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 recklessly running Amish buggies off the road for fun as we visit Pennsylvania. So let’s get started…
* Pennsylvania became the 2nd state on December 12, 1787. They foolishly squandered their shot at being first by mistakenly assuming that Delaware would choose scissors instead of paper.
* Pennsylvania license plates are white with blue lettering, and contain the helpful phrase “Not The Sylvania With The Vampires”.
* The state Motto of Pennsylvania is “Buy our Revolutionary-War-related souvenirs or we’ll question your patriotism”.
* Pennsylvania has a population of over 12 million people, all of whom can spell “Roethlisberger” without looking it up first.
* Born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, James Buchanan was elected the 15th president of the US due the use of confusing butterfly ballots in Florida – the REAL cause of the Civil War.
* Pennsylvania was the first state to have its own web site – www.two.n.one.l.gov
* The first baseball stadium was built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1909. It was financed by Old Man Johnson, who explained, “It’s cheaper than replacing all the windows those gul-durned whipper-snappers keep breaking – now get offa my lawn!”
* Hershey, Pennsylvania is the Chocolate Capital of the US – Ray Nagin’s claims about New Orleans to the contrary notwithstanding.
* The first automobile service station was opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913. The first customer was finally served in 1915, after the invention of that cable-thingy that rings a bell when you run over it.
* The first computer was built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1946. It was as big as a house, could not answer complex questions, and its responses were confusing gobbledygook which even experts had a hard time deciphering. Sorta like Michael Moore without the filthy ballcap.
* York Barbell Co. was started in York, Pennsylvania, in 1932. Its Olympic bodybuilding coach founder, Bob Hoffman, inspired such burly legends as Charles Atlas and Arnold Schwarzenegger by kicking sand in their faces and stealing their girls back when they were still weak and helpless.
* The first daily newspaper in the US was published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1784. It’s first headline: “Redcoats Of Mass Destruction Never Existed – The Lies Behind Washington’s Illegal War For Tea”
* In Loganville, Pennsylvania, in 1885, Dr. George Holtzapple recorded the first successful medical use of oxygen to help a patient breathe. The new technique would never replace the more reliable mixture of opium smoke and powdered leeches still used in hospitals today.
* The Rockville Bridge in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was the longest stone arch bridge in the world until it was destroyed for the climatic fight scene during the filming of “Fellowship of the Ring II: The Balroginning”.
* Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World. The town produces more fungus per square foot than a truck stop shower stall.
* The Declaration of Independence was singed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776. That’s NOT a typo. Seems that after the signing, the Founding Fathers got ‘faced and weren’t too careful with the fireworks.
* KDKA radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, produced the first commercial radio broadcast in 1920 which featured Jebediah and Ezekiel, the Wacky Amish Morning Guys.
* Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was home to the Liberty Bell for many years, but it was recently traded for the Security Bell by those who deserve neither.
* Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, holds an annual re-enactment of Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River. At least until last year when they were sued by the ACLU, which claimed that the word “crossing” discriminated against non-Christians.
* Benjamin Franklin created the first American zoo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was originally stocked with British POW’s wearing animal costumes.
* Attention Amnesty International – NOT TORTURE.
* Actor Jimmy Stewart was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Every year, the city is decorated with an “It’s A Wonderful Life” theme. A bit of IAWL trivia – in the original version, Stewart’s character burns down the Bailey Building & Loan for the insurance money and escapes to the Bahamas.
* The Williamsport team won the first Little League World Series, held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1947. Experts agree that the Williamsport team could quite likely have beaten the 1947 Chicago Cubs. Or the Cubs in ANY year, for that matter.
* The city of State College, Pennsylvania, was the first city to offer a high school driver’s education course, replacing the older method of handing the kid the keys and a six pack and wishing him luck.
* George Blaisdell founded the Zippo Manufacturing Co. in Bradford, Pennsylvania, in 1932. His lighters were featured prominently in the original version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”.
* There is actually a town in Pennsylvania called Intercourse. However, moving there won’t guarantee you a satisfying sex life. Moving to Climax, Pennsylvania, on the other hand…
* In 1859, Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, thus making possible the women’s lubricated wrestling industry.
* Johann Behrent built the first American piano in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 after a friend bet him $200 that there was nothing more annoying than a hyperactive 3-year-old banging away on a harpsichord.
* Philadelphia was the home of Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag, as well as doing the embroidery on George Washington’s “If you can read this, the bitch fell off my horse” jacket.
* Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog in the world, makes his home in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Although ostensibly unbiased, he has long been rumored to be a mere tool of Big Weather.
* Comedian and actor Bill Cosby was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was the last black man to sell a consumer product without using the word “yo”.
That wraps up the Pennsylvania edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be trying desperately to locate Quahog on a map as we visit Rhode Island.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go buy some Revolutionary-War-related souvenirs.
NOW STOP QUESTIONING MY PATRIOTISM!
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