Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kentucky: Vaguely Drumstick-Shaped Commonwealth

My presidential posts will, tragically, have to end one day. Or I could just go through all 43 again. But so I've decided to continue what I started way back with Guam and continue to explore our American Empire with posts exploring the histories of each United State! Hooray! Fifty more weeks of Wiki-fueled blogging fodder before I have to come up with a new idea!
KY, right?
KENTUCKY: Known for car manufacturing, NCAA basketball, bourbon brewing (yum!), bluegrass musics, horse racing, and coal mining. Pretty much all of my favorite things. When I was a kid, I used to differentiate Kentucky and Tennessee by thinking KY was shaped vaguely like a drumstick. This was perhaps a less-than-creative mnemonic because of the whole KFC thing, but... mmm, fried chicken. Just remembered there's a KFC/Long John Silver's behind my apartment building. Something to consider. Kentucky was admitted to the Union (formerly part of greater Virginia) in 1792. HANG ON: FRIED CHICKEN RUN. Update: KFC is closed, we went to Arby's and got chickeny things there instead. So anyway, Kentucky was the fifteenth state. It is apparently considered southern, and southern Appalachian, and also midwestern. Let me tell you, I've never been to the KY, but from what I know about it, it's NOT the same region as MN and WI. Anyway, it became a commonwealth. Because they couldn't stand to just be called a "state." Too typical. There were already, like, ten or eleven of those when they joined up. Kentucky is the Bluegrass state. Their lawns reflect the color of the sky; also, they're into country music. Kentucky has lots of cool caves, navigable waterways, artificial lakes, and it borders seven other states. It's all landlock-y. The name "Kentucky" has several folk etymological stories, but the 'Pedia says it most likely came from an Iroquois word for "meadow" or "prairie." Kentucky, it has a "humid subtropical" climate. It sometimes falls prey to tornadoes and/or flooding. They have many parks, and repopulated their lands with deer, elk, and turkeys in the last century. I may be visiting Kentucky some time in the next few months to visit the fabulously educational Creation! Museum! Just the way god meant science museums to be. Maybe I'll run into a god-created turkey there. Geographic stuff: KY's original borders were formed by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. However, those rivers don't have the same courses they had back in 1792. Interesting fact, see: Kentucky has a noncontiguous section, an exclave, in Fulton County. After the New Madrid earthquake and its aftershocks of 1811/12, Fulton County found itself on the opposite side of the Missisippi from the rest of Kentucky. Interesting! Intriguing! In the colonial/colonization era, there were no permanent indigenous settlements in the future Kentucky area. Kentucky was hunting grounds for Shawnee and other tribes, though whities bought the land with Indian treaties in the late 1700s. Indian treaties. That old chestnut. Apparently the Shawnees were unhappy with the results and fought for the British in the Revolutionary War. Daniel Boone and some other kids helped settle Kentucky, which used to be the West back in the day. Both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were born in Kentucky. This is what is called "ironic." Here are some Kentuckian facts in no particular order except that I have numbered them: 1. Kentucky has the third-highest number of counties of any state in the Union with 120. Back in the day, they made their counties tiny and many in order to make it easier for horseriding poor folks to ride to the county seat in a day's journey. 2. Kentucky was "neutral" during the Civil War, though it did provide lots of black soldiers to the Union and then later refuse to ratify the thirteenth amendment. 3. They had something called the Black Patch Tobacco Wars. It had to do with cigarettes and money and trusts. Not the honesty kind of trust, though, the business monopoly kind. 4. KY has the only assassinated governor: William Goebel in 1900. 5. The official state beverage is milk, and the state dance is CLOGGING! Hardcore. 6. Billy Ray Cyrus is from Kentucky. You can blame them. 7. Kentuckians like to display their Ten Commandments all public-like. They seem to like Jesus there. 8. The state ranks fifth nationally in goat farming. This is the most important kind of farming in America. Kentucky has such an UNBRIDLED SPIRIT!


  1. If I end up going to school in Tennessee than I'll be right next to Kentucky. I can't wait to absorb their unbridled, maybe Southern or Midwestern spirit

  2. I know which state has the most counties...Texas. Yeehaw!

    Also, I'm wondering the the gov was assassinated. I'll have to read more about that when I'm not supposed to be doing work.

  3. I am up for the limericking challenge. Bring it on.