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Most Awesome State Quarter – Keanu Regional Round 1

January 30th, 2008 by Bill Corbett · 32 Comments

Hey hey hey, fan(s?) of U.S. state quarters! Corbett here, ready to guest-judge the next bunch of jingly little contenders. NOTE: My decisions are final, and any questions or appeals will be met with immediate death by disembowelment for I AM CALIGULA OF THE BLOGS!

…Wow, I really do have trouble handling power. Give me a second, gotta breathe into this brown paper bag.


Ah! I’m back, full of healthy, delusion-shattering oxygen and ready to continue on this Road to the Most Awesome state Quarter. Today is Round 1 of the Keanu Regional. (Need to catch up? Click here.)


“Dude, Rifftrax totally named a quarter after me!…or something.”

Keanu regional round 1

And away we go…

alaska vs maryland

This one’s a cinch, because it falls under my first rule of state quarter judging: I will always vote for the state quarter with the large attacking animal on it. Alaska’s bear is already snacking on a 10-lb. salmon, but he wants to eat us, too. The only drawback is that he’s not trying to chomp on Sir Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, which would make for a more realistic nature scene.

As for Maryland… it’s nice that you have a building. Somewhere. And “the Old Line State?” Could you at least be a three-dimensional geometric figure? It’s hard to be less committal than a “line,” except as it pertains to a unit of cocaine blowage, perhaps. But I don’t think that’s what your line refers to. I think it’s actually just a quick streak of # 2 pencil on looseleaf, isn’t it? That’s what you named your state after. Didn’t you?!

(Aw cripes, Maryland’s crying. Sorry.)

WINNER: Alaska. Seward’s revenge!!

arkansas vs mississippi

There’s an upsetting lack of large attacking mammals in both of these state quarters, so I’m tempted to penalize them both and just call this one a lose-lose. On closer inspection, though…

Arkansas is freaking me out, man. Is the giant floating diamond really there? IS it a giant diamond, or is it the crystalline mothership of a Razorbacks-loving alien race, hiding and hovering over Lake Sequoyah until today’s game against the Crimson Tide starts? Is it wrong that I keep singing to myself “Goosey in the Sky with Diamonds…”? Yes, of course it is, it’s a godawful *$%&#ing pun…But it feels so right…! Wheeeeeeee!

Erm…right. Hi, Mississippi. You have a lovely flower, there. And a lovely slogan, named after the (yawn) same lovely flower. But your whole brand isn’t challenging my sense of reality nearly enough, Mississippi. I don’t drink or do drugs anymore, so I need little mind-kicking pleasures like those offered by the Arkansas state quarter. Yes, Arkansas is freaking me out, man….but in a good way.

WINNER: Arkansas. For letting its freak flag fly.

iowa vs new jersey

Pretty straightforward. We have “George Washington crossing the Delaware” for New Jersey vs. Iowa’s pathetic plea to be given some wood. Dear God, have they no decency? No trees, for that matter? Sack up, Iowa, get your own damned lumber, and design a quarter that’s does more than beg for building materials. I know you’re trying to tug at our heartstrings by showing the tiny building where most of you live, but –

O.K. My wife tells me that Iowa’s picture is actually a tribute to one of its native sons, artist Grant Wood, who painted “American Gothic” and other classics. I guess I owe Iowa an apology.

…But not a victory! N.J. edges ahead at the finish line because it depicts a truly historical event: the only time anyone risked their lives to get into New Jersey.

WINNER: New Jersey. For not depicting the birthplace of Bon Jovi.

arizona vs Rhode Island

Both of these quarters could benefit from some of Alaska’s moxie, and include a charging beast of some sort… But I’ll try to let that go. (Sigh.)

These two coins force a humble, well-meaning judge to choose between different topographies more than anything else. And since I loved visiting the Grand Canyon — it was one of those rare things that surpass its hype — and I always pine for the ocean, across which my people in the Undying Lands (a.k.a. Brooklyn) wait for me… hell, I don’t know where to go with this. If only some smart denizen of Flagstaff, or some slick operator from Woonsocket, had found it in their hearts to bribe me yesterday…

WINNER: Um, Arizona. For reminding us that we revolve around the sun. Rhode Island’s wholesale denial that the sun exists is legendary, and shouldn’t be rewarded.

michigan vs idaho

Ah, that’s more like it! The gargantuan Peregrine Falcon is about to swallow Idaho, potatoes and all. It’s beautiful, it’s gritty, it’s honest and real, man… and it’s everything a state quarter should be. Even if the Peregrine Falcon had Sir Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin hanging out of its huge beak, half-eaten already, I don’t know if I could love it more. (Though that would be awesome.)

I have nothing but contempt for Michigan’s LIE of a quarter, acting as if the state could never be hunted down by a moon-sized raptor, seized up in its brobdingnagian talons, and rended to pieces within a matter of seconds. This state quarter says: “Giant falcons cannot harm us here in Michigan! I guarantee it.” That’s a damned careless attitude in this day and age, Wolverine State. It’s not bad enough that you’ve always pretended that the U.P. is safe and habitable for humans, now you want to go even further spreading your cloud-cuckoo LIES and assert invulnerability to colossal birds of prey. Shame on you, Michigan.

WINNER: Idaho. For telling the unflinching truth about impossibly big raptors.


CONGRATULATIONS to Alaska, Arkansas, New Jersey, Arizona, and Idaho. You have bested your opponents, and now move on to fight mightier two-bit gladiators.

[NOTE: Conor will update later with cool-looking updated Keanu bracket. I'm emotionally exhausted from this competition, and need to soak my head in brine.]

Keanu regional round 1

Tags: RiffTrax · bracketology · currency · state quarters

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Patrick on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Keanu is very touched by your chosen appellation. He’s been quite sick recently and hopefully this will help him recover:

    Oh, and you are welcome in advance for clicking on it. If you have already clicked on it….I am sorry.

  • 2 Alicia on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    I must ask. How much did the Jersey Mafia pay for their win? And more imporantly… what could Idaho have offered??

  • 3 Bill Corbett on Jan 30, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    The Jersey “families” generously offered me the continued use of my kneecaps.

    As for Idaho — no worries, it won! …Fair and square, if you overlook the Potatoes for Life gift they gave me for my various services to various non-registered charities.

  • 4 Kei on Jan 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Not really fair to any of the states up against Idaho and Alaska. Especially poor Line State there.

    I even did a little research to see if anything could’ve toughened up Maryland’s coin. Among many things, Maryland’s state symbols include milk, square dancing, and a fern-eating dinosaur with stars in its teeth.

    Well. I gave it a shot. There, there, Maryland. Oh, don’t give me that face.

  • 5 Mr. Slick on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:54 am

    I believe Keanu’s band Dog Star will be releasing a singe about your choice Bill, I’m sorry.

  • 6 Dave-o on Jan 31, 2008 at 1:42 am

    so Bill, Arkansas won (i believe i owe you from your previous blog) I can only say i think the diamond has to do with murphreesburo having the only diamond mine in the US and that duck is about Stuttgart where none other that “OH #@*%#! YOU SHOT ME IN THE FACE! Dick Cheney” comes to hunt duck. It is quite a surreal picture for our states quarter though. One go as far to ask “David, why, if Arkansas is the Natural State, would your quarter look like one of Salvador Dali’s nightmares?” all i can do is shake my head, shrug my shoulders and say “well at least they didnt put sasquach on it” maybe its because of all the moonshine…maybe its because of the lsd that leaked into the AR river during the cold war. I just couldnt say

  • 7 AmandaGal on Jan 31, 2008 at 2:46 am

    YES!! My state quarter freaks you out in a good way and you picked the giant raptor quarter. Two of my favorite things were both honored here by the win.

    And yes, we do let our freak flag fly in Arkansas, thank you very much.

  • 8 AmandaGal on Jan 31, 2008 at 2:51 am

    It’s because we’re all crazy freaks. There’s rice in the quarter for us growing rice. I think we tried to throw in every single “natural” thing we could possibly be famous for. ..except the Boggy Creek Monster.

    It was the result of a statewide design contest (I’m not sure if all state quarters are). This won out of about 10,000 submitted designs. Although, the mint changed it a bit (maybe they are the ones that are on LSD).

    I am just surprised it’s not a giant pig.

  • 9 GregMcduck on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:30 am

    As a former Idahoian, I know that they don’t have much, but what they got, they got the best of. And they have giant mutant birds.

  • 10 MStrange on Jan 31, 2008 at 6:49 am

    There’s another reason Rhode Island should lose: claiming to be “The Ocean State”??? When put up against Arizona’s “Grand Canyon State” it clearly reveals RI’s intense case of “small state syndrome.”
    Smallest state in the union claims the largest natural landmark, and then purports to build a bridge over it. Or does the bridge just allow people in Connecticut and Massachussetts avoid setting foot in Rhode Island?
    Either way, go away and stop annoying us.

  • 11 waffen on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:02 am

    I think the Alaska quarter should have the grizzly bear mauling that “Grizzly man” goof instead of some luckless salmon. The state motto should be “See Alaska and die!”

  • 12 Bill Corbett on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:20 am

    AmandaGal, many thanks to you and your fellow Arkansans for helping me open the doors of perception. Timothy Leary is a wimp compared to you-all.

    Between this and BOGGY CREEK, Arkansas seems like an alternate universe. (Not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily…)

  • 13 Bill Corbett on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Very good point. Rhode Island’s got a real pair of stones, taking credit for nearly three-quarters of Earth’s surface.

  • 14 Yanni on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Good call on Michigan! I can’t believe they hogged up all the great lakes onto their quarter, like its all part of their state!

  • 15 Veronica on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Ah Iowa -

    My grandmother was born in the barn/school on that quarter.

    Or, one of the thousands that look just like it.

    Was Massachusetts ever in there? Because I can understand why you’d skip it, you can almost assume it’ll just say “Yankees Suck” in bold font.

  • 16 Bill Corbett on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:54 am

    “Was Massachusetts ever in there?”

    I think MA. is part of the “Swayze” bracket, Veronica. Kevin’s judging that, and posting later today.

    “Because I can understand why you’d skip it, you can almost assume it’ll just say “Yankees Suck” in bold font.”

    Hee hee. That would actually endear me to it.

  • 17 Veronica on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Ha, it’s not a bad place, historical, freezing, bizare accents…

    I think if Massachusetts got in a rumble with Jersey, it’d end up a tie with both states mumbling “Yoa wicked done… *keff*” “Yous a freakin’ liah”…

  • 18 Bill Corbett on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I lived in Boston for a little while after college, close to B.U. (Allston area?). Under a year there, but wicked fun.

  • 19 wurwolf on Jan 31, 2008 at 8:42 am

    My goodness, Bill, you are quite the man about town, aren’t you? Where haven’t you lived?

  • 20 Octavius on Jan 31, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Congratulations Mr. C on giving no quarter while judging the…oh dear, that pun was so bad it ended the sentence.

    It’s a shame the Presidential dollars are mere portraits with nothing similar to state quarters’ ingenuity.

    I would gladly give up the convenience of $1
    bills in order to spend the four current coins
    (Washington through Madison) if only they had
    something such as:
    “Washington defeated at Fort Necessity”
    “Adams signing the Alien and Sedition Act”
    “Jefferson bit in the rear by the Embargo Turtle”
    [Hasn't everyone seen that political cartoon?]
    and of course,
    “Happy Madison and Dolly Parton running away from a burning Capitol”

    In the meantime, I can always look forward to your judgment of the upcoming “gerrymandered voting district half dollar” designs…a festival of abstract art!

  • 21 Kei on Jan 31, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Ahem. All the more reason, Bill, for the riffing crew to come to Boston. Show us some love.

  • 22 Natalie on Jan 31, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Well done, Mr. Corbin. I love it.

    And I actually gasped aloud at work when I scrolled down to find the Peregrine upon Idaho. Holy cow.

  • 23 Veronica on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Allston! Very rad, we love it there. We should try to get Coolidge Corner to invite the Riffers out to BeanTown :)

  • 24 Alicia on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    It could have been worse; they could have put white supremacists and cross-dressers on their coin.

    And congratulations on your escape.

  • 25 Dover on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I’m so glad Idaho won, I think it might be the best (sorry alaska), and I actively dislike Idaho.

    If the final two are Idaho and Wyoming, I’ll be insurmountably torn.

  • 26 Tom on Feb 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Bill Corbett continues to piss me off with almost every word he utters. What the hell does he have against Michigan. I’m sick and tired of constant Michigan bashing. We’re the freaking wolverine state after all. Give me a few dozen normal sized wolverines and I bet we could beat a moon-sized falcon. We’d at least muss him up a little. Wolverines just recently beat an overflowing bowl of rabid gators. And who really beat the 300 Spartans? Wolverines, that’s who!

    Idaho? IDAHO! You have got to be kidding me. Do they even have a lake? We’ve got a whole bunch of great lakes. Not just good…GREAT! I’ve seen ‘em. GREAT I tell you!

    IDAHO! The hell. A bunch of tuber munchin’ yokels.

    Any way. This is a pretty funny thread. Keep up the good work Bill.

  • 27 Bill Corbett on Feb 3, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Wolverines are pretty amazing, when you think about it. The little buggers have developed retractable adamantium claws by sheer will.

    Apologies to all Michiganites, Tom. (Michiganians? Michigoons?)

  • 28 Tom on Feb 3, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Embarrassingly enough the correct term is Michiganders. So much for my delusions of toughness.

  • 29 QuackersnCheese on Feb 5, 2008 at 7:58 am

    YAY!!!!! My crappy state won though my family is originally from Mississippi so either way I would have one LOL.

  • 30 Dan Noutko-Kennedy on Feb 7, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Hey Bill,
    I’d like to set the record straight on Michigan’s abysmal performance in the first round of the Quarter Cointest. Our lame entry was the Governor’s dickweed kid and not the best player. Admittedly, highlighting our state’s prowess in butting up against large bunches of water is impressive it clearly was not a winning strategy. Not to mention it isn’t quite sporting to take credit for glaciation or to claim a Great Lake that we haven’t sidled just so we can make a mnemonic device spell HOMES. There was a movement once to annex Lake Placid from New York rather than Lake Ontario but all the Curlytics in the state didn’t want our memory trigger to be SHEMP. We’ve had a large concentration of Curly fans in the thumb area ever since that famous radio contest in the ‘30’s when the town of Besser Junction, which straddles the beautiful Soitenly River, changed its name to Moelarrythecheeseville.
    Now the quarter that could have swept its way to victory, the one the public wanted, celebrated the state’s greatest contribution to the nation and the environment, the internal combustion engine, as well as its favorite son, Dr. Jack Kevorkian (aka Jack the Reaper), who can always be counted on to bring dignity to the final round. No stupid bird or tree or rock climbing hippie could compete with Dr. J’s Slam Dunk of Death. Dr. Jack’s van, tricked out with shag carpeted dash, a sweet 8 track unichannel sound system and portable suicide machine (pat. pending) looks amazing when engraved. You’ll just have to imagine how beautiful that kick ass mural on the side of the van de muertos is that has Hemingway and Kurt Cobain playing rock/paper/scissors to see who gets to ride shotgun. Too dark? How about Michigan Militiamen spilling like so many clowns out of a pop-up camper?
    Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Death.
    By the way, we refer to ourselves as Michigilligans because we call the U.P. “Little Buddy”.
    Dan Noutko-Kennedy
    Brighton, Michigan

  • 31 Bob Johnson on Feb 7, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Sorry to see us, ahem, Michiganders (hey, Lincoln coined it, and the goose thing was intentional–though it was derogatory) go down, but what a lazy concept: “In case you’ve never looked at a map before, here’s us. Plus a lake nowhere near us.”

    I’d prefer a Ford crashing into a bowl of Corn Flakes. Or maybe the “Wellville” tub scene with Bridget Fonda.

  • 32 Bob Johnson on Feb 7, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    And, um, maybe the slogan should’ve been “Yo, Ontario!” Hell, they ARE taking up more coin space than we are.