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 getting run over by a rocket car going 700 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats as we visit Utah. So let’s get started…
* Utah became the 45th state on January 4th, 1896. It was originally founded by a group of Mormons from Illinois in search of a new food supply after they’d hunted the local population of lime jello to extinction.
* The state song of Utah is “Hooray for Sacred Undergarments!”
* Utah gets its name from the Navajo Indian word meaning, “yet another unreadably boring holy book”.
* Utah has a professional basketball team – the Utah Jazz. No one’s sure where they got the black guys for it, since the state is 50% whiter than the NHL and the American Polo League combined.
* Utah is home to America’s first department store, the Zions Co-operative Mercantile Institution. It operates today as ZCMI, after having won the trademark infringement lawsuit against Zionist Conspiracy Members International.
* The state motto of Utah is “7 am is NOT too early to ring doorbells for Jesus”.
* The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City took 40 years to complete. It would’ve been done sooner, but the workers were required to take church-mandated “conception breaks”.
* That’s Mormon for “nooners”.
* And when you have 30 wives, that makes for some LONG lunch hours.
* At 278 feet long, the Rainbow Bridge is the world’s largest natural-rock span. Geologists theorize that the stone beneath the arch was slowly worn away over the years by repeated impacts from an unlucky yet persistent coyote.
* Utah’s license plates have black lettering over a desert image background and feature the slogan “Annoying, yet SO nicely dressed”.
* Utah’s Great Salt Lake covers 2100 square miles with average depth of 13 feet. The salt concentration of the lake is approximately that of the rim of a margarita glass.
* Salt Lake City was originally called Great Salt Lake City. The word Great was eventually dropped, as the locals consider it a curse word – for example when used in such obscenities as “Great Caeser’s Ghost!” and “Great Googly Moogly!”.
* The state symbol of Utah is the beehive, which represents thrift, industry, and an insanely high birth rate.
* The state animal of Utah is the Rocky Mountain Oyster.
* Utah’s Wasatch mountain range is named after a Ute Indian word meaning “Wazzzup!”
* During WWII, the Alta, Utah, ski center served as a training ground for the paratroopers from the 10th Mountain Regiment, which is currently known as “The Xtreme Dew Crew Dudes!”
* Utah’s annual precipitation varies from 5 inches in the desert regions to 60 inches in the mountains, in clear violation of the Federal Rainfall Fairness Act.
* Damn Utah and it’s evil precipitationist discrimination!
* In 2002, Salt Lake City was the host of the XIX Olympic Winter Games. The event was a resounding success, marred only by the controversy over banning coffee as a performance-enhancing drug.
* Utah’s nickname is the “Pass The Sanka State”
* Fillmore, Utah served as it’s capital when it was still a territory. I was named for US President Millard Fillmore. The only other thing ever inspired by “America’s Boringest President” is a lame, right-wing comic strip which features a mallard and all the political subtlety of PeTA protesting at a KFC.
* The city of Kanab is known as “Utah’s Little Hollywood, because of the large number of motion pictures filmed in the area, including the new Wachowski Brothers film “Matrix: Decaffeinated”.
* Beaver, Utah is the birthplace of Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television. Which is ironic, since half the time you can’t even say the name of his hometown on TV without getting bleeped.
* Salt Lake City, Utah, is the only state capital whose name contains three words, except for What’s That Smell, New Jersey.
* Utah was originally part of Mexico before the Mexican-American war. It was used by the Mexicans as an internment camp for deranged mental patients who swore using words like: ‘darn’, ‘fetch’, ‘flip’, ‘heck’, ‘shoot’, and ‘sugar’.
* The Spanish word for Utah translates roughly as “Ned Flanders”.
* Utah has over 11,000 miles of fishing streams, which are filled with rainbow trout and secret stashes of Coca-Cola.
* 65% of the land in Utah is owned by the federal government. The fact that 65% of the state is a barren, lifeless wasteland is just a coincidence.
* The television series “Touched By An Angel” was filmed in Utah, as was its low-rated spin-off, “Suing An Angel For Sexual Harassment”.
* Utah has the highest literacy rate in the nation, as long as you define “literacy” to exclude any words that would trigger a PG-13 rating.
That wraps up the Utah edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be wondering how to get that hippie smell out of our maple syrup as we visit Vermont.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a conception break.
[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]