After a thrilling first round that put the ho-hum super bowl to shame, there is nowhere to go for the Most Awesome State Quarter competition but up! Expect great things from round 2, which due to the odd number of states in our union (let’s get 14 more added before we run this again, guys), features a whole bunch of quarters we haven’t even seen yet.
Dark horse Wisconsin pairs off against Washington, who received a first round bye. Seriously, this Wisconsin quarter…If the Wisconsin chamber of commerce thinks that this thing would not sell slapped on just about anything that can be worn or used ironically, I beg them to think again. T-shirts, temporary tattoos, boxers, shot glasses, signs instructing you which way to proceed through a given area…Make ‘em all! Washington’s state quarter contains no irony, but the design clearly indicates the daily fear that Washingtonians live with that another eruption of Mount St. Helen’s will awake a huge, fearsome Godzilla-fish from the depths of the Puget Sound that will proceed to flop and gasp all over their great state. The Washington Chamber of Commerce in turn should sell little stickers of lasers or flames that you could stick coming out of the fishes eyes or mouth.
Winner: Washington – Few things are more awesome than a huge, fearsome Godzilla-fish
Two entries that moved on from the first round despite their very apparent second tier status. Compared to other Pacific Northwest states that feature a body of water on their state quarter that we’ve seen *ahem* recently, Oregon’s seems positively boring. The Crater Lake is now seen for what it truly is – just another place for your hackey sack to get lost in. Kentucky’s quarter features a talking horse, (note the quotes.) A talking horse doesn’t make for a visually impressive quarter, but neither does a huge lake WITHOUT ANY GIANT MUTANT FISH LEAPING OUT OF IT.
Louisiana and its “We’re pretty much the 1/3 of the country” quarter goes up for the first time against one of the states it lays claim to, Kansas. Kansas counters with the immovable object, the bison, or “Land Water Buffalo.” Bison have enjoyed quite a bit of resurgence in the public eye lately, mainly due to the fact that you can now purchase and eat them at many fine establishments, and in my mind, this only adds to their allure. The bison is a huge animal that used to roam in enormous herds over vast regions of our entire country. Then we nearly wiped them out, but they’ve climbed back to the point where you can easily obtain them in either patty or jerky form. That truly is an American success story.
Winner: Kansas – All kidding aside, during my move out to California, every time we saw a Bison was one of the highlights of the trip. They’re awesome.
The Land of Lincoln vs the Land of Enchantment! Our 16th President doth bestride his narrow state like a colossus, and also he was in Bill and Ted. New Mexico has…a pattern! Bear with me for a second. Imagine that that pattern is removed from the New Mexico State Quarter. The quarter now bears a topographic outline of a mostly rectangular state next to the words “Land of Enchantment.” The enchantment is where exactly? When you add the pattern back in, does that represent enough enchantment on its own to atone for the lack of enchantment on the rest of the quarter? Don’t tell me you’re the Land of Enchantment and then offer up a bland quarter! (Note: Were the quarters available in color, New Mexico would be a huge favorite. They have my favorite state flag of all time, an exciting burst of color in a sea of blandness and uniformity. Here is a picture of me wearing it in a Las Vegas hotel room.)
Winner: Illinois – Lincoln wasn’t necessarily the most enchanting man himself, (especially up close), but wins out after New Mexico fails to deliver.