Thursday, February 24, 2005


Wisconsin is the 23rd largest state of the United States, (54,314 square miles) and 18th greatest population (5,453,896 as of 2002). Oddly enough all of them say they are "tired of all this Sponge Pants Man nonsense."

The state's name is an English version of a French adaptation of an Indian word. The Indian word is Meskousing meaning "gathering of the waters," was written as Ouisconsin by the French, and changed to its current form by the English. Kinda like when you would play that game in grade school where you would whisper a sentence to the kid next to you and he would pass it down the line. By the fifth or sixth kid the sentence didn't make sense and now included the word "monkey". Remember that game?

In 1634, Frenchman Jean Nicolet became Wisconsin's first European explorer. He had first tried exploring Japan but had many problems.

JEAN: I am Jean Nicolet.
JAPANESE MAN: Oh, like the gum?
JEAN: What?
JAPANESE MAN: The one that makes you quit smoking. Nicoret.
JEAN: No, my name is Nicolet.
JAPANESE MAN: Right, Nicoret.
JEAN: Good god! Is THAT the punch line? Wow, that was so not worth it.
JAPANESE MAN: My car is a Transformer.

The French controlled the area until 1763, when it was ceded to the British.

After the Revolutionary War, Wisconsin was part of the Northwest Territory. Wisconsin became the 30th state on May 29, 1848. They had a big old cake and sung the state song, changing the last verse to "You look like a monkey and you smell like one too."

Speaking of the state song, it is called "On, Wisconsin!" and was written by J. S. Hubbard and Charles D. Rosa.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Grand old badger state!
We, thy loyal sons and daughters,
Hail thee, good and great.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
"Forward", our motto
God will give thee might!

Hmmm, I was about to tell you that the states nickname is "the Badger State" and that their motto is "Forward", but that was all explained in the song. I must say I like that motto. It is much better than the one in New York "Keep lookin' over yer shoulder, buddy."

As for the whole "the Badger State" nickname, the badger has been closely associated with Wisconsin since territorial days. It was declared the official state animal in 1957. An irate opossum was so upset over not being chosen that he moved to Utah where he, ironically, moved in with that Jean Nicolet fellow. Together they manage a Bed, Bath and Beyond. I am not sure why, but no one ever asks about the "Beyond" part after meeting them.

The State Bird is the American Robin, this is also the same State Bird as Connecticut and Michigan.

To learn more about Wisconsin, visit your local library... unless you live in Wisconsin. Then just take a walk... and watch out for the badgers.

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