Fun Facts About the 50 States: Wyoming

With a great sigh of relief – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – I present the final edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States:

Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ve taken 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 wrapping up the Fun Facts About the 50 States series by fighting off a pack of rabid jackalopes as we tour Wyoming. So let’s get started…
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The state flag of Wyoming features a blue field bordered in white and red with a picture in the foreground that I’ll describe as, “a bison that got REALLY drunk with a bunch of his rowdy friends and decided to blow the rest of his paycheck at a tattoo parlor – which SEEMED like a good idea at the time, and that eagle IS pretty cool, but that “equal rights” thing over the picture of that ugly chick might’ve been a mistake in retrospect – and what’s the deal with that one guy grabbing his crotch like Michael Jackson – what was he THINKING?”

* Wyoming became the 44th state on July 10th, 1890. Or maybe that was Colorado. I don’t know… all those rectangular states look alike to me.

* The state motto of Wyoming is “120 miles to the next rest area”.

* Wyoming gets its name from an Algonquin Indian word, “wa-ho-men”, meaning “little too friendly with the sheep, there, cowboy”.

* The state song of Wyoming is “Go Back To Colorado And Ski On Your Own Mountains, Ya Damn Greenie!”

* Wyoming’s license plates feature black lettering on a scenic landscape background, a silhouette of a man riding a bucking bronco, and the tourism slogan “Our Women Are Like This, Too”.

* In 1869, Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote, which earned it the nickname, “The Whipped State”.

* Rising nearly 1300 feet above the surrounding lands, Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower was designated as America’s first National Monument in 1906. It also beat out Richard Dreyfuss for the Best Actor Oscar in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in 1977.

* Black Thunder, located near Wright, Wyoming, is America’s largest coal mine. It was also Al Sharpton’s nickname back in his stripper days, although the two are otherwise unconnected.

* The first “Dude Ranch” was the Eaton Ranch near Wolf, Wyoming. The Eatons were the first to use the word “dude” in that capacity, as the term originally referred to a burr that had gotten tangled in a horse’s butt-hair.

* The horse featured on Wyoming’s license plate is named “Old Steamboat”, after an unridable bronco that gained fame in the early 1900’s. Keep that in mind before buying a package of Old Steamboat brand hot dogs.

* With less than 500,000 people, Wyoming has the smallest population of any of the 50 states. Strangely, this was true even before the release of “Brokeback Mountain”.

* Established in 1886, the Laramie County Library located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is the oldest continually operating county library in the United States. In 2007, they plan to consider broadening their collection to include books not written by Louis L’Amour.

* Just outside of Laramie, Wyoming, the 60-foot tall stone monolith known as Ames Pyramid marks the location of the world’s first rodeo. More specifically, the site where a VERY drunken Robert Ames uttered his final words, “I’ll bet I can sit on top of that angry bull for 8 seconds!”

* Using a firearm to fish is strictly forbidden by Wyoming law, as is chumming with city slicker body parts.

* Wyoming’s Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first woman Governor elected in the US. Her first official act was to outlaw jokes about her that used either “Grand Tetons” or “Jackson Hole”.

* Newcastle, Wyoming, has a law that specifically prohibits couples from having sex inside a store’s walk-in meat freezer. I probably don’t need to mention that it was passed shortly after a Bill Clinton campaign stop.

* The punishment for being drunk in a mine in Wyoming is a year in jail – or “Irish Condo”, as the locals call it.

* The Jackalope – common in Wyoming – is a cross between a pygmy deer and a particularly vicious breed of killer rabbit. While nominally considered a pest, the animal is credited with annually bringing millions of dollars of revenue into the state through the sale of Holy Hand Grenade hunting permits.

* In Wyoming, it’s illegal to wear a hat in a theater that obstructs someone’s view. In the event of an offense, the obstructed person is allowed to shoot the hat off the other person’s head – the only time it’s legal to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

* Jackson, Wyoming elected the first all-woman city council in 1920. The first law they passed banned fat guys in Speedos.

* The spacecraft Voyager II has, as part of its artifacts cargo, an Ansel Adams photo of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Note to space aliens – it’s actually just a come-on to get you to attend a time-share seminar.

* There have been numerous sightings of Bigfoot in the woods outside Jackson, Wyoming. However, most scientists theorize that he’s actually just an ordinary man who went feral after being exiled for wearing a Speedo.

* The first person to ski down the 14,000 foot Grand Teton mountain was Bill Briggs, in 1971. And by “ski”, I mean “fall to his screaming, bloody death with skis strapped to his feet, regretting his endeavor the whole way down”.

* Yellowstone National Park has over 10,000 geysers in addition to the popular “Old Faithful”. Also intriguing, though less well-known, are “Middle-aged Erratic” and “Young Psychotic” – affectionately known as “Mel” and “Britney”, respectively.

* In 1991, a elementary school class discovered a the bones of a new species of dinosaur during a field trip at Alcova Lake, Wyoming. Since tradition allows a discoverer to name his find, the giant prehistoric carnivore was dubbed “Fartosaurus”.

* In 1872, Yellowstone was designated as the world’s first National Park. The first non-American National Park was Le Pew Springs, outside Paris, France. It’s pungent, sulfurous waters are said to be the source of France’s cherished National Odor.

* Wyoming law prohibits “fat people” – defined as 100 or more pounds overweight – from using playground or park equipment. This became the inspiration for Michael Moore’s documentary, “Teeter-Tottering For Columbine”.

* While it IS true that Cody, Wyoming was named after William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, it is NOT true that Casper, Wyoming was named after a particularly gregarious-natured spectral apparition.

* The first JC Penney store opened in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902. It was the first department store that featured annual visits from Santa Claus – of sorts. The Wyomingized version of the jolly holiday elf, “Saint Clint”, gave cigars and ponchos to good children, while misbehaving youngsters were hogtied & branded “naughty”.
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That wraps up the Wyoming edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States and ends our little tour around the greatest nation on earth. Hope you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to grab my Speedo and get out of Jackson.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Wisconsin

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…
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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.
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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…

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: West Virginia

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 unable to tell if that black stuff on our eggs is pepper, coal dust, or roach droppings as we visit West Virginia. So let’s get started…
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The state flag of West Virginia consists of a blue-edged white background, overlaid by an image of two men debating whether Fahrenheit 9/11 or An Inconvenient Truth was a bigger load of crap.

* West Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863. Originally part of the state of Virginia, the people in the western part of the state broke away in protest of the despicable institution of mandatory public education and the deplorable conditions of literacy that resulted therefrom.

* The state flower of West Virginia is the Rhododendron. State legislators were chastised for picking a flower that most people in the state couldn’t spell, but lawmakers ignored the complaints, since people had said the same thing when the dog was chosen as the state mammal.

* West Virginia license plates are white with blue lettering, and contain the tourism slogan, “Now With A Paved Road!”.

* In a recent survey, 95% of West Virginians report having checked out a book from their local public library within the last year. During the same time period, 95% of West Virginians also reported having found a way to fix that wobbly kitchen table with the short leg.

* The state song of West Virginia is “YAY! No More 3.2 Beer!”

* The celebration of Mother’s Day was first observed in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908, mostly as a way to get women to stop whining about not being able to vote.

* With a median age of 40, West Virginia has the oldest population of any state in the US. Upon turning 40, it’s traditional for a West Virginian to cope with his mid-life crisis by buying a shiny red convertible to put up on blocks in his front yard.

* West Virginia’s nickname is “The Robert C. Byrd Memorial State” State.

* Jackson’s Mill, West Virginia, was the site of the first 4-H Camp in the US, where rural youngsters learned valuable agricultural skills such as how to milk cows, shear sheep, and hide stills from ATF agents.

* The world’s largest sycamore tree was located in Webster Springs, West Virginia. However, it was recently cut down and sold to David Letterman, who was reportedly thrilled at finally having a toothpick big enough to fit his tooth gap.

* In 1960, Danny Heater of Burnsville, West Virginia, set a world’s record by scoring 135 points during a high school basketball game. Even more amazing was that he accomplished this feat while being the youngest player on the team at age 24.

* Some critics complain that the record shouldn’t count, since he violated West Virginia rules by wearing shoes.

* The first state sales tax in the US was instituted in West Virginia in 1921. It was hailed as a vast improvement over West Virginia’s old revenue-raising technique – random muggings of Yankee tourists.

* The first federal prison exclusively for women was opened in Alderson, West Virginia, in 1926. For those not familiar with women’s prisons, they’re sort of like sorority houses, except with more sobriety, and fewer gratuitously-sadistic, lesbian-overtoned initiation rituals.

* The New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville is the highest steel-span bridge in the US, rising 876 feet above the river below. Every October, the locals celebrate “Bridge Day”, when over 100,000 celebrants gather to watch or participate in bungee jumping and parachuting from the structure. On Bridge Day, the bridge itself is closed to both automobile traffic and scissors.

* The state motto of West Virginia is “Montani semper liberi”, which is Latin for “Sister, daughter, wife… whatever”.

* At 69 feet high and 900 feet in circumference, the nation’s largest and oldest Indian burial ground is located in Moundsville, West Virginia. The mound’s many unquiet spirits are frequently seen on TV shows such as “America’s Most Haunted”.

* Nearly 75% of West Virginia is covered by forests, providing the state’s many fine restaurants with beautiful views and fresh road kill.

* In 1824, John Gallaher published the first women’s magazine, “Ladies Garland” which featured the now-infamous centerfold of Andrew Jackson showing off “Old Hickory”.

* The variety of apple known as Golden Delicious originated in Wellsburg, West Virginia, in 1775. It was greeted with overwhelming enthusiasm by a population who’d spent years being stuck with eating the Ocher Atrocious.

* Outdoor advertising got its start in Wheeling, West Virginia, when the Block Brothers Tobacco Company started painting barns with the slogan “Treat Yourself to the Best with Mail Pouch Brand Gumming Tobacco”.

* 15% of America’s coal comes from West Virginia. The state’s coal producers expect that number to rise to 20% once they get their Balrog infestation problem under control.

* In 1997, West Virginia had the lowest crime rate in the US. Coincidentally, this was the year after bribing Senator Byrd was legalized.

* The world’s largest shipment of matches – 210 million of them – was shipped from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee in 1933. They were used as part of FDR’s American Arsonist Army (AAA) program, whose job was to burn down trees so that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) could have jobs planting new ones.

* Which may explain why – before the word “retarded” was coined in 1940 – extremely stupid people were referred to as “F-D-R-ded”.

* “Coal House” in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, is the only residence in the world which is made entirely of coal. Tourists are strongly advised to bring their own toilet paper.

* In 1841, William Tompkins of Cedar Grove, West Virginia used natural gas to evaporate salt brine – the first known industrial use of the natural gas. Prior to this, the highly explosive gas was mostly used by organized crime figures to fill brightly colored balloons for “kids who saw too much and needed to have an ‘accident'”.

* In May, 1860, the first oil well in West Virginia was drilled at Burning Springs. In June, 1860, the former governor of Texas invaded West Virginia and stole it.

* In 1885, stone quarried at Hinton, West Virginia was sent to Washington D.C to become part of the Washington Monument. Although the monument builders thanked West Virginia profusely at the time, they actually thought the stone was horrid. They immediately hid it in the attic of the monument and now only bring it out when they know a West Virginian is coming to visit.

* The last public hanging in West Virginia took place in Ripley in 1897. After that, folks learned to keep their uppity book-learnin’ to themselves.
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That wraps up the West Virginia edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be nibbling ourselves into a cheese-coma as we visit Wisconsin.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lay in some supplies for my visit to Coal House.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Washington

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 buying a new umbrella – not because we lost the old one, but because it actually wore out from constant use – as we visit Washington. So let’s get started…
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After a fierce lobbying effort by Starbuckes, the state flag of Washington was changed to a picture of George Washington holding a cup of half-caf-double-shot-extra-foam-vanilla-soy cappuccino.

* Washington became the 42nd state on November 11, 1889. The state’s name was chosen as a long-overdue honor to America’s first President… and because “wood-toothed wig-wearer” sounded a bit clunky as a state name.

* Seattle is home to the world’s first revolving restaurant, “The Top of the Needle”, completed in 1961. Victims of a recent salmonella outbreak at the restaurant were buried in the nearby revolving cemetery “The Bottom of the Gravel Pit”.

* Washington’s license plate has black lettering over a light blue mountain design, and features the state motto, “First 5000 tourists receive a free umbrella!”.

* Washington produces more apples than any other state in the nation. For some reason, Bill Gates gets twitchy when you say that in front of him.

* Starbucks Coffee was founded in Seattle, Washington, in 1987. It saved the Filthy Hippie Protester industry from bankruptcy by giving it a target for it’s senseless anger during the debilitating peace between the two Gulf Wars.

* Washington has more glaciers than all the other 47 contiguous states combined. This tends to scare tourists away from the state, since everyone knows that if a glacier bites you, you’ll slowly go insane with global warming paranoia. If you don’t believe me, check Al Gore’s neck for bite marks sometime.

* Washington’s capitol building was the last state capitol to be built with a rotunda. State capitol buildings constructed since then have used more modern architectural features, like cantilevered ceilings and indoor water slides.

* Everett, Washington is home to the world’s largest building – Boeing’s final assembly plant. It encloses nearly 500 million cubic feet – enough to hold every Muslim terrorist in the world… if you chopped them into little pieces first… which, frankly, I don’t have a problem with.

* Medina, Washington is the home of Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates. Who just happens to own a blender big enough to chop every Muslim terrorist in the world into little pieces.

* Software giant Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Washington. An aerial view of the corporate campus shows that the buildings are colored and arranged to form the world’s largest Blue Screen of Death.

* King County – Washington’s largest county – was originally named in 1852 after William Rufus King, vice president under president Franklin Pierce. In 1986 it was “re-named” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. Between those times it may also have been named in honor of Stephen King, Rodney King, Billie Jean King, and possibly even Sgt. Preston’s dog, for all we know.

* The state flower of Washington is mildew.

* Washington was the birthplace of both Jimi Hendrix (Seattle) and Bing Crosby (Tacoma). Although representing vastly different music styles, they DID collaborate to record the holiday classic, “Purple Christmas”.

* The oldest continually operating gas station in the US is located in Zillah, Washington. It hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1873, and still accepts payments by either cash, check, or beaver pelt.

* The world’s first soft-serve ice cream machine is located in an Olympia, Washington Dairy Queen. It was installed in 1940 as a way to cater to a growing demand for something cold, bland, and containing more air than actual substance. Much the same desire that drove Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

* Residents of Washington are properly referred to as “Washingtonians”, despite the widespread use of the less-favored term, “Starbucks-swilling Nirvana-moshers”.

* Washington is home to the only rainforests in the US. Sadly, these rainforests contain nothing but wet trees, and don’t meet the minimum requirements for malaria and naked savages that would make environmentalists give a crap about them.

* Europeans first landed in Washington when the Spanish ship Santiago visited briefly in 1775. The captain’s log entry that day consisted only of the terse and cryptic phrase, “Smells like teen spirit”.

* Lewis & Clark visited Washington 30 years later in 1805. Their report was, “Smells like mid-life crisis”.

* Tumwater, Washington was the state’s first colonial settlement. It was founded by Canadians seeking the religious freedom to worship coffee and donuts, which was forbidden by Canada’s repressive Tea & Crumpetist regime.

* Washington is home to such internet giants as Amazon.com, Classmates.com, and Whitepages.com, which explains why the state song is “DAMMIT! ANOTHER POP-UP!”

* In the early 1900’s, Aberdeen, Washington was known as “the roughest town west of the Mississippi”, as it was a haven for violence, saloons, whorehouses, and gambling establishments. It was also rated the #1 tourist destination for both sailors and the Irish.

* The Grand Coulee Dam on Washington’s Columbia river is the largest concrete structure ever built. It contains over 12 million cubic yards of concrete – nearly enough to build a life-size statue of Ted Kennedy’s drinking problem.

* In 1980, Washington’s Mount St. Helens volcano erupted with such violence that the top 1600 feet of the mountain were completely blown away. The sudden, cataclysmic destruction of over $1 billion in economic resources was rumored to have given Bill Gates the idea for Microsoft Windows.

* Washington has a higher percentage of non-religious people than any other state, which is why so many cars there have window signs saying “Blasphemer On Board”.

* Washington ranks first in the nation in the production of apples, cherries, pears, and grapes, earning it the nickname of “America’s Fruit Basket”. The city of San Francisco has the same nickname, although for an entirely different reason.

* Pictionary was invented by Ron Angel of Seattle, Washington, in 1986. According to numerous scientific studies, the game is responsible for more bad art than Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and the National Endowment for the Arts combined.

* The state marine mammal of Washington is the Orca. Although some small-minded, bigoted racists refer to them as “killer whales”, the term is more properly translated as “whales of peace”.

* The fact that they frequently kidnap and behead seals in the name of their God, Poseidon, is no excuse for not respecting their cultural differences.

* Maybe those seals should ask themselves why the orcas hate them.

* Actor Adam West – who played Batman in the 1960’s TV series – was born in Walla Walla, Washington, in 1928. He’s been quoted as saying that his least favorite part about playing the Caped Crusader was “Batpole burn”.
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That wraps up the Washington edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be doing genealogy research as we travel through the gene puddle of West Virginia.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go book my vacation to Aberdeen.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Virginia

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 scammed into buying a “genuine” George Washington cherry-tree-choppin’ ax as we visit Virginia. So let’s get started…
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The flag of Virginia celebrates the proper method of humiliating tyrants – having them get beaten up by a girl.

* Virginia became the 10th state on June 25, 1788. The northern part of it was originally used by the British as a penal colony for thieves and con artists, which may explain Washington, D.C.

* The state motto of Virginia is “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, which is Latin for “No, seriously, the Waltons were fictional. Stop asking about them”.

* George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1732. He’s famous for being the first President, the father of his country, and the first white man to rap under the name Vanilla Ice.

* Thomas Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia in 1743. His first draft of the Declaration of Independence was blunt but concise: “King George – You suck. We’re outta here. – The Colonies”.

* Considering they used the letter “f” instead of “s” back in those days, it’s probably better that he went with the longer version.

* 28th President Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia in 1856. Despite the fact that his administration brought income taxes, WWI, Prohibition, and the horrors of women’s suffrage, history still remembers him kindly. Probably because he never violated the Constitutional separation of intern and cigar.

* Being the largest of the colonies, Virginia was named in honor of England’s “Virgin Queen”, Elizabeth I. The tiny state to the north was named for her slutty cousin, Mary.

* The state song of Virginia is “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia”, which was chosen by one vote over “Like A Virgin”.

* Virginia’s early settlers got the idea to plant tobacco after they were first welcomed ashore by Indians holding up signs saying “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

* The colony of Jamestown, Virginia, was founded for the purpose of producing silk, which was shipped to England to help King James indulge his not-as-secret-as-he-thought fetish for women’s underwear.

* The first peanuts grown in the US were grown in Virginia. Trust me, you DON’T want to know what King James did with THOSE.

* Three of the first four US presidents were born in Virginia. They were the original Patriots’ Dynasty.

* The state capital of Virginia – Richmond – was also the capital of the Confederacy. Most of the people in Virginia wish it still were.

* The Dogwood is Virginia’s state tree, state flower, and state euphemism for a canine erection.

* The American Revolution ended with the surrender of Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia. The terms of the surrender included having Cornwallis stand in the town square naked and shout “I stink! I am a senile, bucktoothed old mummy, with bony girl arms and I smell like an elephant’s butt!”

* Some historians cite this as the root cause of the war of 1812.

* Two iron-clad ships, the Monitor and the Merrimac, fought for 12 hours at Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9th, 1862. The battle was inconclusive, but proved one thing: getting a cannonball through metal armor was like trying to get a tax cut through a Democratic congress.

* 2000 of the Civil War’s battles were fought in Virginia…. 3000, if you count the times Robert E. Lee’s wife whacked him with a rolling pin.

* In Virginia, more people work for the US government than any other industry.

* Um… well… leastwise they have more people listed on their payroll.

* The world’s largest shipyard is in Newport News, Virginia. Their drydock facility alone is large enough to hold 3 aircraft carriers, or a week’s supply of donuts for Michael Moore.

* The Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia is the largest office building in the world. It has over 5000 fax machines, all which are destined to someday be taken out into a field and smashed with a baseball bat as angry hip-hop music plays in the background.

* Contrary to the popular story, the first Thanksgiving was actually held in Virginia’s Berkley Plantation colony in 1619. 90 Indian braves were invited to the feast as thanks for their help during the previous year’s harsh winter. Those 90 later burned the village to the ground as revenge for being made to sit at the kiddie table.

* The Great Dismal Swamp is a wasteland of foul muck located near Virginia’s border with North Carolina, and is NOT a nickname for Washington, D.C.

* Don’t feel bad. A LOT of people make that mistake.

* Thomas Jefferson designed the home where he spent his final years – Monticello – which can be seen on the back of the nickel. If you look closely, you can see Jefferson yelling at some kids to get off his lawn.

* George Washington’s home – Mount Vernon – is NOT shown on the back of the quarter since all the pink flamingos on his lawn were deemed “too un-presidential”.

* The world’s only oyster museum is located on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. It celebrates history’s greatest oysters, including playwright Oyster Wilde and Supreme Court Justice Oyster Wendell Holmes.

* On April 9, 1865, at the Appomattox, Virginia courthouse, the Civil War ended when General Robert E. Lee was forced to surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant after Lee foolishly chose rock to Grant’s paper.

* St. John’s church in Richmond, Virginia, was where Patrick Henry famously said “Give me liberty, or give me death!”. Some historians consider this story a mere legend, however, and insist that what he actually said was “Give me freedom, or give me severe nasal congestion with a headache and slight fever!”

* The Atlantic headquarters of NATO is located in Norfolk, Virginia. For those who don’t know, NATO is sorta like the UN, except with weapons and testicles.
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That wraps up the Virginia edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be paying 35 dollars for one stinking martini at the top of the Space Needle as we visit Washington.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go… Hey! Look!… Dogwood!.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Vermont

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…
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The state flag of Vermont doubles as a warning for those thinking about refusing an offer from the deer mafia.

* 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.
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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.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Utah

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…
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Utah’s state flag honors Utah’s state Saturday Night Live sketch, “The Coneheads”.

* 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.
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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.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Texas

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 wondering whether the locals are just kidding when they offer us a bowl of jalepeno ice cream as we visit Texas. So let’s get started…
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The Texas flag consists of 3 colored sections – red, white, and blue – with the blue section featuring an image of Chuck Norris kicking a bad guy’s ass. Can’t see Chuck Norris? No one ever does… until it’s too late.

* Texas became the 28th state on December 29th, 1845 after the US won it from Mexico in – ironically – a game of Texas Hold ’em.

* Although the Texas justice system is sometimes criticized for having “too many” executions, the truth is that most Texas prisoners prefer death to the alternative sentence of “life without the possibility of an oversized belt buckle”.

* Texas license plates have dark blue numbers on a white background and contain the tourism slogan “All the oil, without all the burkhas”.

* The state flower of Texas is the Bluebonnet. It WAS the yellow rose until the RIAA sued the state for copyright infringement.

* Texas gets its name from a Caddo Indian word meaning “short swim to a welfare check”.

* Texas has a population of nearly 21 million people, all of whom are ashamed to be from the same state as the Dixie Chicks.

* President Dwight Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas. He was the last elected American President who didn’t need to check his pockets for a comb before a press conference.

* The state tree of Texas is the gallows.

* The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is the place where a grossly outnumbered contingent of Texans fought to the death against an overwhelming force of Mexican troops in 1836. Much as modern-day beer kegs currently wage their valiant yet inevitably hopeless struggle against frat boy sobriety.

* If a Texan brags to you about how much bigger his state is than yours, tell him your friend from Alaska was just saying the same thing about him, and laugh when he starts crying like a little girl.

* The state mammal of Texas is the armadillo. For those not familiar with it, an armadillo is a peculiar-looking animal with the head of a rat, the body armor of a turtle, and the spineless flexibility of Obama’s immigration policy.

* President Lyndon Johnson was born in Johnson City, Texas. He was the last president to be popularly known by his three initials, “LBJ”. Which should not be confused with President Clinton’s nickname among Hispanic voters, “el BJ”.

* Alvin, Texas, set the record for rainfall in the US when it received 43 inches in 24 hours in 1979. It also holds the record for the world’s largest wooden boat at 300 by 50 by 30 cubits.

* Texas’ nickname is “the big freakin’ hat state”.

* More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state. The quality of the wool is far superior to that from New Jersey, which is 90% Italian back hair.

* Texas was actually an independent nation from 1836 until 1845, when it got divorced, lost its job and moved into America’s basement, where it remains to this day.

* Lazy bum.

* An oak tree near Fulton, Texas, is estimated to be over 1500 years old. Every year on June 1st, the locals celebrate the tree’s birthday by getting drunk and firing pistols into the air. The drunken shooting on the other 364 days of the year is just for fun.

* Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in Texas. All the rest have implants.

* On December 20, 1835, the first flag of Texas independence was raised. It featured a white background behind an image of Speedy Gonzales’s head on a pike and a capital “T” branded on his forehead.

* The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio, Texas, has the largest collection of circus memorabilia in the world. It includes such rare sideshow freak attractions as a three-headed calf and a modest, soft-spoken Texan wearing sneakers and a fedora.

* The state motto of Texas is “That chili’s not hot, you’re just a wuss”.

* Texas is home to both Dell and Compaq computers. The fact that they’ve outsourced all their tech support overseas gives new meaning to the phrase “Cowboys and Indians”.

* The famous soft drink Dr Pepper was invented in Waco, Texas, in 1885. It should not be confused with any best-selling Beatles albums or that crappy rip-off, Mr Pibb.

* The first suspension bridge in the US was the Waco Bridge, built across the Brazos river in 1870. Before then, all bridges were supported by concrete pilings reinforced with the broken bodies of Chinese railroad workers.

* The Texas capitol building in Austin opened on May 16, 1888, and is actually 7 feet higher the US Capitol building in Washington, DC. Personally, I think it’s nice that men from Texas at least have ONE size-related thing they can brag about.

* The first word spoken from the moon was “Houston”. The second and third words were “Astros” and “suck”.

* Texas possesses three of the top 10 most populous cities in the US – Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. It also claims two of the top 10 most monkey-eared presidential candidates – George W. Bush and Ross Perot.

* The cattle population of Texas is estimated to be 16 million.

* 17 million if you count Cadillacs with steer horns mounted on the hood.

* The world’s first rodeo was held in Pecos, Texas, in 1883 when a dozen cowboys came up with a plan for a way to publicly tie up and wrestle cattle while dressed in leather chaps without running afoul of the state’s oppressive bestiality laws.
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That wraps up the Texas edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be finding it ironic that a state that’s filled with Mormons is, itself, a four-letter word as we visit Utah.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go help put down a beer keg uprising.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Tennessee

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 our asses whupped for making banjo jokes as we visit Tennessee. So let’s get started…
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Tennessee’s flag features the first – and possibly worst – attempt at creating the now-iconic and ubiquitous “smiley face”.

* Tennessee became the 16th state on June 1, 1796, and was originally settled by outcast heretics from Massachusetts who believed that playing polo on horseback was completely inferior to playing it hogback.

* Tennessee’s nickname is the “Needs a cool spelling mnemonic like Mississippi has” state.

* Chattanooga, Tennessee is where the famous International House of Possum restaurant chain got its start in 1925.

* The Iris was adopted as the state flower of Tennessee in 1972, despite numerous complaints that it was too hard to spell.

* The state motto of Tennessee is: “Moonshine – it’s not just for breakfast any more”.

* The city of Kingston served as the state capital of Tennessee for only one day – just long enough to sign a peace treaty ending the bloody Civil War between rival factions of Hicks, Rubes, Hayseeds, Rednecks, and Hillbillies. The victorious Rednecks then moved the capital to its present Nashville location.

* The state song of Tennessee is “All I Want For Christmas Is My Thirty Front Teeth”.

* Living most of his life in Greeneville, Tennessee, Andrew Johnson held every elective office on the local, state, and federal levels – from City Alderman to US President. His shrewish mother-in-law, however, never ceased referring to him as “that good-for-nothing job-hopper”.

* Tennessee license plates are white with black numbers and feature the phrase “Barely Toleratin’ Yankees Since 1865”.

* The famous racehorse Iroquois was bred at Nashville’s Belle Meade Plantation, and left hundreds of thoroughbred descendants. Sorta like the Kennedy clan, except with more hay-eating, and less negligent homicide.

* The Houston Oilers football team moved to Tennessee in 1997 and were known as the Tennessee Oilers for two years before changing their name to the Tennessee Titans. Which brings up a question: if the New England Patriots are affectionately known as the “Pats”, what’s the Titans’ nickname?

* During the first Gulf War, more National Guard members from Tennessee were deployed than from any other state. Possibly due to a rumor that the Iraqi Republican Guard consisted entirely of Gators fans.

* Born in Bakersville, Tennessee, Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the US Senate. Sadly, her term was marred by the now-infamous “lap dances for votes” scandal.

* Legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett was born near Greeneville, Tennessee and was best know for wearing a coonskin cap and a snakeskin thong.

* Tennessee’s name comes from the Cherokee Indian word “tanasi”, which means “White man make-um kick-ass corn juice firewater”.

* When it opened in 1992, Chatanooga’s Tennesse Aquarium was the largest fresh water aquarium in the US, featuring over 300 different aquatic species. Due to recent budget cuts, it now consists of three fishsticks in a wooden bucket.

* The largest earthquake in the continental US was the New Madrid Earthquake, which happened in northwestern Tennessee in 1811. Locals took it as a punishment from God for their sins of sobriety and book-learnin’, and quickly mended their evil ways.

* Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake is known as the Turtle Capital of the World. It contains thousands of these ponderous reptiles, very few of whom are named after Renaissance painters or skilled in martial arts.

* Nashville, Tennessee is famous for its country music scene and is widely known as “the city that spells ‘opera’ with a y, and ‘violin’ with two d’s”.

* Famous railroad engineer Casey Jones lived in Jackson, Tennessee. He was killed when his train crashed on April 30, 1900, having failed to attain the 88 mph speed necessary for successful time travel.

* Tennessee has over 3800 caves containing a space of over one million cubic miles – nearly enough to hold an entire Senate’s worth of broken campaign promises.

* Bristol, Tennessee, is known as the “Birthplace of Country Music” and the “Graveyard of Cheerful Sobriety”.

* Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, is located in Memphis, Tennessee, and is the most visited house in the US that does not contain the word “pancakes”.

* Or “possum”.

* Before the Revolutionary War, there was a colony in central Tennessee known as Transylvania. Contrary to popular rumor, it contained no vampires because 1) Tennessee vampires don’t exist, 2) if they did exist they’d be too ignorant to find the jugular vein on their victims, and 3) if they could find it, a toothless vampires couldn’t bite anyone.

* Tennessee will not allow you to buy beer in a liquor store. Probably because you can’t fit a Tennessee beer gut through a liquor store doorway.

* The 266 foot tall Sunsphere built for Knoxville, Tennessee’s 1982 World’s Fair still stands in it’s original location, although it’s currently up on blocks.

* Tennessee’s Fall Creek Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. Unlike the more famous Niagra Falls, no one has ever gone over Fall Creek Falls in a barrel, since barrels are considered sacred by the state’s official religion of Whiskeytarianism.

* In Tennessee, it is perfectly legal to gather and consume roadkill. However, there IS a 7-day waiting period for buying a Buick.

* Jack Daniel, of Tennessee Whiskey fame, showed up early for work one morning and – frustrated at being unable to open a safe – kicked it, thus breaking his toe. He later died from infection as a result of the injury. Since then, people from Tennessee always stay home and drink all morning as a safety precaution.
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That wraps up the Tennessee edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be remembering the Alamo by randomly shooting Mexicans as we visit Texas.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go saddle up my hog for the polo match.

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[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]

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Fun Facts About the 50 States: South Dakota

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 shocked to realize that no minorities actually live in the Black Hills and the name is just a scam to get Federal Affirmative Action Funding as we visit South Dakota. So let’s get started…
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Mount Rushmore is not depicted on the South Dakota flag for fear that a cartoon of the sacred mountain would spark riots among its zealous worshippers.

* South Dakota became the 40th state on November 2, 1889. The word “South” in the name is somewhat deceptive, since the state actually contains no hillbillies, alligators, or temperatures above freezing.

* The state bird of South Dakota is the ring-necked pheasant. When hunting these, try not to shoot a ring-nosed teenager by mistake.

* South Dakota’s license plates have blue numbers on a white background and say “Bison: the other red meat” across the bottom.

* The state motto of South Dakota is “When the Crazy Horse monument is finished, we’ll TELL you… Now STOP ASKING!”

* South Dakota’s nickname is “The bored people with mountains and explosives state”.

* Although there’s enough room for Bill Clinton on Mount Rushmore, he hasn’t been added for fear that no one would recognize him without a kneeling intern.

* Good luck trying to find a mountain big enough to fit Monica’s hips on.

* Lemmon, South Dakota is famous for it’s petrified forest. Undisturbed for 50 million years, it still contains many of its original petrified environmental activist protesters.

* When it was built in 1832, the American Fur Company’s trading post in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, was the largest one in the US, and was best know for its marketing slogan “Fur: Because she’s not going to put out for denim”.

* Belle Fourche, South Dakota, is the geographical center of the United States. It’s populated mostly by people who find Mexicans, Canadians, Californians, and New Yorkers equally repulsive.

* Personally, I’m thinking about moving to Greenland, since I’m only disgusted by the French and people from New Jersey.

* Clark, South Dakota, is home to the world famous annual Mashed Potato Wrestling contest. Rumor has it that the contest is rigged, since the mashed potato always wins.

* South Dakota’s Custer State Park is home to a herd of 1500 free-roaming bison, 1448 of which must be cut from the roster by the time they play the Budweiser Clydesdales in this year’s Superbowl commercial.

* When completed, the Crazy Horse monument near Hill City, South Dakota, will be the world’s largest sculpture. The project will be completed without a single dollar of government money, which explains why Crazy Horse isn’t holding a urine-dipped crucifix.

* South Dakota’s Badlands National Park contains the worlds richest fossil bed, which holds such ancient artifacts as Tyrannosaurus skeletons, Triceratops eggs, and Beatles 45’s.

* The Sage Creek Wilderness Area is where the highly endangered black-footed ferret is being re-introduced. For those not familiar with ferrets, they’re small mammals, more ratlike than weasels, but less weaselly than lawyers or the French.

* South Dakota’s famous Black Hills aren’t actually black. They only appear that way from a distance because they’re covered by pine trees – an effect similar to what happens when Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t get her upper lip waxed for a couple days.

* At 7242 feet, South Dakota’s Harney Peak is the highest point in the US east of the Rockies, and will likely be carved into a statue of Wilt Chamberlain at some point.

* Sturgis, South Dakota, is home to the annual Black Hills Classic Motorcycle Rally. It’s easy to find – just look for the crowd of burly, leather-clad guys. Make sure it’s not the Black Hills Classic S & M Rally, though.

* Unless you’re into that sort of thing. In which case… call me.

* The Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, houses more than 250 rare automobiles, including the Tucker, the Edsel, and Powell Motors’ infamous Homer.

* The Flaming Fountain on South Dakota State Capitol Lake is fed by an artesian well with natural gas content so high that it can be lit. The sight inspires both awe and the question, “how do you put out burning water?”

* The Crystal Springs Ranch Rodeo Arena in Clear Lake, South Dakota was built on a drained duck pond. When the duck pond was initially drained, workers found a dead rabbit at the bottom with a sign around its neck that said “I TOLD you it was wabbit season”.

* The Silent Guide Monument in Philip, South Dakota is a 14-foot pile of flat stones assembled by a shepherd to mark a waterhole that never goes dry. Ironically, the waterhole itself had been created years earlier by an architect as a way to mark an abundant source of flat stones.

* The largest underground goldmine in the US is the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota. Ground was first broken on it by the six dwarves who were voted out of CBS’s “Survivor: Snow White’s Cottage”.

* The USS South Dakota is recognized as the most decorated battleship during World War II. Although, the USS John Kerry actually won MORE medals, it threw them all over a fence, so it doesn’t really count.

* The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, first published in 1861, is South Dakota’s oldest newspaper. It’s first headline was the now-famous criticism of the Civil War: “Lincoln lied! Weevils died!”

* The Prairie Rattlesnake is the only venomous snake native to South Dakota. It’s generally a light brown color, with a yellow underside and four dark, presidential-head-shaped blotches on its back.

* Hot Springs, South Dakota features the largest collection of Wooly Mammoth bones in the world. Wooly Mammoths were large, hairy beasts that killed their prey by sitting on it and crushing it into a pile of goo. Much as its modern-day cousin – the Michael Moore – hunts Twinkies today.
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That wraps up the South Dakota edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be stocking up on souvenir Elvis shades as we visit Tennessee.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go call and see if Crazy Horse is finished yet.

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