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 desperately pleading with grandpa not to change his will before his physician-assisted suicide appointment because we’re headed to Oregon. So let’s get started…
* Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14th, 1859. Historians speculate that this date was chosen by then-president James Buchanan so that Mrs. Buchanan wouldn’t notice that he neglected to get her a Valentine’s Day present. Bloodstains on the family rolling pin provide evidence that his plan failed.
* The capital of Oregon is Salem, which has nothing to do with witch-burning, despite claims to the contrary by members of the Oregon chapter of Recovered Newts Anonymous.
* The state flower of Oregon is the Oregon grape, whose fruit is said to rival that of the greatest French vineyards, even though Oregonian wine lacks the cowardly and annoying bouquet of its French competitors.
* Oregon license plates come in a variety of colorful designs, but all contain the phrase “Where Old Hippies Come To Die”.
* Oregon is nicknamed “The Beaver State”. For you city-folk, a beaver is a smelly, hairy, bucktoothed animal with a wide, flat tail. Sorta like a feminist, except less prone to rabid frothing.
* Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state. However, please note that moving to one of them will NOT increase your chances of scoring with Patrick Swayze.
* Which could be either a bug or a feature, depending on which way you swing.
* Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge is considered by many to offer the world’s best windsurfing. Of course, those “many” are mostly people who think it’s funny to watch windsurfers crash into rocks.
* Oregon’s Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America. The bottom reaches all the way to Hell, and will become the source of the eternally leaky roof used to torture Bob Vila after he dies.
* Like New Jersey, Oregon has no self-serve gas stations. The idea is to provide jobs for folks who aren’t quite bright enough to master the phrase “fries with that?” and other people who vote Democrat.
* The Coast Douglas Fir – at 329 feet – was the tallest tree in the state until it was cut down to make “Save the Spotted Owl” flyers for the Sierra Club.
* Oregon’s state nut is the Hazelnut. Oregon is the only state with an official state nut, since Michigan’s Michael Moore is technically classified as a “lunatic”.
* The town of Boring, Oregon, was named for its founder, W.H. Boring, and NOT because the town’s only TV station shows nothing but reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.
* The world’s largest sea-cave is located near Florence, Oregon, and is populated mostly by round-bellied sharks and shredded wetsuits.
* Oregon’s Heceta Head Lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse in the nation, due in large part to its scenic quaintness. At least according to its 36-24-36 nudist lighthouse keeper.
* Eugene, Oregon is rated the best cycling community in the US by “Cycling Magazine”. It’s also the nation’s top consumer of “Lance Armstrong Brand Undetectable Injectable Testosterone”.
* There are nine lighthouses still standing along the Oregon coastline. Five are still in use, the other four were sold as advertising space for Viagra.
* The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center contains the world’s largest collection of rosaries, although not quite enough to keep Ted Kennedy from going to Hell, where he’ll share a house with Bob Vila.
* The Seaside Aquarium was the first to successfully breed harbor seals in captivity. They credit their success to cheap wine and Barry White CD’s.
* Salem’s capitol building is topped by a statue titled “Oregon Pioneer”, which features a drunken French-Candadian fur-trader in the midst of hollering “Where do you guys keep the beaver around here?”.
* The International Museum of Carousel Art in Hood River, Oregon contains the world’s largest collection of carousel horses and is known to the locals as the “Wooden Glue Factory”.
* Every house in Bickelton, Oregon has a bluebird house built onto it. It’s as though Hitchcock filmed “The Birds” in Stepford.
* The origins of Oregon’s name are shrouded in mystery, although the most popular theory is that it was derived from an incident during the Lewis & Clark expedition where they lost a canoe paddle on the Columbia river.
* Which would also explain Oregon’s other nickname – “the bad pun state”.
* Eugene, Oregon was the first city in the US to have one-way streets, effectively halving the number of times motorists get harrassed by the same squeegee guy.
* The state motto of Oregon is “Alis Volat Propiis” – Latin for “Canada’s THAT way, ya draft-dodging hippie”.
* Oregon’s state fish is the Chinook Salmon, which is on the verge of extinction, since it’s not cute & fluffy enough for environmentalists to give a crap about.
* Portland, Oregon, is home to the International Rose Test Garden, where researchers recently developed a Super Rose, beautiful enough to buy forgiveness for a 3 a.m. stumbling-drunk return from a strip club.
* Tillamook is the site of Oregon’s largest cheese factory and, coincidentally, Oregon’s largest mouse-trap factory.
* At 8000 feet deep, Hell’s Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. A scale model of it can be seen by observing the trickle of sweat continuously running along the bottom of one of Michael Moore’s belly-folds.
That wraps up the Oregon edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be suckered into paying $100 for a “genuine” piece of Ben Franklin’s kite as we visit Pennsylvania.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go out and buy me a Super Rose
[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]