Archive for the ‘Fun Facts About the 50 States’ Category

Fun Facts About the 50 States: Wyoming

Saturday, April 20, 2013 8:00 am

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

Saturday, April 13, 2013 8:00 am

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

Saturday, April 6, 2013 8:00 am

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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Washington

Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:00 am

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.

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Virginia

Saturday, March 23, 2013 8:00 am

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

Saturday, March 16, 2013 8:00 am

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.

______________

[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

Saturday, March 9, 2013 8:00 am

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

Saturday, March 2, 2013 8:00 am

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.

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Tennessee

Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:00 am

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.

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: South Dakota

Saturday, February 16, 2013 8:00 am

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.

______________

[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 Carolina

Saturday, February 9, 2013 8:00 am

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 voting for the late Strom Thurmond strictly out of habit as we visit South Carolina. So let’s get started…

The state flag of South Carolina was originally a simple crescent moon on a blue background. A silver palmetto tree was later added in an attempt to shed the nickname, “The Outhouse Door State”.

* South Carolina became the 8th state on May 23, 1788. The residents didn’t particularly WANT to share a name with North Carolina, but they had little choice after the naming-rights deal with Coca-Cola fell through.

* At 3560 feet tall, the highest point in South Carolina is Sassafras Mountain. No sassafras actually grows on it, it’s just a fun word to say. Especially with a big, spitty, Daffy Duck lisp: “THATHAFRATH!”

* The state motto of South Carolina is “Aminis Opibusque Parati”, which means “any excuse to shoot a Yankee”.

* The state tree of South Carolina is the Palmetto. Which should not be confused with any old men who carve wooden boys that magically come to life.

* Built in 1909, Campbell’s Covered Bridge near Gowensville is the last bridge in South Carolina still covered by a protective wooden structure instead of just a layer of cigarette butts and beer cans.

* The spotted salamander was selected as South Carolina’s official state amphibian in 1976, an unpopular decision which touched off deadly riots in the state’s frustrated and angry frog communities.

* In 1776, the British attacked the US fort on South Carolina’s Sullivan Island. However, because the walls were made with spongy Palmetto logs, the cannonballs couldn’t break through, and just bounced like Air America payroll checks.

* The official state dance of South Carolina is the Shag. As is the official state double-wide trailer carpeting.

* The first battle of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter. Historians theorize that it started as an innocent Mac vs. PC argument which spun tragically out of control.

* Hartsville, South Carolina’s Coker Experimental Farms started in 1903 with 30 cotton plants and a goal to breed hardier specimens. Thanks to a lack of genetic variation among the seedlings, the highly inbred offshoots became the Retarded Monster Cotton Plant now used for stuffing Tickle Me Elmo dolls.

* Before being known as “The Palmetto State”, South Carolina used to be known as the Iodine state. For those who don’t know, Iodine is brown and hurts like hell when applied to open wounds. Sorta like a Jesse Jackson press conference.

* The Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Aiken, South Carolina celebrates the many champion race horses trained in Aiken. The secret of their success can be found in their training motto, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you’ll be shipped to the glue factory if you screw up!”

* South Carolina’s Black River gets it’s dark coloring from high concentrations of organic carbon. Sorta like hippie bathwater. If hippies took baths.

* Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, is home to the annual South Carolina Poultry festival and features such events as “Turkey-mounted Jousting” and the ever-popular “Stuffing Chickens Down Your Pants Contest”.

* A Catawba Indian named King Haiglar was invaluable in helping the early settlers of Camden, South Carolina. Today, he remains honored in the form of a life-sized weather vane. This may not sound like much of an honor, but at least they didn’t put him on a dollar coin that no one uses like that loser, Saca-what’s-her-name.

* Tyler Brothers Work Shoe and Boot Co. in Wagener, South Carolina produces 8 major brands of OSHA-approved footwear, including Redwing and Wolverine. They attribute their success to changing their name from “3-Toes BootWorks”.

* Gaffney, South Carolina features a water tower in the shape of a giant peach. In case it ever falls over, they plan to put it in their City Hall building, which was built in the shape of a giant crust-lined pie tin.

* The first boll weevil found in South Carolina is on display at the Pendleton District Agricultural Museum. It sits between the first mosquito to bite Strom Thurmond and a few dead flies picked off the window sill.

* Yeah, well, whaddya expect from an Ag Museum? Da Vinci paintings?

* Spartanburg, South Carolina’s Duncan Park is the oldest minor league baseball stadium in the world. During its 80th Anniversary season in 2006, it finally managed to break through the long-elusive double-digit attendance mark.

* Described as “a cross between a snake and something prehistoric”, the mysterious monster that is said to inhabit South Carolina’s Lake Murray was eventually caught and discovered to be a skinny-dipping Ted Kennedy.

* Mullins, South Carolina, features the state’s largest tobacco market. To compensate for financial losses due to anti-tobacco hysteria, the city has branched out into the lead paint, asbestos, and DDT markets as well.

* Residents of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, are all well versed in the 300-year-old art of Sweetgrass basket-making. Sure, this doesn’t sound like it’d look good on a resume, but it’ll get you picked over someone with a degree in Women’s Studies EVERY time.

* Every year, flocks of Purple Martins fly back to their home on Bomb Island, South Carolina. The sight of millions of creatures mindlessly chirping and crapping all over the place is truly stunning. It’s sorta like an Occupy Wall Street protest, except without the stultifying air of smug self-righteousness.

* The Riverbanks Zoological Park in Columbia, South Carolina is home to over 2000 animals, none of which are in cages. They’re kept in place with guilt trips from a crack staff of professional Jewish mothers.

* Legend has it that anyone who drinks from Catfish Creek near Marion, South Carolina will fall in love with the area and never leave. Which is polite way of saying they’re doomed to die of amoebic dysentery.

* In 1852, William Dorn discovered the largest gold mine in South Carolina’s history near the city of McCormick. He foolishly sold the mine in 1860, and used the proceeds to launch his ill-fated chain of “Slaves ‘R’ Us” stores.

* South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, on December 20th, 1860, thus fulfilling Governor Jebidiah Baldwin’s promise to leave the country if a Republican was elected.

* The 7th President of the US, Andrew Jackson, was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina. He earned his nickname “Old Hickory” when he used a hickory switch to beat the crap out of Alexander Hamilton to win the right to appear on the $20 bill.

* The Reverend Jesse Jackson was born in Greenville, South Carolina in 1941. He’s famed for his ability to use racial guilt to shake down “too white” corporations, and is generally considered the John Gotti of the Affirmative Action Mafia’s protection money racket.

* Oops… meant to type “famous civil rights leader”… sorry ’bout that.
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That wraps up the South Carolina edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be trampled by herds of stampeding prairie dogs as we visit South Dakota.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go practice my jousting.

______________

[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: Rhode Island

Saturday, February 2, 2013 8:00 am

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 how they squeeze a million square miles of tacky tourist shops into a thousand square miles of state as we visit Rhode Island. So let’s get started…
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The state flag of Rhode Island is two-sided. One side features a white background with thirteen gold stars – representing the original colonies – encircling a gold anchor. The other side is pure white and was inspired by the French battle flag.

* Rhode Island became the 13th state on May 29, 1790. It was originally founded by refugees from Connecticut and Massachusetts who thought that having double consonants in a state’s name looked snooty and pretentious.

* The state motto of Rhode Island is “Size Doesn’t Matter”.

* Rhode Island license plates have black letters on a light blue background and the slogan “Clamtastic!”

* Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, measuring a mere 48 by 37 miles. Think of it as the old maid in America’s popcorn bucket.

* Rhode Island never ratified the 18th amendment (Prohibition). They were going to, but they ran out of gas. They had a flat tire. They didn’t have enough money for cab fare. Their tuxes didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole their cars. There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! It wasn’t their fault! I swear to God!

* Jeremiah Johnson of Newport, Rhode Island, was the first person to receive a jail sentence for speeding in an automobile. His sentence was later reduced to picking up after all the horses that his reckless driving had scared the crap out of.

* Polo was first played in the US in Newport, Rhode Island. For those not familiar with the game, it’s sorta like hockey, except with more horses and – if you can imagine this – even fewer black people.

* The Flying Horse Carousel in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, is the oldest in the US. Since it was built in 1876, it has been ridden more times than Madonna.

* NOTE: The previous statement should be reviewed for accuracy on a day-by-day basis.

* The first circus in the US started in 1774 in Newport, Rhode Island. The ceaseless bickering between the Fat Lady and the Dog Faced Boy is frequently cited by historians as the inspiration for America’s two-party political system.

* Newport, Rhode Island is home to the Tennis Hall of Fame, which honors such widely-known tennis stars as… um… you know… that one guy… what’s-his-face. And I think there’s a couple chicks in there, too.

* Whatever. Does anybody ACTUALLY follow tennis?

* Songwriter George M. Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island. His big hit “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandy”, was translated for the British stage as “I’m An American Loony Poofter”.

* In 1953, St. Mary’s church in Newport, Rhode Island was the site of the marriage between John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier. It was a fairy-tale wedding, right up until the point where an especially drunken Ted Kennedy mistook the confessional for a men’s room stall.

* Rhode Island is famous for making silverware and fine jewelry. I personally have no idea what these are, since I’m more of a plastic spork and rubber bracelet kinda guy.

* The roof of Providence, Rhode Island’s New England Pest Control building is home to the world’s largest bug – a 58-foot-long blue termite. The second largest bug is any given Florida cockroach.

* Yeah, I know they’re technically “Palmetto Bugs”, but that’s not much consolation when one pours out of your box of Wheaties in the morning.

* At the Point Judith corrosion test site, various materials sit exposed for years to determine the effects of sun and salt air. Tests show that the thing that falls apart most rapidly under adverse circumstances is a Republican Congress.

* Rhode Island was the first state to strike a blow against England during the Revolutionary War. The English ship “Gaspee” was sunk in Narragansett Bay in 1772 after being hit by a cow that had been catapulted from a nearby castle.

* Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, wrote the original draft of the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of speech, the press, religion, and public assembly. Sadly omitted in the final draft was the guarantee of hot-chicks-only nude beaches.

* Samuel Slater of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, invented the water-powered cotton mill in 1790. Southern plantation owners opposed the machine, fearing that it’s high efficiency and productivity could spark a wave of low self-esteem amongst the slaves.

* The first British troops sent to crush the Revolution landed in Newport, Rhode Island in 1773. They were themselves crushed by a giant wooden rabbit that had been catapulted from a nearby castle.

* Atop the State House in Providence, Rhode Island, stands the statue of “The Independent Man”. Standing above him and wielding a rolling pin is the statue of “The Nagging Wife”.

* The first girl born to American colonist parents is buried in Little Compton, Rhode Island. The first boy is also buried there, under a marker engraved with his last words, “Look! Friendly Indians!”

* The White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island is the oldest operating tavern in the US. When it first opened in 1673, the labeling of the men’s and women’s restrooms as “Stallions” and “Mares” was still considered original and clever.

* Portsmouth, Rhode Island, is home to the oldest schoolhouse in the US. Built in 1716, some of George Washington’s original spitballs can still be seen stuck to the ceiling.

* The Rhode Island Red Monument in Adamsville, Rhode Island, honors the famous poultry breed, and is the largest chicken-related monument in the world except for the Eiffel Tower.

* Built in 1763, Newport, Rhode Island’s Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the US and contains the oldest Torah in North America. And no, it’s NOT because they’re too cheap to buy a new one. Don’t be anti-Semitic.

* Pelham Street in Newport, Rhode Island was the first street in America to use gas-illuminated streetlights in place of the burning witches common to New England in that era.

* Rhode Island has a population of just over one million people, all of whom know that a “coffee-cup salute” is a shout-out to local businesses by Channel 10’s Frank Coletta, and NOT a euphemism for an unspeakably degrading sexual act.

* Don’t try asking anyone from Massachusetts about it, though.
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That wraps up the Rhode Island edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be frustratedly breaking golf clubs in Myrtle Beach as we visit South Carolina.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go visit the confessional before Ted Kennedy… EWWWWWWWW!… too late…

______________

[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: Pennsylvania

Saturday, January 26, 2013 8:00 am

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…
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The Pennsylvania state flag originally had rainbow-colored unicorns on the sides until it was decided the flag was “too cartoony” and needed a “darker, edgier reboot”.

* 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”.
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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!

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Oregon

Saturday, January 19, 2013 8:00 am

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 desperately pleading with grandpa not to change his will before his physician-assisted suicide appointment because we’re headed to Oregon. So let’s get started…
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Oregon’s is the only state flag with a two-sided design, making Oregon the state most likely to become a Batman villain.

* Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14th, 1859. Historians speculate that this date was chosen by then-president James Buchanan so that Mrs. Buchanan wouldn’t notice that he neglected to get her a Valentine’s Day present. Bloodstains on the family rolling pin provide evidence that his plan failed.

* The capital of Oregon is Salem, which has nothing to do with witch-burning, despite claims to the contrary by members of the Oregon chapter of Recovered Newts Anonymous.

* The state flower of Oregon is the Oregon grape, whose fruit is said to rival that of the greatest French vineyards, even though Oregonian wine lacks the cowardly and annoying bouquet of its French competitors.

* Oregon license plates come in a variety of colorful designs, but all contain the phrase “Where Old Hippies Come To Die”.

* Oregon is nicknamed “The Beaver State”. For you city-folk, a beaver is a smelly, hairy, bucktoothed animal with a wide, flat tail. Sorta like a feminist, except less prone to rabid frothing.

* Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state. However, please note that moving to one of them will NOT increase your chances of scoring with Patrick Swayze.

* Which could be either a bug or a feature, depending on which way you swing.

* Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge is considered by many to offer the world’s best windsurfing. Of course, those “many” are mostly people who think it’s funny to watch windsurfers crash into rocks.

* Oregon’s Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America. The bottom reaches all the way to Hell, and will become the source of the eternally leaky roof used to torture Bob Vila after he dies.

* Like New Jersey, Oregon has no self-serve gas stations. The idea is to provide jobs for folks who aren’t quite bright enough to master the phrase “fries with that?” and other people who vote Democrat.

* The Coast Douglas Fir – at 329 feet – was the tallest tree in the state until it was cut down to make “Save the Spotted Owl” flyers for the Sierra Club.

* Oregon’s state nut is the Hazelnut. Oregon is the only state with an official state nut, since Michigan’s Michael Moore is technically classified as a “lunatic”.

* The town of Boring, Oregon, was named for its founder, W.H. Boring, and NOT because the town’s only TV station shows nothing but reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.

* The world’s largest sea-cave is located near Florence, Oregon, and is populated mostly by round-bellied sharks and shredded wetsuits.

* Oregon’s Heceta Head Lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse in the nation, due in large part to its scenic quaintness. At least according to its 36-24-36 nudist lighthouse keeper.

* Eugene, Oregon is rated the best cycling community in the US by “Cycling Magazine”. It’s also the nation’s top consumer of “Lance Armstrong Brand Undetectable Injectable Testosterone”.

* There are nine lighthouses still standing along the Oregon coastline. Five are still in use, the other four were sold as advertising space for Viagra.

* The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center contains the world’s largest collection of rosaries, although not quite enough to keep Ted Kennedy from going to Hell, where he’ll share a house with Bob Vila.

* The Seaside Aquarium was the first to successfully breed harbor seals in captivity. They credit their success to cheap wine and Barry White CD’s.

* Salem’s capitol building is topped by a statue titled “Oregon Pioneer”, which features a drunken French-Candadian fur-trader in the midst of hollering “Where do you guys keep the beaver around here?”.

* The International Museum of Carousel Art in Hood River, Oregon contains the world’s largest collection of carousel horses and is known to the locals as the “Wooden Glue Factory”.

* Every house in Bickelton, Oregon has a bluebird house built onto it. It’s as though Hitchcock filmed “The Birds” in Stepford.

* The origins of Oregon’s name are shrouded in mystery, although the most popular theory is that it was derived from an incident during the Lewis & Clark expedition where they lost a canoe paddle on the Columbia river.

* Which would also explain Oregon’s other nickname – “the bad pun state”.

* Eugene, Oregon was the first city in the US to have one-way streets, effectively halving the number of times motorists get harrassed by the same squeegee guy.

* The state motto of Oregon is “Alis Volat Propiis” – Latin for “Canada’s THAT way, ya draft-dodging hippie”.

* Oregon’s state fish is the Chinook Salmon, which is on the verge of extinction, since it’s not cute & fluffy enough for environmentalists to give a crap about.

* Portland, Oregon, is home to the International Rose Test Garden, where researchers recently developed a Super Rose, beautiful enough to buy forgiveness for a 3 a.m. stumbling-drunk return from a strip club.

* Tillamook is the site of Oregon’s largest cheese factory and, coincidentally, Oregon’s largest mouse-trap factory.

* At 8000 feet deep, Hell’s Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. A scale model of it can be seen by observing the trickle of sweat continuously running along the bottom of one of Michael Moore’s belly-folds.
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That wraps up the Oregon edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be suckered into paying $100 for a “genuine” piece of Ben Franklin’s kite as we visit Pennsylvania.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go out and buy me a Super Rose

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: Oklahoma

Saturday, January 12, 2013 8:00 am

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 visiting the state where, when a man says “mine’s bigger”, he’s talking about his belt buckle, because we’re headed to Oklahoma. So let’s get started…
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The Oklahoma flag’s design is loosely based on a painting titled “Emergency Drumsticks”.

* Oklahoma was admitted to the union as the 46th state on November 16th, 1907, in order to fill a diversity quota for states that vaguely resemble cookware.

* The state flower of Oklahoma is mistletoe. Its berries are deadly poisonous, which is convenient since there’s really nothing to live for in Oklahoma, anyway.

* Oklahoma’s name comes from the Choctaw Indian word “oka-oma”, which means “mobile home destroyed by tornado”.

* The state song of Oklahoma is, as you would expect, the title song from the musical “Oklahoma”. Which doesn’t make the residents of the state gay. Unless they actually LIKE the song.

* The world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, and was seen as a reasonable alternative to the previous method of controlling parking time – throwing a dead skunk on the hood of the vehicle after 30 minutes.

* Although most residents of Vinita, Oklahoma, were pleased to become the first city in the state to receive electricity in 1871, city hall was soon inundated by complaints from citizens who were unable to make their VCR’s stop blinking “12:00″.

* Oklahoma City has an operating oil well on its capitol grounds. Despite numerous attempts to have it removed, Mr. Clampett firmly refuses to sell.

* Duncan, Oklahoma is home to a life-size statue of a cattle drive, titled, “I Crap Bigger Than You”.

* Boise City, Oklahoma was the only city in the US to be bombed during World War II. In 1943, a US B-17 bomber dropped 6 practice bombs on the town as a warning to other cities that were still selling sauerkraut instead of “Liberty Cabbage”.

* Okmulgee, Oklahoma holds the record for the world’s largest pecan pie. It was 60 feet in diameter, and contained over 300,000 pecans, as well as a dozen squirrels who didn’t get out of the nut bin in time.

* The state motto of Oklahoma is “labor omnia vincit”, which means “my brother was an extra in ‘Twister'”.

* Oklahoma residents are known as “Sooners”, after the disreputable people who made homestead claims prior to the official start time of noon on April 22nd, 1889. Personally, I don’t like the nickname because it makes light of a serious offense. It’s like referring to terrorists who blow up children as “baby boomers”.

* The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City. Whaddya wanna bet that Terrell Owens throws a fit because they won’t induct him?

* Every April, the city of Beaver, Oklahoma, holds the World Championship Cow Chip Throw. It’s the one time of year where the phrase “You wanna watch me fling poo?” actually works as a pick-up line.

* Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma City invented the modern shopping cart, enabling the homeless at last to transport their worldly goods without the use of Sherpas.

* Jenks, Oklahoma, is home to more antique stores than any other city, and has more useless, outdated, unworkable items than a Democractic Party platform.

* The first capital city of Oklahoma was Guthrie, but it was later moved to Oklahoma City, since no one wanted their state to be associated with a crappy folk singer.

* I mean, “You can get anything you want blah, blah, blah” over and over and over. Doesn’t that song ever freakin’ END?

* At over a mile in length, Oklahoma’s Pensacola Dam is the world’s largest multiple arch dam. In case of leaks, there are emergency repair kits every 1000 feet containing a sponge and a roll of duct tape.

* Bob Dunn of Beggs, Oklahoma, invented the world’s first electric guitar in 1935, about the same time that his mother coined the phrase “turn that crap down!”.

* At 287 feet above sea level, Little River, Oklahoma is the lowest point in the state and is reputed to be one of the many low places where Oklahoma native Garth Brooks has friends.

* Oklahoma City’s WKY was the first radio station to broadcast west of the Mississippi. It’s first transmission was “HELP! TORNADO!”.

* The National Lighter Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma, contains over 20,000 lighters, the largest collection outside of a Rolling Stones concert.

* Oklahoma was the setting for the movie Twister, which proved to be very difficult to shoot, since other tornadoes kept sneaking onto the set and holding up “Hi Mom!” signs.

* Antlers, Oklahoma now bills itself as “The Deer Capital of the World” after receiving too many complaints about its previous nickname of “The World’s Horniest City”.

* Oklahoma is one of only two states whose capital cities include the name of the state. The other is New York.

* Why yes, I *did* fail geography in high school. How did you know?

* The first YIELD sign was installed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was generally considered an improvement over the earlier version which simply said “Prepare For Impact”.

* Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, most of which are a result of a lack of duct tape at the Pensacola Dam.

* Humorist Will Rogers was born in Oologah, Oklahoma, and is best known for his saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like”. Please note that he died before Michael Moore was born.

* Durant, Oklahoma is home to “the world’s largest peanut” – a 3-footer. After being informed that Georgia had a 6-foot peanut, Oklahoma renamed theirs “the world’s largest peanut – after taxes”.

* Oklahoma was featured in the book, “The Grapes of Wrath”, as well as the sequel, “The Raisins of Petulance”.
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That wraps up the Oklahoma edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be helping the border patrol beat up on hippies sneaking north from California as we visit Oregon.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go fling some poo. Anyone wanna watch?

______________

[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: Ohio

Saturday, January 5, 2013 8:00 am

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, the natives will be tricking us into believing that buckeyes actually come from the annual shedding of the male deer’s eyeballs as we visit Ohio. So let’s get started…
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Ohio’s state flag is the only one of the 50 states’ which is a pennant shape, rather than rectangular. Sorta like that kid you went to school with who thought that being the only person with a mullet made him cool.

* Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803 and was originally populated by people who were improperly whacked by the Detroit mob and dumped into Lake Erie.

* The state flower of Ohio is the Scarlet Carnation, more popularly known as “the cheapskate’s rose”.

* The first ambulance service in the US was started in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1865 as a method of promoting physical fitness among lawyers.

* Cleveland, Ohio is home to America’s first traffic light. The idea was borrowed from the French “war light”, whose green, red, and yellow signals told French citizens whether to flee, surrender, or collaborate.

* Ermal Fraze invented the pop-top can in Kettering, Ohio, which replaced the older, less reliable method of opening cans – outraging a Muslim into suicide-bombing it open for you.

* Singer Dean Martin was born in Steubenville, Ohio, and was the last non-Frenchman to sincerely believe that Jerry Lewis was funny.

* The cash register was invented in Dayton, Ohio in 1879 by James Ritty. The first model consisted of a locking drawer attached to his wife’s cleavage.

* “Hang On Sloopy” is the official state rock song of Ohio, which narrowly beat out “Smack My Bitch Up”.

* Although Ohio’s state nickname is the “Buckeye State”, long-time residents still prefer the previous nickname of the “Big Red Dangling Nuts State”.

* Ohio’s name comes from an Iroquois Indian word meaning “Lake Erie’s on fire again”.

* Founded in 1869, the Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team. The second professional team wasn’t created until 1870, which may explain why the Reds won their first 130 games by forfeit.

* Akron, Ohio was the first city to use police cars. Coincidentally, it was also the first city with a donut shop.

* Cincinnati was the first city with a full-time professional fire department, originally consisting of 25 Dalmatians with bladder-control problems.

* Akron, Ohio is the rubber capital of the world, annually producing enough of the material to supply rubber chickens to every crappy prop comic on earth. Or to supply one Carrot Top show.

* The American Federation of Labor union was founded in Columbus, Ohio. It offers all the high-quality corrupt thuggery you’ve come to expect from East Coast unions, but with a pleasant mid-western accent.

* At the age of 77, Ohio senator John Glenn became the oldest man to visit outer space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. The ship was grounded for six months afterwards while crews worked around the clock to get the “old person smell” out of it.

* Cleveland, Ohio, is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is located across the street from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Museum.

* Ohio is the nation’s leading producer of greenhouse and nursery plants. None of which are marijuana. And no, I don’t know where you can get any. Now get away from me, you stupid hippie!

* Canton, Ohio, is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt in my mind that Terrell Owens will make it in there someday – if he stops at the front counter and pays for an adult admission ticket.

* Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and became the first man to walk on the moon. The second man to walk on the moon… eh… who cares about THAT loser!

* Born in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright Brothers invented the airplane in 1903. Their accomplishment was was largely ignored until they invented the scantily-clad stewardess in 1905.

* Americans have elected seven presidents from the state of Ohio. If we elect three more, we’ll get a coupon for a free Speaker of the House.

* The hot dog was given its name by concessionaire Harry Stevens of Niles, Ohio, after discovering that people weren’t interested in buying his “snouts & sawdust sausages”.

* 50% of the United States population lives within a 500 mile radius of Columbus, Ohio. The other 50% lives with a profound sense of relief.

* Charles Kettering of Loudonville, Ohio, invented the automobile self-starter in 1911, which was a huge improvement over the old method of grabbing the engine block while peeing on an electric fence.

* In 1839, Charles Goodyear of Akron, Ohio, developed the process of vulcanizing rubber. Prior to that time, rubber could neither live long nor prosper.

* Teflon was invented by Roy Plunkett of New Carlisle, Ohio, in 1938 after he followed a recipe for homemade glue typed up by his dyslexic secretary.

* Oberlin College was founded in 1833, with the goal of becoming the first interracial and coeducational college in the US. It took a lot of persuading to get people to part with perfectly good tuition money only to be forced to rub elbows with filthy Irishmen.

* Civil War General and US President Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio. His only notable accomplishments were getting really drunk and killing people. Which means that if Ted Kennedy had ever become president, we’d have had a different portrait on the $50 bill.
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That wraps up the Ohio edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be wondering why the musical didn’t mention tornadoes and trailer parks as we visit Oklahoma.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go find an electric fence so I can start my car.

______________

[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: North Dakota

Saturday, December 29, 2012 8:00 am

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 picking Canadian coins out of our pocket change and tossing them into fountains to make 89% of our wishes come true as we visit North Dakota. So let’s get started…
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If you need a North Dakota flag in a hurry, in a pinch you can just use the right half of the back of a dollar bill.

* North Dakota became the 39th state on November 2, 1889. It was originally settled by Canadians searching for somewhere to live that wasn’t cold and boring. The expedition was, of course, a miserable failure.

* Westhope, North Dakota, is the state’s busiest point of entry into Canada. Over 72,000 people per year cross the border there – mostly Hollywood types making good on their promises to leave the country after Bush was elected.

* Dakota Gasification Co. of Beulah, North Dakota is the nation’s only producer of “synthetic natural gas” – an oxymoron of a degree second only to “peaceful Muslim”.

* Writing Rock State Historical Site near Grenora, North Dakota, features two granite boulders with carvings of the mythological Thunderbird. Which is either an example of early Indian religion or a declaration of their love for cheap, fortified wine.

* North Dakota got its name from the Sioux Indian word “Da-ko-ta”, meaning “pasty white guys”

* The town of Rugby, North Dakota, is the geographical center of the North American continent, which – for those of you with public school educations – is the one that’s right above that ice-cream-cone-shaped continent.

* In 1987, North Dakota passed a law making English the state’s official language, as a direct snub to those who only speak Canadian.

* “Whut’s dat aboot, eh?” – I mean, who can understand THAT goofy monkey-jabber?

* In 1989, North Dakota attempted to drop the word “North” from the state’s name, seeking to become known simply as “Dakota”. The bill was defeated after their neighbor to the south threatened to change its name to “Smart Dakota”.

* Max Taubert of Casselton, North Dakota built a 50-foot-tall pyramid out of empty oil cans. Experts are still debating whether Taubert was an artistic genius or just a lazy slob who couldn’t remember that trash day was Tuesday.

* Devil’s Lake – the largest natural body of water in North Dakota – got it’s name from a mistranslation of the Sioux Indian word “Miniwaukan”, which actually means “Satan’s Urinal”.

* The Dakota Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson, North Dakota, contains dozens of complete dinosaur skeletons and celebrates the North Dakota state recreational pastime of watching things slowly turn to stone.

* Harvey, North Dakota… no relation

* The largest state-owned sheep research center in the US is located in Hettinger, North Dakota, and specializes in trying to discover what it is about sheep that makes ordinary men suddenly unable to quit each other.

* The original grave of Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull can be found in Fort Yates, North Dakota. His last words before being killed in 1890 were “Me think-um white man not have guts to pull trigger”.

* Jamestown, North Dakota is home to the world’s largest buffalo statue. It’s 26 feet tall, weighs 60 tons and features a small plaque at its base that says “Yes, we KNOW it’s actually a ‘bison’. We don’t care. Shut up.”

* North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state, which is why they were going to name their NFL expansion team the “Sunflowers”. It’s also why the last NFL expansion franchise was granted to Houston, instead.

* The historic Opera House in Ellendale, North Dakota was shut down after 90 years of successful operation in 1999 when it made the regrettable decision to put on performances of the controversial musical, “The Pedophiles of Penzance”.

* A “flickertail” is a small ground squirrel native to North Dakota which gets its name from its characteristic manner of flicking its tail just before entering its burrow. Sorta like the way a Democrat flinches upon hearing good news out of Iraq.

* North Dakota’s biggest tourist attraction is the annual Killdeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo, which is the one time of year when residents can chase, tackle, and tie up animals for pleasure without running afoul of the state’s bestiality laws.

* Before becoming President, Teddy Roosevelt came to the Dakota territory in 1883 to hunt bison. He left in 1898 to fight in the Spanish-American War because he thought it would be more fun to hunt Spaniards.

* Known as “The Small, Friendly German Town on the Dakota Prairie”, New Leipzig, North Dakota, hosts an annual Oktoberfest celebration during which it invades and conquers the neighboring city of New Paris.

* Every year, New Rockford, North Dakota hosts the Central North Dakota Steam Threshers Reunion, which features a variety of antique farm machinery, some of which is so old that it’s actually been used to harvest non-government subsidized crops.

* Fort Berthold Community College near New Town, North Dakota, was the first tribally chartered college in North Dakota and offers courses in casino operations and victim-card playing.

* Rutland, North Dakota created the World’s Largest Hamburger. Over nine thousand people came to sample the nearly two-ton burger, and all of them went home hungry, since Michael Moore was first in line.

* Turtle Lake, North Dakota hosts the annual United States Turtle Racing Championship. The losers of the race compete again later in the day during the United States Turtle Soup Cook-off.

* Bismark, North Dakota features a statue of Lewis & Clark’s Indian guide Sacagawea. She’s depicted gazing westward toward the country she helped open, while the baby strapped to her back is shown giving the finger eastward to the country that forced his mom to live on a reservation.

* The Lewis & Clark expedition encountered hungry grizzly bears in North Dakota, which is also where they lost their first Indian guide, Snackagawea.

* North Dakota’s highest point, White Butte, features numerous small piles of rocks. Known as shepherd’s monuments, they were piled there by sheepherders as a way to pass the time. Sorta like a primitive version of Microsoft Solitaire.

* The International Peace Garden straddles the international boundary between North Dakota and the Canadian province of Manitoba. Like the peace movement itself, it’s filled entirely with pansies.

* The Fort Union Trading Post in North Dakota was the principal fur-trading site in the region from 1829 to 1867. It was one of the few places in the country where no one would raise an eyebrow upon hearing the phrase “I’m going into town to see if I can trade my beaver for a bottle of whiskey”.
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That wraps up the North Dakota edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be shopping for discount Drew Carey glasses as we visit Ohio.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go head into town to see what I can get for this bottle of whiskey.

______________

[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: North Carolina

Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:00 am

Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States. I’m your host, Harvey, and – 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 singing our way through the cotton harvest as we visit North Carolina. So let’s get started…
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The state flag of North Carolina is a slight modification of the original “smiley face with bushy monobrow” design

* North Carolina became the 12th state on November, 21st, 1789. Then, as now, it was the nation’s leading producer of tobacco products and is the only state in the US whose constitution includes a Surgeon General’s warning.

* The state song of North Carolina is a wet, hacking cough.

* Although Carolina is currently considered a woman’s name, North Carolina was actually named for England’s King Charles I, since the Latin word “Carolus” means both “Charles” and “mincing poofter girlie-man”.

* In 1903, the Wright Brothers had their first successful airplane flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Although early flights barely left the ground, they were quite popular among amorous couples seeking to join the “10-foot-high club”.

* In the early 1700’s Beaufort Town, North Carolina was a notorious haven for pirates – cruel, dim-witted men with foul mouths and poor personal hygiene who wouldn’t hesitate to use violence to get their way. Rather like hippies, except with bigger boats.

* The famous lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina had to be moved due to erosion problems, due in large part to endless streams of tourists spitting over the rail of the observation deck.

* The state bird of North Carolina is the Cardinal, which I assume was chosen for its red neck.

* The Andy Griffith show was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. It was based on an actual city, but to appease the censors, they changed Otis’ role to town drunk instead of his real job as Aunt Bea’s pimp.

* North Carolina’s state vegetable is the Sweet Potato, which was chosen by the state’s majority population of Sweet Irish.

* Harker Island, North Carolina, is home to the annual Core Sound Duck Decoy Festival which boasts more fake but accurate items than a CBS news broadcast.

* The WWII battleship North Carolina was preserved as a museum in 1963 as a reminder to the Japs that they should stick to tending goldfish.

* The first English Colony in America was at Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The entire population vanished without a trace in 1590, which is not as mysterious as it sounds, since the colony consisted entirely of deadbeat dads.

* The state motto of North Carolina is “Esse quam videri”, which is Latin for “arrogant basketball snobs”.

* At nearly 6700 feet, North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi and is rumored to be the hiding place of the notorious terrorist Bubba bin Laden.

* Krispy Kreme Donuts was started in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The donuts are staggeringly popular throughout the US, despite the fact that their name is an obvious euphemism for “stale filling”.

* The Venus Flytrap is a carnivorous plant which is native to North Carolina. It will eat dead flies, spoiled hamburger, and most other things commonly found in the kitchen at McDonald’s.

* The first miniature golf course was built in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and was originally invented to appeal to tourists who hate exercise, but really enjoy frustrated cursing.

* Babe Ruth hit the first of his record 714 home runs while playing in Fayetteville, North Carolina on March 7, 1914. He also hit his first peanut vendor in the process – his record for that (179) remains unbroken to this day.

* The Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina is America’s largest home. Designed by architect Mike Brady, it contains 255 rooms and a single, shared, upstairs bathroom with no toilet.

* The first state-owned art museum is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. All modern art exhibits there are limited by law to 1.6 gallons per flush.

* North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is designated by the UN as an “International Biosphere Reserve”, which is just a polite way of saying “a place for the French to hide in case they get frightened by a loud noise or something”.

* The Mile-High Swinging Bridge near Linville, North Carolina, is 5305 feet above sea level. It wasn’t originally designed to swing, but that’s Union labor for ya.

* Pepsi was invented in New Bern, North Carolina in 1898. The secret ingredient in the beverage is a closely-guarded secret, but here’s a hint: the beverage was originally called “Peesi”.

* The town of Wendell, North Carolina, was named for Oliver Wendell Holmes, or possibly for that pale, sickly kid on the Simpsons.

* Golfing legend Arnold Palmer started his career playing on the championship golf team of Wake Forest University. He’s credited with inventing the “casually kick the ball closer to the hole maneuver” now popularly known as “Palmering”.

* Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1822 Hiram Rhoades Revels became the first black member of the US Congress – inexplicably, without Jesse Jackson’s help.

* 17th President Andrew Johnson started out as a tailor’s apprentice in Raleigh, North Carolina. He became the first President in American history to be impeached, but was acquitted in his Senate trial, since his crimes DID include lying about diddling an intern.

* North Carolina leads the nation in furniture production, and is famous for its leather sofas made from the skins of unlucky NASCAR drivers.

* North Carolina was the first state in the US to establish a state symphony orchestra, which consisted of a jug, a washboard, and a washtub bass.

* In 1987, North Carolina declared milk to be the official state beverage when the clerk typing up the bill inadvertently misspelled “moonshine”.

* Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, televangelist Billy Graham – like Osama bin Laden – used the power of modern media to spread his religious message. Fortunately, his followers usually became naggy church ladies instead of suicide bombers.
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That wraps up the North Carolina edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be mortified to discover that the people in Fargo really DO sound like those people in the movie, as we visit North Dakota.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go join the “10-foot-high club”.

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: New York

Saturday, December 15, 2012 8:00 am

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’re taking a trip to the state that habitually refers to Canada as “our neighbor to the west” – New York. So let’s get started…
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You should’ve seen the look on the flag committee’s face after someone pointed out to them that they’d just approved a design that included a smiley face on the sun.

* New York became the 11th state on July 26th, 1788 and was originally called New Amsterdam. Before the final name change, it was variously known as Not New Jersey, Whaddyalookinat, and Hookerland.

* New York City’s most famous landmark, the Statue of Liberty, is constructed out of copper and eventually turned green due to pollution from coal burning factories. If you scraped off the corrosion, you’d find that the statue was actually pink, completely naked, and originally titled “The Statue of Yowza!”

* Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, New York, was orginally founded as a women’s college in 1861. Its motto is “Where women go to feel smart between evenings of drunken table dancing”.

* The 1969, the Woodstock Music Festival was held on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. It reportedly took Mr. Yasgur over 2 years to get that hippie smell out of his manure pit.

* Dairy farming is New York’s #1 agricultural activity. The state’s 18,000 dairy farms have a milk-producing capacity nearly that of Dolly Parton.

* In 1807, the world’s first steamboat, the Clermont, made its maiden voyage between New York City and Albany. It was during this trip that the phrase “are we there, yet?” was first coined.

* The state tree of New York is the billboard

* In 1899, the Kosher wine industry was started by Sam Shapiro in New York City. Before that, Jews drank nothing but the fermented blood of Palestinian babies. Or so I’ve heard.

* New York City has 722 miles of subway track. Most of it heavily stained with wino vomit.

* “Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum was born in Chittenago, New York. His famous tale was loosely based on the lives of Al and Tipper Gore, as most great American stories are.

* The New York Post – founded in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton – is America’s oldest continually-published newspaper. Its first headline was “Jefferson Has No Exit Strategy For Barbary Coast Pirate Quagmire”.

* John Babcock of New York City invented the stationary rowing machine in 1869 as a less-smelly alternative to the then-popular exercise fad of riding a dead horse.

* The first railroad in America ran the 11 miles between Albany and Schenectady, NY. The slow, primitive train ride carried few passengers, since riding a dead horse between the towns was nearly as fast.

* New York City was the first capital of the United States. George Washington took his oath of office there in 1789, beginning the city’s long and cherished tradition of gullibly trusting lying politicians.

* Every November, New York City’s Empire State Building plays host to the Boy Scouts’ annual Urban Camp-out, allowing scouts to earn the elusive Drunk Rolling and Crack Procurement merit badges.

* During the war of 1812, meatpacker Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, stamped “U.S. Beef” on the products he sent to the troops. This was popularly interpreted as – and began the legend of – Uncle Sam, although the letters actually stood for “urine soaked”.

* Don’t make that face at me. Urine contains a plethora of natural preservatives.

* Actor Humphrey Bogart was born in New York City in 1899. Little known fact – in the movie “Casablanca”, he never said “Play it again, Sam.” What he actually said was “AOL sends spam”, one of the most prescient lines in cinematic history.

* Jell-O was invented in Rochester, New York in 1897. Mostly as a way to help dispose of the mountains of dead horses that people didn’t ride any more.

* Marshmallows were also invented in Rochester. They stopped being manufactured there in 1984 after the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man destroyed the city.

* For obvious reasons, bumper-to-bumper warranties for cars sold in New York City do NOT cover the horn.

* Gennaro Lombardi opened America’s first pizzeria in New York City in 1895. Slices of the original pie are still being sold there today, or at least that’s what it tastes like.

* Locals don’t complain about it, though, since New Yorkers wouldn’t know good pizza if it jumped up and stuffed their noses full of pepperoni.

* On July 28th, 1945, a B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building. The pilot wasn’t Muslim, just really stupid, which isn’t technically the same thing.

* Joseph C. Gayetty of New York City introduced toilet paper to the world in 1857, causing sales of The New York Times to plummet.

* Camera inventor George Eastman was born in Waterville, NY in 1854. His device was second only to the creation of the internet in revolutionizing the pornography industry.

* New York was the first state to require license plates on automobiles, which featured the motto, “Get out of my way, jackass!”

* Famed for his numerous, heartwarming Saturday Evening Post covers, painter Norman Rockwell was born in New York City. The secret to his technique was looking out the window of his Hell’s Kitchen apartment and then painting the exact opposite of what he saw.

* New York City is world-famous for its cultural diversity. While walking even a single block, a tourist can expect to be cursed at in over 40 different languages.

* Contrary to the popular myth, local Indians did NOT sell the island of Manhattan for $24 worth of beads and trinkets. It was actually lost during an inexplicable run of bad luck at a Coney Island sidewalk game of 3-Card-Monte.
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That wraps up the New York edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be stuck to the floor by the tar on our heels as we visit North Carolina.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go earn some merit badges.

______________

[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]

Send to Kindle
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Fun Facts About the 50 States: New Mexico

Saturday, December 8, 2012 8:00 am

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, it’s time to visit the state that 9 out of 10 kids mislabel as Arizona when they try to fill out a blank map of the US, otherwise known as New Mexico. So let’s get started…
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New Mexico’s flag celebrates the ancient native peoples of the area and their primitive ninja throwing stars.

* New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6th, 1912. It was originally founded by refugees from Texas seeking the religious freedom to end their prayers with “Amen” instead of “YEE-HAW!”.

* Only 10% of the New Mexico Territory acquired by the US government during the Mexican-American War actually became the state of New Mexico. Very much like your income after taxes.

* The world’s largest hot air balloon festival is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, since the city’s air comes conveniently pre-heated.

* Only .002% of New Mexico’s total surface area is covered by lakes and rivers, giving it a water-to-land ratio just slightly larger than Ted Kennedy’s conscience-to-soul ratio.

* The world’s first atomic bomb was detonated near Alamagordo, New Mexico, on July 16th, 1945. The site was chosen by President Truman because he thought it “sounded Japanese enough for blowin’ up”.

* New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument is the state’s most popular tourist destination among confused cocaine addicts.

* Grants, New Mexico, was once known as “the carrot capital of the country” until it was brought low by a plague of wascally wabbits.

* The northwest corner of New Mexico borders the corners of three other states, where Cerberus jealously guards against invaders from Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

* The Palace of the Governors in Sante Fe, New Mexico, was built in 1610 and is the oldest public buildings in America. Its walls are covered by colorful frescoes and the unremovable stench of nearly 400 years of political corruption.

* The ancient Anasazi Indian civilization flourished in New Mexico for over 1300 years before being invaded and conquered by confused cocaine addicts.

* New Mexico is the only state in the US named after the country from which the land was acquired. At least until we get around to re-naming Quebec “New Canada”.

* That’s right, you filthy Canucks, we’re comin’ for ya.

* The state flower of New Mexico is the Yucca. Like hemp, its sturdy, fibrous leaves make excellent rope, yet hippies are inexplicably unenthusiastic about it.

* Over 1/4 of New Mexico is covered by lush, tropical, dust forests.

* Hippies aren’t crazy about those, either.

* The largest fire in New Mexico’s history destroyed nearly 50,000 acres of forest in 2000, and was caused by an Enron document-destroying party that got out of hand.

* In 1950, the cub that became the original Smokey the Bear was found after a fire in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest. He was later convicted of arson and sentenced to a life of community service as the Forest Service’s mascot.

* 1 out of 3 families in New Mexico speak Spanish at home. While driving, however, 100% of the state’s residents that I cut off in traffic shook their fist and called me “pendejo!”, so that first statistic might be low.

* The mine at Lake Valley, New Mexico, has veins of 100% pure silver, which allows for removal without destructive mining techniques. Ben & Jerry’s was so impressed by this environmentally-friendly operation that they offered to name an ice cream flavor after it, until they realized that nothing really rhymes with “silver”.

* Inventor Robert Goddard made great advances in the science of rocketry at his Roswell, New Mexico, testing site. The museum dedicated to his work features scale models of his rocket designs and the stuffed & mounted bodies of all the aliens he shot down.

* After helping to create the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, facility, many of the scientists and engineers remained in the area, leading to the creation of America’s first Federal Nerd Sanctuary.

* 1 in 4 adults in New Mexico are employed directly by the Federal Government, which may explain the state’s motto of “Liberty, Bureaucracy, Sloth”.

* There were no public schools in New Mexico until the early 20th century, which is why the state’s residents can both spell and pronounce “Albuquerque” correctly.

* New Mexico has more sheep and cattle than people. McDonald’s reports having a hard time keeping up with demand for its new McMeadow sandwich.

* Because of its arid climate, 3/4 of New Mexico’s roads are unpaved. Since the dirt is so dry and compacted, it doesn’t wash away when it rains. Much like when a hippie showers.

* Yeah, I know, but use your imagination.

* Sportscaster John Madden was born in Austin, New Mexico, on the same day as the detonation of the first atomic bomb, which may explain his penchant for the word “boom!”.

* The city of Truth of Consequences, New Mexico, was named after a popular 1950’s radio quiz show, or possibly the fact that it’s inhabited by mind reading aliens who deal screaming death to those who dare speak untruths in their presence.

* Either way, Bill Clinton has never visited the city. Make of that what you will.

* The town of Deming, New Mexico, is known for its annual duck races. Insider tip: bet heavily on “Quack O’ War”.

* Singer John Denver was born in Roswell, New Mexico, and is credited by many as the inspiration for Metallica’s raw, heavy metal sound.
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That wraps up the New Mexico edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be shocked to discover that there’s actually an entire state surrounding that big, smelly, attention-hogging city, as we visit New York.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a church service to attend – YEE-HAW!

Hey… I’m Orthodox.

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