A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Several years ago there was a CBC television program called Talking to Americans. The premise was to ask Americans leading questions about Canada so that they would demonstrate their ignorance of our country and look like jackasses. The show was very popular. Oddly enough there has never been an American TV program called Talking to Canadians. This is probably because Canadians know and care a lot more about our southern cousins than they do us. For example, most Canadians know that today is Independence Day in the US — the 4th of July. It’s the perfect day to enhance our trivia knowledge of America. Here are some odds and sods of information that will make you totally superior to other Canadians (or Americans, for that matter) who do not possess this specialized knowledge. Enjoy!
Nearly 25% of all Americans have been on TV.
In Washington, DC, there are over 75 lobbyists for every United States senator.
At any given time, approximately 60,000 Americans are flying.
From space, the brightest thing on Earth is Las Vegas. That’s why the aliens always show up there.
There are more cows in Montana than people.
There are more cars than people in Los Angeles.
If California was a separate country, it would have the 7th largest economy in the world.
The deepest gorge in the United States is not the Grand Canyon. It’s Hells Canyon on the Snake River in Idaho and Oregon.
The Sears Tower in Chicago is so big it has its own ZIP Code: 60606.
Only 12 people have ever stood on the moon – all Americans.
The last time anybody checked, which was 2006, the United States gave – gave! – other countries $22.828 billion dollars in foreign aid. That’s in a single year, directly from the US government, and not the Red Cross, Unicef, Save the Children or any other charity — including Bill Gates.
The United States is weirdly shaped.
Buffalo, New York, which is on Lake Erie directly south of Toronto, Canada, is further east than Jacksonville, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which are all on the Atlantic Ocean.
El Paso, Texas, is closer to San Diego, California than it is to Houston, Texas.
Reno, Nevada is further west than Los Angeles, California.
Louisville, Kentucky is closer to Windsor, Ontario than it is to Memphis, Tennessee.
And Windsor, Ontario is actually south of Detroit, Michigan.
There are more hazelnuts grown in the Willamette Valley, Oregon than everywhere else in the world — combined. In fact, Oregon produces 98% of the world’s commercial hazelnut crop.
Pocahontas was the first woman to appear on US currency, in 1863. Martha Washington was second. Minnie Mouse (featured on the Disney five dollar bill) was third — but that doesn’t count.
As of today, the most widely recognized symbol in the world is the Coke — followed by Facebook, Pepsi and Google.
Finally, here are a couple of facts that could win you untold numbers of drinks in a bar. Just remember to phrase them properly.
1 – How many states are there in the United States of America? Most people (who aren’t dolts) and every reference book will say 50. This is not true. There are only 46 states in the U.S.A. However, there are also four Commonwealths: Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts — which round the number up to an even 50.
2 – How many presidents were born in Kentucky? Even the mighty Google tells us only one, Abraham Lincoln. Nope, wrong again. There were two: Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis his Confederate counterpart during the Civil War.
To all my American friends: Happy 4th of July!