue of a cattle drive, titled, “I Crap Bigger Than You”.
* Boise City, Oklahoma was the only city in the US to be bombed during World War II. In 1943, a US B-17 bomber dropped 6 practice bombs on the town as a warning to other cities that were still selling sauerkraut instead of “Liberty Cabbage”.
* Okmulgee, Oklahoma holds the record for the world’s largest pecan pie. It was 60 feet in diameter, and contained over 300,000 pecans, as well as a dozen squirrels who didn’t get out of the nut bin in time.
* The state motto of Oklahoma is “labor omnia vincit”, which means “my brother was an extra in ‘Twister'”.
* Oklahoma residents are known as “Sooners”, after the disreputable people who made homestead claims prior to the official start time of noon on April 22nd, 1889. Personally, I don’t like the nickname because it makes light of a serious offense. It’s like referring to terrorists who blow up children as “baby boomers”.
* The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City. Whaddya wanna bet that Terrell Owens throws a fit because they won’t induct him?
* Every April, the city of Beaver, Oklahoma, holds the World Championship Cow Chip Throw. It’s the one time of year where the phrase “You wanna watch me fling poo?” actually works as a pick-up line.
* Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City invented the modern shopping cart, enabling the homeless at last to transport their worldly goods without the use of Sherpas.
* Jenks, Oklahoma, is home to more antique stores than any other city, and has more useless, outdated, unworkable items than a Democractic Party platform.
* The first capital city of Oklahoma was Guthrie, but it was later moved to Oklahoma City, since no one wanted their state to be associated with a crappy folk singer.
* I mean, “You can get anything you want blah, blah, blah” over and over and over. Doesn’t that song ever freakin’ END?
* At over a mile in length, Oklahoma’s Pensacola Dam is the world’s largest multiple arch dam. In case of leaks, there are emergency repair kits every 1000 feet containing a sponge and a roll of duct tape.
* Bob Dunn of Beggs, Oklahoma, invented the world’s first electric guitar in 1935, about the same time that his mother coined the phrase “turn that crap down!”.
* At 287 feet above sea level, Little River, Oklahoma is the lowest point in the state and is reputed to be one of the many low places where Oklahoma native Garth Brooks has friends.
* Oklahoma City’s WKY was the first radio station to broadcast west of the Mississippi. It’s first transmission was “HELP! TORNADO!”.
* The National Lighter Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma, contains over 20,000 lighters, the largest collection outside of a Rolling Stones concert.
* Oklahoma was the setting for the movie Twister, which proved to be very difficult to shoot, since other tornadoes kept sneaking onto the set and holding up “Hi Mom!” signs.
* Antlers, Oklahoma now bills itself as “The Deer Capital of the World” after receiving too many complaints about its previous nickname of “The World’s Horniest City”.
* Oklahoma is one of only two states whose capital cities include the name of the state. The other is New York.
* Why yes, I *did* fail geography in high school. How did you know?
* The first YIELD sign was installed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was generally considered an improvement over the earlier version which simply said “Prepare For Impact”.
* Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, most of which are a result of a lack of duct tape at the Pensacola Dam.
* Humorist Will Rogers was born in Oologah, Oklahoma, and is best known for his saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like”. Please note that he died before Michael Moore was born.
* Durant, Oklahoma is home to “the world’s largest peanut” – a 3-footer. After being informed that Georgia had a 6-foot peanut, Oklahoma renamed theirs “the world’s largest peanut – after taxes”.
* Oklahoma was featured in the book, “The Grapes of Wrath”, as well as the sequel, “The Raisins of Petulance”.
That wraps up the Oklahoma edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be helping the border patrol beat up on hippies sneaking north from California as we visit Oregon.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go fling some poo. Anyone wanna watch?
[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]