Monday, April 04, 2005

What's a motto?

If you read the title to this article and thought "nothing, what's a motto with you?" then you are as clever as I. Or we both spent waaaaaay too much time watching Rocky and Bullwinkle on TV.

Every US state has an official motto. Often, NO ONE knows what it is. Not even the people who live there. Even people that think they know the motto usually don't. They usually confuse the state's nickname or song or even some blurb off the state license plate as an actual motto.

To put you on the cutting edge I have decided to share the mottos with you. I also shared the Rocky and Bullwinkle thing so you are double blessed!

Alabama: Audemus jura nostra defendere (We dare defend our rights)

Good old Alabama. Threatening people with their slogan! God bless them. I should note that many of the slogans are not in English. This was to insure that they would be EVEN more boring.
Alaska: North to the Future

What? It sounds like Peter North's version of Back to the Future. Very odd. North? What does that mean? I know Alaska is 'north' of the mainland United States. Does that make the mainland the FUTURE? Way to go Alabama! No wonder you are so busy defending yourself! You ARE the future.
Arizona: Ditat Deus (God enriches)

And so does the Wonder Bread company.
Arkansas: Regnat populus (The people rule)

I have been there. Wal-Mart rules. Get used to it.
California: Eureka (I have found it)

There’s gold in them there teeth!
Colorado: Nil sine Numine (Nothing without Providence)

Since Providence is in RHODE ISLAND, Colorado is officially NOTHING!
Connecticut: Qui transtulit sustinet (He who transplanted still sustains)

Wow, this seems more like a scavenger hunt clue than a motto.
He who transplanted still sustains, and Carmen Sandiego is hiding in a dark room with lots of tuna.
Delaware: Liberty and independence
Florida: In God we trust

A couple of standard ones here. Any less creative and they would have just gone with the word "motto" as their motto. If I were Delaware I would change the motto to "GOLDENPALACE.COM". That would raise some quick cash.
Florida should just be honest and change theirs to "When you can't vacation in California or Hawaii, come here."
Georgia: Wisdom, justice, and moderation
Hawaii: Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)
Idaho: Esto perpetua (It is forever)
Illinois: State sovereignty, national union

There are a few winners here. Hawaii made theirs read like a badly traslated fortune cookie.
Idaho just wanted to make sure they never had to go through the whole motto process again.
Still, Illinois stands out because theirs sound like the name of my bank.
Indiana: The Crossroads of America

Indiana dares to dream big. Or they were big fans of the Britney Spears film or the Ralph Macchio film. Or, hopefully, both.

Iowa: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain
Kansas: Ad astra per aspera (To the stars through difficulties)
Kentucky: United we stand, divided we fall
Louisiana: Union, justice, and confidence
Maine: Dirigo (I lead)

Iowa is concerned about liberties and rights. Kansas on the other hand is more concerned with the "difficulties" of the "stars". Kansas is the People Magazine of states.
Also, if you ever dance with someone from Maine, expect them to lead.
Maryland: Fatti maschii, parole femine (Manly deeds, womanly words)
I LOVE this one! It sounds like it is describing someone who is reading poetry with a mouth FULL of chewing tobacco. Also I like the way it looks in Latin (or what ever language that is): Fatti maschii, parole femine. I think I went to school with Fatti Maschii. Nice girl, but she smelled funny. Kinda like Play-do. As for Parole Femine, I think that was the name of a French 'women in prison' flick. I never saw it.
Massachusetts: Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem (By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty)
Michigan: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you)

I wish that Michigan ended theirs with "you idiot." That would be awesome.
Minnesota: L'√Čtoile du Nord (The North Star)

Now starring in North to the Future.
Mississippi: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Missouri: Salus populi suprema lex esto (The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law)
Montana: Oro y plata (Gold and silver)
Nebraska: Equality before the law

The last few mottos are only interesting to those that live there, those who like gold and silver and Judge Dredd. Remember, he IS the law.
Nevada: All for Our Country
New Hampshire: Live free or die
New Jersey: Liberty and prosperity
New Mexico: Crescit eundo (It grows as it goes)

I am glad to see that both New Mexico and Chia Pets share a motto.
New York: Excelsior (Ever upward)
North Carolina: Esse quam videri (To be rather than to seem)

Is it just me, or could these mottos also be quotes from a kung fu movie?
North Dakota: Liberty and union, now and forever: one and inseparable
Ohio: With God all things are possible
Oklahoma: Labor omnia vincit (Labor conquers all things)
Oregon: Alis volat Propriis (She flies with her own wings)

Oregon was sniffing airplane glue and listing to Frank Zappa when they made their motto.
Pennsylvania: Virtue, liberty, and independence
Rhode Island: Hope
South Carolina: Animis opibusque parati (Prepared in mind and resources) and Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope)

South Carolina was not satisfied with just ONE, they have TWO. They eve one up Rhode Island by not just having "hope" but "breathing".
South Dakota: Under God the people rule
Tennessee: Agriculture and Commerce
Texas: Friendship
Utah: Industry
Vermont: Vermont, Freedom and Unity

Vermont was smart enough to include the word "Vermont" IN their motto. I bet the rest of them wished they thought of that!
Virginia: Sic semper tyrannis (Thus always to tyrants)
Washington: Al-Ki (Indian word meaning “by and by”)
West Virginia: Montani semper liberi (Mountaineers are always free)

Yikes! I better go get my Mountaineer in West Virginia! I paid over 25 grand on a used one (but it has a sweet CD player.)
Wisconsin: Forward
Wyoming: Equal rights



So there you have it. Every state motto I could find without looking too hard. I hope you liked it.

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