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6:52 a.m. - February 06, 2007
Know Your States, Part 2
Well, kids, it’s time for the second installment of “Know Your States”, or also, “Smed is out of town and wrote this in advance and posted it in his hotel room.”

Shall we get with the mindless trivialities? Sure, why not.

Hawaii - I’ve never been to Hawaii. That will be state number 50, and since I’ve been to DC, that will be US unit of government #51. Soon, I’ll make my way to Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, etc.

I’m sure Hawaii is beautiful and all, but I really would like to explore the countryside and skip the tourist traps. We shall see.

The state fish of Hawaii is the Reef Triggerfish, but in Hawaii it’s known as the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. My spell check just melted like the jasmine in my mind.

Idaho - Idaho is an interesting state. It’s very rugged and beautiful. It’s also quite conservative, and there may be a few nutballs roaming loose near Coeur D’Alene. One of my favorite stretches of road that I’ve ever driven is US 12 between Lewiston and Missoula, Montana. It took a long time for that road to be built as my 1953 atlas has a big gap on then Idaho State Road 9 west of Kooskia.

Most of the middle of the state is wilderness – untamed and rugged. It’s nice to know that there are still some areas down in the lower 48 that don’t have semi-trucks going through on a regular basis.

The state song is “Here We Have Idaho.” Runners up were: “Stay Away From Us, FBI Agents”, “Montana: You’re A Bunch Of P******” and “Idaho? I Dunno? But It Beats Wyoming.”

Illinois - Hey, look, it’s Indiana with Chicago attached to it. No, really. That’s all it is. So don’t get all high and mighty on us Hoosiers, Illinois. Face it, that stretch of road on I-70 between Terre Haute and St. Louis is about as blah as blah can be, even with that ginormous cross in Effingham.

If there’s someone doing 20 miles over the speed limit and cutting in and out of lanes, it’s usually someone from Illinois.

The state mineral is Fluorite. It looks purty.

Indiana - Now many of you wonder why I love my state, and I’ll tell you why. We’re friendly folk’ll. We look after our neighbors. And the Klan hasn’t ran the government since the 1920s. No, really.

The state is quite conservative, but it’s made progress lately. I think we’re up to 1975 or so, and we’re actually letting women and minorities do some important stuff for us once in a great while. The majority leader of the house has worse hair than Donald Trump, too, as you can see. (Yes, the state has a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. We do allow people like me to vote once in a great while.

The state poem is “Indiana”. I think a sixth grader wrote it.

Iowa - “You are in I-o-waaaay”. God, I love the Music Man. No, Iowans are not contrary, and yes, it’s really I-o-wah.

Iowa is Indiana with more corn and no huge racetrack. The people are nice and friendly, and it gets cold and snowy in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. So really, you only like to be outside in April and October.

Driving across Iowa is nice and serene, because on some roads there are no nasty curves to get in your way. Though the cornfields do sometimes have a calming effect on you, so watch out. Visit the Amana Colonies as well, where you can see a historical site for people who emigrated in the 1840s and settled here, living a communal life. Damn hippies! Oh, and then they made radar ranges. (Heeee…)

Iowa is the Hawkeye State, which still causes me to question why Hawkeye Pierce was from Crab Apple Cove, Maine, and Radar was the person from Ottumwa.

Kansas - I must take this time to praise Kansas, as it is the home state of my lovely wife, Liz. The love of my life, I cannot slag her state. Oh, wait, yes I can, because she does every time they vote in the Neanderthals into the State Board of Education that want to throw out the teaching of evolution. Wait, they wouldn’t be Neanderthals because they don’t believe in them. Ack…this monkey’s gone to heaven.

Kansas has some nice scenery, even though it has a reputation of being flat and blah. The Flint Hills are pretty neat, and as you’re driving west from Wichita, you get a sense of the great wide open, which is pretty neat. As long as you can stand the smell from the feedlots, I’d recommend tooling around western Kansas if you like to be busy doing nothing.

The state animal of Kansas is the American Buffalo. I’m glad buffalo are making somewhat of a comeback, but it would fit to have an extinct animal be the state animal of Kansas. How Darwinist.

Kentucky - I really can’t make fun of Kentucky, much. It’s just too easy. Though I do think it’s pretty. My cousin is pretty too but I’m not going to marry her.

The state wild animal is the Gray Squirrel. You know, them’s good eatin’.

Louisiana - This is quite an interesting state. For one, sometimes you have no idea what the people down there are saying half of the time. For two, it’s hot and humid but has some gorgeous spots. For three, it’s also pretty poor in many of the places, but everyone I know from Louisiana (even the ones here on the ‘net) are happy people. For four, the Meters and the Radiators hail from New Orleans, so that’s aces in my book.

I went to a few conferences in New Orleans. I did make it out alive, barely.

The state crustacean is the crawfish. Mmmm…crawfish gumbo. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Maine - I like Maine. It’s stubborn and independent, but it doesn’t lord it over you like Vermont and New Hampshire. It’s scenic and peaceful and the people, when not frozen solid to the ground, are friendly.

We spent a very nice time at a rustic inn between Bangor and Ellsworth, and visited the national park and ate seafood and did some shopping and had all kinds of fun.

The state insect is the honeybee. Oh, really. I hope the beekeepers can keep them warm during the winter.

Maryland - Maryland is an interesting state. Some of it is very rural and tranquil, and some of it is very urban (like Baltimore urban, not upscale urban). The panhandle is quite pretty, as some of the most scenic parts of the Appalachians pass through it. Of course, Maryland is also right by the Atlantic, so there’s that whole ocean thing too.

All in all, the Marylanders I’ve met are pretty spiffy folks. Hooray for Maryland.

The sport of Maryland is jousting. And no, I did not say “Hooray For Maryland” lest a pike be shoved into my gizzard.

Well, there you have it. You now know more about these 10 states than you ever really wanted to, I’m sure. Tune in later for more “Know Your States”. This has been a Quinn Martin production.


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