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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

24 Things to Always Remember...,


24 Things to Always Remember...
(and one thing to never forget)

Your presence is a present to the world.
You're unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be.
Take the days just one at a time.

Count your blessings not your troubles.
You'll make it through whatever comes along.
Within you are so many answers.
Understand, have courage, be strong.

Don't put limits on yourself.
So many dreams are waiting to be realized.
Decisions are too important to leave to chance.
Reach for your peak, your goal, your prize.

Nothing wastes more energy then worrying.
The longer one carries a problem, the heavier it gets.
Don't take things too seriously.
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

Remember that a little love goes along way.
Remember that a lot... goes forever.
Remember that a friendship is a wise investment.
Life's treasures are people... together.

Realize that it's never too late.
Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Have health and hope and happiness.
Take the time to wish upon a star.

And don't ever forget...
for even a day... how very special you are.
(Kim Murray)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

English Pronunciation

If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world.
After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.
Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Fe0ffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité


Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Great Lesson On Stress

A young woman confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, “Half empty, of half full?” She fooled them all. How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. To 20 oz. she replied.

“The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.”

“As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When were refreshed, we can carry on the burden-holding stress longer and better each time practiced.

So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Pick them up again tomorrow if you must.

I Can't Make..,

I can't make the raging sea, but God can;
I can't make honey like a bee, but God can.
I can't make the lightning stop;
I can't make earth produce a crop;
I can't make it rain a drop, but God can.
Sometimes I wonder in His plan why He included me.
But then I think how one small acorn made the big oak tree.
I can't make the morning dew;
I can't make the skies turn blue,
I can't make a dream come true, but God can.

I can't make a simple cloud, but God can,
I can't feed a hungry crowd, but God can.
I can't put corn on the stalk;
I can't make the lame to walk;
I can't make the dumb to talk, but God can.
Sometimes I wonder in His plan why He included me.
But then I think how one small acorn made the big oak tree.
God will give the strength we lack,
Follow on and don't look back.
Sometimes we can't see the track, but God can.

I can't tell when friends are true, but God can.
I can't look inside of you, but God can.
I can't turn darkness into light;
I can't make mountains snowy white;
I can't give blinded eyes their sight, but God can.
Our great men show their might, power on land and in the skies,
But science can't produce one thing that lives and breathes and dies.
I don't know just what's in store;
I can't see through Heaven's door;
I can't tell you any more, but God can.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

9 Year Old Takes The Stage...Stuns The Crowd With What She Did Next

Amira Willighagen was the last audition in Holland's Got Talent 2013. From the time she opens her mouth, the first reaction: WHAT?


The Judges Doubted Her In Front Of The Crowd, But She Blew Them Away!

Never judge a book by its cover. From the beginning, it was clear the judges lacked confidence in this 14-year-old contestant, but she blew them away from the moment she sang her song.


Watch What This Nun Does To These Men. Hilarious!

A nun carries a heavy box into the parking lot. Strong, able men offer to help her carry the box, but somehow can't. This nun has "God's strength." You will want to see the reaction from these men.


In Just 30 Seconds, Watch This Grandma Teach This Rude Driver A Lesson

Never write off people who are older or weaker than you. It just might work against you!


This Man In A Wheelchair Turns A Pile Of Old Wrenches Into Something Incredible

Artist John Piccoli from Victoria, Australia is known locally as "The Spanner Man." The term "spanner" refers to a monkey wrench. Unlike other artists, he creates his works from old wrenches. As part of the 'reuse' movement, John helps our environment by re-purposing junk to newly found areas - in this case, art. The most impressive part? He contracted polio at the age of 8 and thus has been working from his wheelchair since.
He begins with these old junk wrenches.
This is John. He built his workshop with the right machinery, such as a cross-over gantry and many blocks/tackles, in order for him to operate from his wheelchair.
Then, this is what he creates!
John's work is an inspiration to us all, reminding us that we should never limit ourselves based on our own weaknesses. Instead, we should seek to foster and cultivate our strengths and passions in life. Bravo John!

Little Girl Signs Her School Holiday Concert for Her Deaf Parents


Five-year-old Claire Koch used sign language during her kindergarten Christmas concert to make sure her deaf parents wouldn't miss out. With her fingers and attitude, Claire sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, and more—and stole the show.




An Airline Answers Patrons Prayers

What happens when the Internet explodes with the joy of human kindness and Christmas spirit?

Westjet surprises customers with presents
Canadian airline WestJet delivered holiday cheer for 250 passengers on a flight to Calgary. The airline placed a digital Santa Claus at an airport, and asked passengers what they wanted for Christmas. While the customers were in the air, 175 Westjet workers at the destination sprinted to nearby stores and bought everything, from socks to a big-screen TV. As sleepy passengers went to baggage claim for their belongings, out came all of the presents.





How Everyone in This One Small Town Became Millionaires Overnight

town of gold coinsExcept for one unlucky resident, everyone in this debt-ridden farming community became incredibly wealthy when their lottery numbers were called. But here's what they really won.
Dan Saelinger for Reader’s Digest
The Farming village of Sodeto sits perched atop a dusty outcropping of land in northeastern Spain. It’s barely a dot on the map—consisting of about 240 people. Identical stone houses and barns sit in rows, and automobiles caked with mud line the grassy town square. There are no overt signs of wealth, but if you peek through any of the kitchen windows, you’ll see something odd: enormous flat-screen TVs and sleek marble countertops so freshly installed, they’d look more appropriate in a display condo.
At Bar Cañamoto, the town’s sole drinking establishment, you’ll usually find a half dozen residents drinking botellitas of Estrella beer after a long day of laboring in the fields. But unlike the locals in other towns, these farmers and truck drivers pay for their one-euro beers with 50-euro bills, and the mood is always jovial, like they haven’t a worry in the world. “People are happier now,” explains Pedro, a 33-year-old long-distance truck driver, as he breaks into a smile.
On December 22, 2011, at 9:57 a.m., the entire population of Sodeto became winners of the biggest lottery in the world. La Lotería de Navidad, or El Gordo (“The Fat One”), as it is known, dishes out as much as two billion euros every year in prize money, and in 2011, everyone in Sodeto held a portion of the winning number. As El Gordo was announced on television, Sodeto’s residents streamed out of their homes and into the square, embracing and shrieking in disbelief. “I had four tickets. How many did you have?” “I had seven!” “I had 12!”
Tears and champagne flowed as the realization set in that every single person in Sodeto had won a share of the largest amount of prize money, worth a combined 720 million euros. (Everyone, that is, except for one resident, but more about him later.)

man wheeling coinDan Saelinger for Reader’s Digest
Spain’s lottery works differently from those in the United States. In 2011, there were 1,800 tickets with the first-prize winning number, 58268. Because buying a ticket can be prohibitively expensive for most people, local organizations buy tickets and divide them into less costly participaciones. In 2011, the Housewives’ Association of Sodeto had sold 1,200 participaciones to people who lived in town. Each winning participación was worth 100,000 euros.
Exactly who won how much is a secret. Suffice it to say, every single family in Sodeto had at least one winning participación, and some had bought enough to make them millionaires.
In an instant, Sodeto had become the subject of an unintentional social experiment: What happens when an entire debt-ridden farming community suddenly becomes incredibly wealthy? The press arrived quickly. Salespeople swarmed the town, flooding residents with offers of sports cars, diamonds, and exotic vacations. Bankers hawked various investments. Garbage bins that rarely needed emptying suddenly overflowed with flyers.
“Oh, it’s gotten better,” admits Herminia Gayán. Her family had four participaciones, so they won 400,000 euros. The 78-year-old grandmother sits at her long kitchen table in a floral smock and slippers stirring aioli for the dinner she’ll later serve to her family. Chicken sizzles in the oven, and wood crackles in the huge fireplace that dominates the front room of every house in Sodeto.
Gayán was one of the original settlers here. Sodeto was created in 1950, one of more than 200 planned communities created by former dictator Francisco Franco across the Spanish countryside to populate under-farmed areas. Gayán and her now-deceased husband were given a house, a barn, some land, and a few farm animals.
For the first four years, there were only seven families, working the land and fending for themselves. Eventually, more than 65 families settled in the town. “We had 14 cows in the backyard,” says Gayán proudly. Her blue-eyed son, a 54-year-old farmer named José and the town’s official pig slaughterer, chimes in when the lottery is mentioned. “You didn’t have anything before, and in this moment, you have everything,” he says, lighting a cigarette. The mother and son happily relive those first moments after learning about the victory but then grow serious. “As the hours go by, you calm down,” says José, blowing smoke into the roaring fireplace. “The people didn’t go crazy. They didn’t buy and spend.”
In fact, in the months after the win, there was no change at all, he says. But come April, the streets were filled with trucks and construction companies performing renovations on virtually every house in town. But beyond that, it’s hard to identify any major change in the sleepy village. Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that nobody has stopped working—as farmers, truck drivers, and housewives.
As we talk, family and friends stream in and out. Perhaps it’s because 
Sodeto was a deliberately planned community, but there’s a familial sense of camaraderie and togetherness that is stronger here than in other Spanish towns. Yet after the lottery win, more often than not, it was a reporter and not a friend who wandered in, and one always armed with the same question: “Why didn’t you take the money and leave?” Gayán finds the inquiry perplexing. “Where would I go?” she asks with a shrug. “I won with all these people.”
Well, almost all of them. A converted barn owned by Costis Mitsotakis sits on a hill a mere two-minute drive from Sodeto’s center, a distance he says that may have cost him a winning ticket in El Gordo. The Greek documentary filmmaker moved here eight years ago to pursue a relationship with a resident, but it didn’t work out. He says that members of the Housewives’ Association never knocked on his door. “It took me a couple of days to discover I was the only one who had missed out,” he says. And yet in some ways, even Mitsotakis is a winner.
On the morning of December 22, he was in the village square with his video camera, capturing the jubilant celebrations. Those incredible shots are included in Cuando Tocó (“When Touched”), a documentary Mitsotakis made about Sodeto and El Gordo. His original intention was to document how the lottery would change the town, but his focus quickly shifted to why the town didn’t change more.
“Everyone had his or her feet on the ground after the lottery,” says Rosa Pons Serena. At 54, Serena has been mayor of Sodeto for 14 years, and she knows the town’s short history well.
“What we won was peace of mind,” she says. We’re walking through the town’s small visitors’ center, and she stops in front of a diorama of the hills and fields that surround Sodeto.
“Instead of the old irrigation system”—Serena points to miniature canals that snake through much of the diorama—“we’re modernizing.” She gestures to another part of the diorama, where fields are dotted with evenly spaced automated sprinklers. Nearly everyone in the town had invested heavily in these new systems, and many people were in debt. She explains that with an economic base in animals and agriculture, everything depends on the land—and sometimes it can be unkind. “When they played the lottery, many couldn’t plant, because there was a drought,” says Serena.
During that time, talk in the bar was tense, Serena recalls. The question patrons asked was always “How will I pay?” If conversation wasn’t about the irrigation systems and the drought, it would turn to the economic crisis in Spain or the fact that one by one, the youth of Sodeto were leaving to search for work in the nearby city of Huesca. “And then, in one second, all the mortgages disappeared,” says Serena.
No one took his or her winnings and split. In fact, three of the town’s young people actually returned to buy land and build houses. In a nearly deserted area of an economically depressed country, those suddenly blessed with the freedom to do anything simply chose to stay put.
For Serena, it’s not a mystery. “This morning, my neighbor called me to come have a coffee, and I went in my housecoat,” explains the mayor. “These little things give us our quality of life.”
And of course, there’s another question that these lucky residents have been compelled to consider: Why did the lottery land here, in Sodeto? The answer is usually a smile and a shrug. Serena is one of the few who are willing to give the windfall meaning: “It was a prize for those who stayed.” For Serena, Gayán, and their beloved neighbors, it’s simple: There’s nowhere else they’d rather be.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

# 1 Unexpectedly Awesome Reason To Be Proud Of Your Home State

We know, we know -- your state is the best. Whether you hail from somewhere with the most exquisite coastline, the hippest art scene or the most sublime mountain range in the nation, we bet you've found at least one reason to be seriously proud of your home state. We did you a solid and found one more:
Alabama, you helped put the first man on the moon.
Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center, also called "the Rocket City," has played a vital role in the U.S. Space program since its beginnings. The Marshall Center developed the Saturn V rocket that sent America to the moon and spearheaded high-priority projects like The Hubble Space Telescope. The photo above depicts the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which was part of a series of Spacelab missions managed in Huntsville, Ala.
Image: NASA
Alaska, you have more bald eagle neighbors than anyone else in the world.
bald eagle
Indeed, the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve is possibly the most patriotic landscape in the nation. The 48,000-acre sanctuary hosts some 3,000 bald eagles who gather between the months of October and February to enjoy the season's late salmon supply. It was established to protect Alaska's bald eagle population, and now boasts the largest concentration of the regal birds in the world.
Arizona, you pioneered the McDonald's drive-thru.
mcdonalds drive thru
The first drive-thru McDonalds opened in Sierra Vista in 1975. The drive-thru was established to accommodate off-duty soldiers from a nearby military base, as they were not allowed to leave their vehicles to enter a restaurant while wearing their uniforms. Of course, McDonald's would quickly discover that plenty of civilians also appreciate the convenience of a drive-thru.
Arkansas, you're basically coated in cheese dip.
cheese dip
In Arkansas, cheese dip is more than just an accessory to tortilla chips. While the rest of the world generally associates the dip with Mexican food, Arkansas restaurants offer the dip everywhere, from burger joints to cafes. One Arkansas lawyer and filmmaker, Nick Rogers, made a documentary, "In Queso Fever," tracking the history of cheese dip to an Arkansas restaurant called Little Mexico, circa 1935. Of course, some Texans would contest that claim. Regardless of its true origin, there's no doubt that Arkansas has turned cheese dip into a point of pride -- and into a global competition, with its World Cheese Dip Championship.
California, without you, we may have never gotten the "all-you-can-eat" Chinese buffet.
chinese buffet
Norman Asing opened an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in San Francisco in 1849, which is believed to be the first Chinese restaurant in the U.S. Asing's restaurant, Macao and Woosung, offered an unlimited platter of deliciousness for the price of $1. That's the equivalent of about a $30 buffet nowadays. Eventually, this type of restaurant would spread deliciousness across the nation.
Colorado, you've got the most badass nature preserve in the country.

Just north of Denver, in Keenesburg, you'll find the The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Conservation Center, which calls itself the country's oldest wildlife sanctuary exclusively dedicated to carnivorous animals. Founded in 1980, the spacious wildlife preserve was created specifically to "prevent and alleviate cruelty to animals which are abandoned or that are subject to deprivation or neglect by providing care and boarding for such animals." The preserve has been a safe home to an enormous range of enormous (and some smaller) animals, like lions and wolves and emus. It currently accommodates over 290 carnivorous "residents."
Connecticut, Disney World has nothing on your super special amusement park.
Bristol is home to any thrill-seeking history buff's dream destination. We're talking, of course, of Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operating amusement park in the United States! Lake Compounce opened in 1846 as merely a humble "picnic park" with a gazebo, a few rides and a public swimming pool. Today, the 332 acre-wide amusement park boasts 44 rides, a beach and a water park. How's that for progress?
Image: Wikicommons
Delaware, you were once home to the world's tallest Lego tower.
The whole deal
This remarkable, architectural feat was made possible by over 500,000 Lego bricks and Delaware's truly dedicated Red Clay Consolidated School District. The tower earned the Guinness World Record in late 2013 for the "Tallest Structure Built with Interlocking Plastic Bricks." The impressive testament to Delaware's industrious youth stood at nearly 113-feet, or 11-stories tall, before being deconstructed.
Florida, you gave the world the gift of air conditioning.
air conditioner
It's not surprising to learn that the sweltering heat of the Sunshine State inspired one inventor to create the first-ever "comfort cooling" machine, the legendary precursor to the air conditioner. Indeed, Dr. John Gorrie of Appalachicola was convinced he could help bring down his patients' raging fevers if only he could cool down their hospital rooms. And so, as early as 1842, he constructed and operated the first refrigerating machine for "comfort cooling." This first "air-conditioning" machine eased the oppressive heat by blowing air over buckets of ice. Today, hot climate dwellers everywhere owe him their thanks -– perhaps none more so than his fellow Floridians.
Image: Shutterstock/Charnistr
Georgia, you gave us the greatest toy of the '80s.
cabbage patch kids
The Cabbage Patch Kid was the brainchild of 21-year-old art student Xavier Roberts of Georgia, who was inspired by the German craft of needle molding, a kind of fabric sculpture. Little did he know that his dolls, originally billed as "Little People," would inspire one of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of the 1980s. According to the company, by the end of the decade, 65 million Cabbage Patch Kids had been sold. Today, Cleveland, Ga. is home to the Cabbage Patch Kid-themed Babyland General Hospital, where Cabbage Patch Kids continue to be "adopted."
Image: Associated Press
Hawaii, you built the best place in the world to get lost.
pineapple maze
The Pineapple Garden Maze, built at Hawaii's Dole Plantation, set the Guinness World Record for the "Largest Maze with a Permanent Hedge." Located in Wahiawa, the maze spans 3.15 acres and includes almost two and a half miles worth of paths. The maze opened in 1997 and was expanded in 2007.
Idaho, you helped bring a lifetime of entertainment straight into our living rooms.
TK gifs
Philo Farnsworth, the "Forgotten Father of Television," moved to a farm near Rigby, Idaho, when he was 13 years old. In 1927, Farnsworth conceived a model for a TV that reproduced images electronically on a screen, which he drew out in a diagram for his chemistry teacher.
Illinois, you raced cars before it was cool.
samesex family
The first American automobile race took place on Nov. 28, 1895. The contest, sponsored by the Chicago Times Herald, featured six contestants riding 54 miles from Chicago's Jackson Park to Evanston, Ill. and back. Of course, it was hardly as fast-paced as your NASCAR race of today: The winner clocked in at just over 10 hours, averaging a less-than-heart-pumping speed of 7.3 miles per hour.
Image: Library of Congress
Indiana, you took watching paint dry to a whole 'nother level.
ball of paint
Mike and Glenda Carmichael of Alexandria bill their roadside attraction as the "World's Largest Ball of Paint," which weighs in at over 4,000 pounds. Since 1977, the Carmichaels have covered a standard baseball in approximately 23,400 layers of paint. This super-sized ball of paint earned the couple a Guinness World Record in 2004 for the "Most Layers of Paint."
Image: Chanel Carmichael
Iowa, you gave us something better to jump on than our beds.
When he was just 16, Iowa native George Nissen created the first trampoline out of junkyard scraps in his parents' garage. Little did he know that this piece of canvas stretched over a rectangular steel frame would eventually bring countless of hours of joy to the world. The young gymnast continued to develop the invention while attending the University of Iowa, where he built the first successful version. While on tour with an acrobatic group in Mexico, he heard the Spanish word for diving board, el trampolin, and "the trampoline" as we know it today was born.
Kansas, you brought us the frozen delight of the ICEE.
Happy 7-11 day... Go chug a Slurpee
You’ll have to thank Omar Knedlik, one seriously creative Kansas Dairy Queen owner, for inventing this favorite iced soft drink in the late 1950s. Knedlik's Dairy Queen didn’t have a soda fountain, so he stored bottles of soda in his freezer. He began selling the soda bottles just after they'd first turned to ice, and customers loved the frozen delight. He spent five years developing and building the first ICEE machine. His legacy lives on today -- according to the ICEE company, some 500,000,000 of their beverages are sold every year. (And yes, Slurpees are ICEEs licensed out to 7-Eleven under a different name.)
Kentucky, you've kept the bourbon flowing all over the world.
barrel of whiskey
Indeed, the Bluegrass State manufactures nearly all of the bourbon on the planet. In 2012, the state's inventory grew to 4.9 million barrels of bourbon, all aging to perfection in Kentucky. With a state population of almost 4.4 million, Kentucky actually has more barrels of bourbon than it has people.
Louisiana, you just might be home to the next Hollywood.
Step aside, Los Angeles. Last year, Louisiana was the most popular location for U.S. film production, according to the 2013 Feature Film Production Society. The Society reported that 18 of the 108 major films of last year were filmed in Louisiana, while California and Canada tied for second with 15 films each. The Bayou State set the stage for some of 2013's major releases, like "Dallas Buyers Club."
Maine, you made the greatest whoopie pie the world has ever seen.
whoopie pie
Maine's official state treat is the whoopie pie, and their passion for the confection is inspiring. In 2011, the world's largest whoopie pie, shown above, was completed in South Portland. The cookie treat, also known as a "BFO," for "Big Fat Oreo," has never looked quite so gargantuan as on that day in Maine, weighing a record 1,062 pounds. There was also a big dose of heart behind the effort: Pieces of the whoopie pie were sold to raise money to send treats to soldiers serving abroad.
Image: Associated Press
Maryland, you gave us the most heavenly dessert at a down-to-earth price.
ice cream
Baltimore dairy farmer Jacob Fussell first started making ice cream as a way to utilize his summertime supply of excess milk. Eventually, he opened the first ice cream factory in Baltimore in 1851, thus establishing himself in dessert history books as the Father of Ice Cream. At the time, ice cream had been a pricey indulgence. Fussell was the first to mass-produce ice cream and sell it at prices that were affordable to average Americans.
Massachusetts, you satisfied the Cookie Monster inside all of us with chocolate chip cookies.
TK gifs
Ruth Wakefield changed American childhood forever when she baked the first chocolate chip cookie in the kitchen of her Toll House Restaurant in Whitman. Though it's rumored that the cookie was a happy accident, Wakefield claimed that the recipe was meticulously planned. The state thanked her for the groundbreaking confectionary invention in 1997 by declaring the chocolate chip cookie the Massachusetts state cookie.
Michigan, you make our coastline a whole lot brighter.
lighthouse michigan
Estimates vary as to the exact number of lighthouses still stationed across Michigan, though the U.S. Coast Guard tallies 90 of the luminous landmarks. They add a picturesque quality to the state's shore, which happens to be the longest freshwater coastline in the U.S. Just be careful if you visit one during winter!
Minnesota, you invented the hippest way to travel on foot.
Rollerblades first skated onto the footwear scene thanks to two hockey-loving brothers from Minnesota. In 1980, Scott and Brennan Olson remodeled a pair of old inline skates, replacing the blades with polyurethane rollers and attaching a rubber heel break. In doing so, they essentially reinvented travel for the '90s kid. They started Rollerblade Inc. out of their parents' basement and the design quickly swept the nation.
Mississippi, you brought root beer to the next level.
root beer
Edward Barq Sr., founder of Barq's Root Beer, moved to the beachside town of Biloxi and opened Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works. There, in 1898, he bottled and sold his first root beer. The Barq family maintained ownership of Barq's Root Beer for almost 80 years before selling it in 1976. Though the company's new owners moved the Barq's headquarters to New Orleans, La., Billoxi continues to commemorate its special place in soda pop history.
Missouri, you helped us say "I love you," "Happy birthday," and everything in between.
hallmark card
Hallmark was founded in Kansas City, Mo. by Joyce Clyde Hall. Inspired by the popularity of postcards in the early 20th century, Hall moved to Kansas City with two boxes of postcards and one bold dream. Though he lacked a formal education, he was a shrewd businessman, and he built an enduring legacy in the greeting card industry. Today, Hallmark boasts a nearly $4 billion business.
Image: Associated Press
Montana, the largest snowflake ever recorded fell on you.
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Montanans can celebrate the fact that snowflakes practically the size of those paper ones you made as a kid actually fell upon their home state. In January 1887, in Fort Keogh, a 15-inch snowflake was recorded, with one rancher saying the snowflakes that day were "larger than milk pans."
Nebraska, you gave the world the sugary refreshment of Kool-Aid.
Cornhusker Edwin E. Perkins invented Kool-Aid in 1927. Due to the immense love of the drink, a Kool-Aid Days Festival is now held in his hometown of Hastings. The Nebraska government named Kool-Aid the state's official "soft drink" in 1998.
Nevada, you're to thank for our favorite pairs of pants.
In 1873, Nevadan tailor Jacob Davis successfully partnered with Levi Strauss to receive a patent for riveted pants that would end up being called the blue jean. According to the Reno-Gazette Journal, the first contemporary jeans were made to accommodate the rigors of chopping wood.
Image: Levi's
New Hampshire, you introduced us to the Segway.
Although the Segway has yet to prove itself as a world-changer, the delightfully dorky mode of transportation should still be a point of pride for New Hampshirites. New Hampshire inventor Dean Kamen came up with the Segway, which is still one of the most recognizable inventions of the 21st century. It's too bad its progress seems to be stuck in arrested development.
New Jersey, you made parties glitter (but unfortunately provided no way to clean it up).
Henry Ruschmann of Bernardsville invented contemporary glitter in 1934. American partying was never the same. The company still exists today, with the slogan, "Our glitter covers the world."
New Mexico, you have a whole town devoted to pie, which proves the rest of us are doing something wrong.
New Mexicans have a whole town devoted to pie! For some unknown reason, Pie Town isn't the capital of the state, but it is supposedly as delicious as it sounds. The pie-conomy of the town was established in the 1920s and this U.S. Route 60 stop is still home to pie masters like the Pie-O-Neer and Good Pie Cafe.
Image: WikiCommons
New York, your "Nippletop Mountain" reminds us that we're still just 10-year-olds at heart.
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Nippletop Mountain is located in the Adirondacks and has an elevation of 4,620 feet. Apparently, Nippletop is known for being particularly wet, so if you plan on hiking to the tip, make sure to dress appropriately. If you do manage to summit Nippletop, we recommend you take a moment after and purchase this patch for only $6.
Image: DeviantArt user Sassy-She-Devil
North Carolina, you combined eating donuts and running into a competitive event.
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Pretty jealous of Tar Heelers for this one. The rules of the Krispy Kreme Challenge are straightforward in their awesomeness: "2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour." Invented by a group of students at North Carolina State University in 2004 as a dare, the challenge now attracts thousands of racers every year. Before you get too worried about celebrating a huge brand, know that proceeds go to charity. And for what it's worth, Krispy Kreme (which was founded in North Carolina) does make a tasty doughnut.
Image: Krispy Kreme Challenge
North Dakota, you taught us how to make the most out of bath time with bubbles.
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North Dakotans can get so fresh and so clean. Although the exact origins of who invented the contemporary bubble bath are as murky as soapy water, the most popular bubble bath mix, Mr. Bubble, came straight out of North Dakota. In 2011, Mr. Bubble Day was even declared a state holiday.
Ohio, you literally molded our childhoods.

In 1965, Cincinnati resident Noah McVicker and his nephew, Joe, successfully received a patent for the "soft, pliable plastic modeling composition" we all know as Play-Doh. Originally the modeling product was intended to be used as a wallpaper cleaner, but, unlike the colorful clay, that never stuck. Maybe they should have called it Play-Dohio! (Or not.)
Oklahoma, you gave watermelon the respect it deserves.
In 2007, Oklahoma decided watermelon was going to be its official state vegetable. The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Don Barrington, explained that watermelon is, of course, a fruit, "but it's also a vegetable because it's a member of the cucumber family." They are both a part of the Cucurbitaceae family.
Oregon, you've got the most lucky charms "west of Ireland."
In what might be the most Portland thing ever, the city boasts the world's "smallest park" which is also home to the only "leprechaun colony west of Ireland." Mills End Park became officially recognized as a city park on St. Patrick's Day in 1976, but had been created by writer Dick Fagan back in 1948. Fagan was a journalist for the Oregon Journal, and after planting flowers in an abandoned hole intended for a light post outside of his office, he began writing about the travails of a small leprechaun colony in the park, headed by a leader named Patrick O'Toole. Nowadays the park is regularly decorated to make things nicer for the leprechauns, although the park was "occupied" in 2011 by toy soldiers.
Image: WikiCommons
Pennsylvania, you blew our minds with bubble gum.
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In 1928, Walter Diemer invented the first commercially sold bubble gum while working at the Philadelphia-based Fleer Chewing Gum Company. According to Diemer, the gum got its iconic color because "pink food coloring was the only thing I had on hand."
Rhode Island, you're doing something very right by drinking coffee milk.
Rhode Islanders are lucky enough to get regularly treated to coffee milk, which became the state drink in 1993. Why this drink hasn't taken off around the rest of the country is certainly a mystery, as you'd think coffee-obsessed Americans would go crazy over this godly nectar. For now, Rhode Islanders can be proud of their Autocrat coffee syrup, a key ingredient in coffee milk, and laugh at the rest of the country for being so naive.
Image: WikiCommons
South Carolina, you've got your very own dance.
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Popularized in 1923 by a song called "The Charleston," the dance with the same name took off throughout the '20s across the states. The flappers, who totally "demoralized" the country, raised Charleston's global profile, and no other dance as popular has been named after a U.S. city since.
Image: Library of Congress
South Dakota, your pheasant is the largest in the world.
Rising 28 feet and weighing 22 tons, the world's largest pheasant towers over the town of Huron. According to legend, an extremely large pheasant also towered over the early South Dakotan settlers, leaving footprints that formed creeks and river valleys, but today this bird is rooted pretty firmly to its perch off Highway 14.
Image: Huron
Tennessee, you forever ruined our teeth with cotton candy.
Contemporary cotton candy was invented in 1897 by a dentist and candy maker out of Nashville. The sugary substance was originally called "fairy floss."
Texas, you made kids' birthday parties cool with laser tag.
Created by inventor George Carter, the "Photon" gaming center became the first laser tag center in the world when it opened in 1984. It began a craze that still continues today. Around the same time, another laser tag-like facility was founded in Texas called Star Laser Force, but the Laser Tag Museum has confirmed with the founders and a Certificate of Occupancy that Photon came first. Star Laser Force did up end selling its technology to a toy company, however, and therefore was the first to get involved in the "home laser tag" market. Regardless, laser tag is a product of Texas.
Image: George Carter Inventions (photo of New Jersey location)
Utah, you extended your state pride into the night sky.
beehive cluster
The Beehive Cluster is the astronomical symbol of Utahns. It's a bright cluster that's located near the middle of the Cancer constellation. Utah is super buzzy: The state insect is the honey bee and the state emblem is the beehive.
Vermont, muggles thank you for bringing them real-life Quidditch.
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The "Harry Potter" series may have been set across the pond, but the world can thank Vermonters for the real-life World Cup of Quidditch. Students from Middlebury College created a muggle-version of the fantastical sport that now even has its own official sports association, the International Quidditch Association. For years, the World Cup would take place in Vermont, but the 16th annual tournament is taking place in Myrtle Beach, S.C..
One of the Middlebury Quidditch founders and now current commissioner of the IQA, Alex Benepe, gave HuffPost this great explanation of how the idea came about:
We had an exceptionally athletic and creative student body, and we wanted to create a new sport - so why not try making quidditch real? Harry Potter is like the Star Wars of our generation, a global cultural access point. With a few adjustments to the rules, including a human snitch, and throwing in some dodgeballs and brooms, we had a real game with a literary background, that was fully embraced by the local community. It was only a matter of time before it exploded to include official club sport teams at hundreds of college campuses.
Image: Middlebury
Virginia, you both blessed and cursed the country with frat life.
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Virginians are so frat. The first fraternity in the U.S. was founded by five students at the College of William & Mary in 1776 and was named Phi Beta Kappa.
Washington, you have real-life superheroes protecting one of your cities.
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Phoenix Jones leads a real-life superhero team called the Rain City Superhero Movement, which is comprised of costumed "former MMA fighters, police, medical professionals, ex-military, active military and professional camera men." The costumes aren't just for show -- in fact Jones wears a $10,000 masterpiece made of bulletproof kevlar. Besides fighting crime, Jones and his wife, "Purple Reign," give anti-bullying talks at local schools and raise awareness for other anti-abuse campaigns.
Image: Facebook user Phoenix Jones
West Virginia, you are the birthplace of Mother's Day.
West Virginians know how to appreciate their mothers. In 1912, they became the first state to designate the Mother's Day holiday, with the rest of the country quickly following. Unfortunately, the creation of the holiday wasn't entirely joyful, as the original advocate for the occasion ended up becoming extremely distraught that Mother's Day morphed into something so commercial.
Wisconsin, you host an annual cow chip competition, and therefore don't give a shit.
Cheeseheads know how to deal with crap. The annual Cow Chip Festival in Sauk Prairie (Prairie du Sac) challenges participants to throw cow excrement as far as they can. In 2013, the farthest cow chip throw measured 169.6 feet. According to the Cow Chip Festival's website, the Wisconsin State Legislature declared the "cow chip" to be the unofficial state muffin in 1989. Yum.
Image: Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw
Wyoming, even your tiniest towns have their own natural landmarks.
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Wyoming has some small towns. Both Lost Springs and PhinDeli Town Buford have single digit populations, but the latter has something extra special. Seemingly by magic (well, it's not exactly magic), a tree is growing out of a rock in the small town, which has a population of one, plus the tree.

Image: Flickr user Kent Kanouse