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 going to the only state that serves maple syrup at communion services as we visit Vermont. So let’s get started…
* Vermont became the 14th state on March 4, 1791 after they finally stopped holding out for having the state represented on the flag by a maple leaf.
* Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the US. This keeps America from having to rely on inferior Canadian syrup, which is frequently tainted with impurities such as benzene or socialism.
* The stoner-rock band Phish got its start in Burlington, Vermont. It has a cult-like following similar to that of the Grateful Dead, except fewer of Phish’s fans are old enough to have taken the brown acid at Woodstock.
* In 1916, Barre, Vermont elected a socialist mayor. This ushered in 4 frightening years when their syrup was inferior to Canada’s.
* Vermont gets its name from the French words “verts monts”, which mean “green mountains” and are the only two words in the language which don’t translate roughly as “we surrender”.
* Vermont’s capital of Montpelier has a population of under 9,000 people, which means there’s always plenty of parking for filthy hippies when they show up to protest whatever it is that’s pissing them off this week.
* Montpelier is the only state capital in the US without a McDonald’s, which – technically – makes it a backwards, third-world hellhole. Expect Sally Struthers to be doing some “save the children” commercials for the place sometime soon.
* Vermont has a cows-to-people ratio of 10 to 1, which makes me suspect that the absence of a Montpelier McDonald’s is due to heavy lobbying by Big Cow.
* Vermont’s two biggest employees are Ben & Jerry’s and IBM. IBM actually has trouble attracting workers, since it offers its habitually-baked-at-lunch hippie labor pool fewer opportunities to assuage their munchies by nibbling on the company product.
* Vermont was, at various times in its history, claimed by both New Hampshire and New York. However, like the skunk, it escaped these predators by emitting a New-Jersey-like odor.
* Until 1996, Vermont was the only state without a Wal-Mart, leaving fat women in lime-green stretch pants wandering the streets without a place to gather, gossip, and ignore their crying children.
* Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream company has always given their ice cream waste to local farmers to feed their hogs. However, since Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by the multi-billion dollar business conglomerate Unilever in 2000, the hogs have refused to eat it, citing the bitter, corporate-sellout taste.
* While living in Vermont in the 1890’s, author Rudyard Kipling invented the game of snow golf. It’s played by cursing and throwing your clubs while searching for a white ball in a snowbank.
* Born in Plymouth, Vermont, in 1872, Calvin Coolidge is the only US president born on the 4th of July, and thus the only president to get the free Yankee Doodle Dandy Birthday Sundae from the White House Cafeteria.
* Vermont’s state capitol building is one of the few to have a gold-covered dome. At the peak of the dome stands a stature of Ceres, the Greek goddess of pancake toppings.
* Over 70 percent of Vermont traffic tickets issued in 1996 were given to male drivers, most of whom were speeding because they were late picking up their fat-assed wives from Wal-Mart.
* Ida May Fuller of Brattleboro, Vermont, was the first US citizen to collect a Social Security check. After paying in $100 during her working years, she collected over $20,000 after she retired, giving her a return on investment nearly that of a Hillary Clinton cattle futures purchase.
* Wildlife biologists estimate that as many as five out of six deer can die during a hard winter in Vermont. Although this sounds harsh and cruel, it’s just nature’s way of ensuring that Vermont’s many ski resorts have enough moguls.
* Vermont does not allow billboard advertising because it interferes with the natural beauty of the state’s scenery. Companies get around this by sponsoring signs at anti-war protests, like “Make Love, Not War! – Buy Viagra!”.
* Vermont has more ski resorts than any other state in the US. Although this sounds harsh and cruel, it’s just nature’s way of keeping down the Kennedy population.
* Part of the movie Beetlejuice was filmed in Vermont. The afterlife waiting room scene was shot using people returning from a Phish concert in order to save money on costumes & makeup.
* The Vermont area was first explored by Frenchman Samuel de Champlain, who claimed it for his home country after noting with approval how many deer surrendered to starvation every year.
* Inventor John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont, in 1804. He invented the lawnmower in 1872 and the shredded foot in 1873.
* Brigham Young and Joseph Smith were both born in Vermont. They founded the Mormon church shortly after being unable to make a go of Brigham & Joseph’s Ice Cream. Possibly because of such unpopular flavor offerings as Bible Bangin’ Banana and Sodom & Gomorrah Surprise.
* On July 2, 1777, Vermont became the first state to abolish slavery. The newly freed black man was reportedly overjoyed.
* The first postage stamp issued in the US was made in Battleboro, Vermont, in 1846. Prior to this, postage payment was indicated by having a hole shot in the corner of the envelope by a disgruntled employee.
* The first person to cross the entire US by automobile was Dr. H. Nelson Jackson of Burlington, Vermont. Arriving in New York 2 months after leaving San Francisco, his first words were, “Outta my way! I gotta whiz like a racehorse!”.
* The first Boy Scout troop was organized in Barre, Vermont in 1909 by William F. Milne, who made millions forcing the boys to earn their “indentured servant” merit badges.
* The first ski chairlift was used on Vermont’s Mt. Mansfield in 1940. Prior to this, skiers ascended the slopes using tow ropes attached to indentured Boy Scouts.
* The first Head Start Program, which prepares underprivileged preschool children for elementary school, was started in East Fairfield, Vermont. The original curriculum consisted simply of telling the kids repeatedly throughout the day, “get used to failure, losers!”.
* The singing Von Trapp family – whose flight from Austria was made famous in the movie “The Sound of Music” – eventually settled in Stowe, Vermont, because it reminded them of the country they left behind, which also consisted of ski slopes full of snooty, Jew-hating WASP’s.
That wraps up the Vermont edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be surrounded by bleached blond surfers who say “dude!” with a southern accent as we visit Virginia.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go get paid for my “No Blood For Oil! Exxon Takes VISA!” sign.
[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]