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 indulging in the official state pastime of plotting to invade Michigan and annex the Upper Peninsula as the 73rd county when we visit my home state of Wisconsin. So let’s get started…
The state flag of Wisconsin is comprised of a dark blue background with a central design that was most likely created by someone with a Colorforms play set and too much time on his hands.
* Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29th, 1848… and seriously, why the HELL is the Upper Peninsula considered part of Michigan? Just look at a map! It doesn’t even TOUCH the rest of the stupid state! This is BULLS***!
* The state flower of Wisconsin is the “Road Construction Ahead” sign.
* Wisconsin’s nickname is the “Will you please shut up about Brett Favre already?” state.
* According to the other 49 states, anyway.
* The first typewriter was invented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1868 by C.L. Sholes. The first sentence ever typed on it was “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. The second was “GAH! Carpal Tunnel!”
* Although Wisconsin sports revolves around the Packers, the state DOES have a professional baseball team – the Milwaukee Brew… somethings – who, since joining the National League in 1998, have already set the record for keeping the Cubs out of the basement.
* Wisconsin has over 15,000 miles of snowmobile trails. Most of them run adjacent to the state’s highways, and are clearly delineated by reflective sidemarkers and piles of discarded beer cans.
* Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells is America’s largest waterpark, and is also Wisconsin’s only non-alcoholic fluid-related attraction.
* Wisconsin gets its name from the Oneida Indian phrase “Oui-con-sun”, meaning “nothing but polka music on the radio”.
* Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is home to Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Despite the violent, anti-social reputation of Harley riders, most of them take the time to give back to their communities by helping to keep Wisconsin’s snowmobile trails clearly marked.
* The nation’s first Kindergarten was started in 1856 in Watertown, Wisconsin. Its purpose was to ensure that children had all the vital skills they needed for attending the first grade, like reciting the alphabet and taunting misfits.
* Wisconsin is America’s top milk producing state. Although vegetarians consider milking cows to be a form of animal abuse, they should just shut the hell up before I break their brittle, calcium-deficient little arms!
* Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in 1867 and was the father of the “cinderblocks and pizza boxes” style of architecture.
* The state motto of Wisconsin is “Home of Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst, and other beers that sound like vomiting noises”.
* The Barbie doll was named for Barbara Handler of Willows, Wisconsin. And yes, like the doll, she really DOES have painted-on eyebrows and plastic boobs.
* The state song of Wisconsin is “The Bears Still Suck”, which Illinois has also considering adopting since the 2007 Superbowl fiasco.
* The Ringling Brothers Circus started in Baraboo, Wisconsin in 1884. Although now world-famous, they had their humble beginnings in a traveling freak show consisting of a single woman with painted-on eyebrows and plastic boobs.
* It was in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in 1881 that the ice cream sundae was invented. Prior to this, hot fudge had only been used as a topping in adventuresome marital bedchambers.
* The Republican Party was born in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin. It was started as an attempt to replace the Whig party, which self-destructed after candidate Millard Fillmore completely discredited himself by making a bizarre screaming sound at the end of a campaign speech in 1852.
* Green Bay is Wisconsin’s oldest city, which was founded in 682 BC by Roman Coliseum Master Vincini Lombardo. Today, a cult of his loyal followers preserve the legend of his promise to return again in his city’s hour of greatest need – in the dark days after Brett Favre’s retirement.
* Yeah, yeah, I know… shut up about Brett Favre, already.
* Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, is home to the Mustard Museum. It contains all 2300 varieties of mustard known to man, except for Mean Mr., which can be downloaded from iTunes.
* Infamous cannibalistic serial killers Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer both hailed from Wisconsin. Which was probably just a coincidence, even though it’s true that nothing complements the taste of human flesh like good ol’ Wisconsin cheese.
* The town of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, was established in 1874 in an effort to allow people from Wisconsin the opportunity to win back the bar bets they lost against people from New Mexico who challenged them to spell Albuquerque.
* The Wisconsin license plate features a white background with black lettering and the tourism slogan, “Cannibal-free Since 1994!”
* In Wisconsin, the term “bubbler” is used to refer to a public drinking fountain. Although if you’re on the UW-Madison campus, it might also be used to refer to a hippie who’s rabidly frothing about global warming.
* No one in Wisconsin pronounces the letter “g” at the end of a word (I’m tellin’ the truth about that part). The state legislature passed a drastic law in an attempt to correct this bit of grammatical retardation, which is why everyone in the state has as least one shirt with a big letter “G” on it.
* Monroe, Wisconsin is the Swiss Cheese Capital of the World, much to the embarrassment of those chocolate-chomping, Nazi-neutral, clock-makers across the pond.
* Wisconsin contains almost 8000 streams and rivers, 99% of which are clean enough to drink from directly if you don’t mind the taste of deer urine.
* Which is also true for cans filled with Wisconsin beer.
* Boscobel, Wisconsin is the birthplace Gideon Bible Society, who – since 1889 – have made it their mission to place a Bible in every hotel room in the world so that patrons would no longer have to lay awake at night wondering which commandment they just broke.
That wraps up the Wisconsin edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be repeatedly reminded that Brokeback Mountain was about gay sheep ranchers and NOT gay cowboys as we visit Wyoming.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to look something up in my Gideon Bible…
[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]