The RiffTrax Blog header image 1

Most Awesome State Quarter – Keanu Regional Round 2

February 12th, 2008 by Conor Lastowka · 31 Comments

The tide of State Quarter ranking rolls on! Catch up on all the previous rounds here!

Keanu regional round 1

delaware vs alaska

Due to an error at the mint, Delaware’s State Quarter only has the first three words of its motto printed. It is supposed to read “The First State to make up a historical figure to put on our quarter.” “Caesar Rodney”? Really? I’ll come right out and say that I remember a good deal of elementary and middle school history classes, have read My Brother Sam is Dead and half of Johnny Tremain and have also driven through Delaware at 85 miles and hour at least four dozen times, and I had never heard of this Caesar character until this quarter came out in 1999. The fact that this was the first quarter people had seen since 1976 that did not feature a big Eagle on the back of it made it all the more jarring when it was initially released. We all acknowledge that American currency is among the most boring in the world, but few of us were willing to accept that the way to jazz it up was to slap fictional characters on it. Caesar Rodney sounds like the made up name of a Jobber in the WWE, and going up against the Huge Bear Juggernaut of Alaska is the equivalent of a Jobber vs Hulk Hogan matchup.

Winner: Alaska - In the most lopsided match-up to date

arkansas vs minnesota

The battle between Arkansas and Minnesota resembles the scene in that movie where the character is forced to fight a copy of himself…What was that movie…Well, I can’t remember what movie that was in, probably dozens of them. I know it happens in “The Legend of Zelda” all the time. The point is, the quarters are virtually identical. Waterfowl, water upon which to fowl, scenic trees surrounding the water, which presumably provide some sort of respite from the water when the fowl so desires it…To differentiate the two, Minnesota’s has your standard state outline/motto combo, as well as some fishermen enjoying 1/10,000 of Minnesotas bounty of lakes, and Arkansas has the previously mentioned giant floating diamond. Rumor has it that sales of Land o’ Lakes butter soared after the Minnesota quarter came out, but ironically, only in Arkansas.

Winner: Arkansas – The touch of Surreal Bling makes Arkansas stand out in an otherwise evenly matched (and boring) contest

new jersey vs arizona

The glory of America’s natural resources go head to head with our tendency to kick some ass if necessary. New Jersey’s quarter is of course a representation of Emanuel Leutze’s painting of Washington crossing the Delaware into New Jersey, which is itself a tribute to this Gary Larson cartoon. Word is Washington had traveled into Delaware to try to track down Caesar Rodney, who owed him money, but he soon realized he was just some fake name that the Hessians made up, so he sailed back across the river to attack them. New Jersey unfortunately succumbs to the popular “Crossroads” meme that plagues 6% of all State Quarters, but it’s not as bad because A) they were the first ones to do it and B) it is much easier to pinpoint the crossroads of a revolution, aka the turning point, than it is “America” or “The West”. Arizona’s quarter pays tribute to an awe inspiring scene of natural beauty. But it looks like it could just be another tourist photo of the canyon, hurridly taken in a fit of rage while your kids refuse to stop playing Game Boy and get out of the car.

Winner: New Jersey – Sticking a Washington on both sides of a quarter is bold. Paying tribute to a major historical act and a work of art on the same quarter is classy. Bold + Classy = Winner.

idaho vs north dakota

Idaho’s giant bird of prey faces off with the kings of the great plains, the bison. It’s a tough call. The deadening gaze of Idaho’s falcon is quite intimidating. But to me, there’s an undeniable appeal in creating a backstory for the North Dakota quarter:

[Ring Ring. Governor of North Dakota picks up phone.]

Aide: Mr. Governor Sir! Have you mailed those proofs for the state quarter off to the mint yet?
Governor: I was just about to sign them. What’s the matter?
Aide: I’m sending over an email sir. It’s Kansas…You better take a look at it.
Governor: Son of bitch…A buffalo!
Aide: Technically, it’s a bison sir.
Governor: Does the public know about this? How long has this been out?
Aide: It came out last year sir.
Governor: Well our design is worthless now. We can’t put out another quarter with a buffalo on it. If we have a copycat state quarter, people will mock our state and nobody will want to live here! And there’s not enough time to redesign it!
Aide: Sir, if you’ll indulge me for just a second, I have an idea how we might be able to save the quarter.
Governor: Dammit Aide! Tell me quickly!
Aide: Well sir, Kansas’ quarter has one bison…
Governor: Go on…
Aide: If we were to maybe put two bison on our quarter…It would be better than having just ONE bison
Governor: You magnificent bastard… You’ve saved North Dakota’s state quarter! And maybe one of the Buffalo could be holding up a sign that says “Screw Kansas!”
Aide: I would advise against that sir, it may be perceived as deeply offensive.
Governor: Very well. Nobody will be able to misinterpret this “Buffalo doubling” gesture anyways.
Aide: Bison sir.

Winner: North Dakota – The closest a state quarter has come to a declaration of war

Keanu Regional Round 2

Tags: RiffTrax · bracketology · currency · state quarters

31 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Barry on Feb 12, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Pretty clearly, that’s where New York came up short. I mean, they have an entire city called Buffalo, so that should have merited at least three, maybe even four, buffalo on their quarter. Not even Admiral Ackbar could repel buffalo of that magnitude.

  • 2 Michael on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Ok this whole thing is fixed. There is no way a godzilla sized bird of prey is defeated by buffalo/bison. How much did North Dakota pay you Conor to sway your vote?

  • 3 dignan on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Caesar Rodney has been pummeled into submission by Conor’s E. Honda-esque lightning slap!

    If I’m remembering correctly (based off the musical 1776), Caesar Rodney was the really old delegate with the big black patch on the side of his face because he had some sort of disease or something. He could have just made that up as well though.

  • 4 kelli on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I am offended!!! Minnesota did NOT win?!?!!? I want justice and I want it now!!!!

  • 5 Onil on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Idaho shouldn’t even have made it this far because they don’t have a potato on their quarter. They are denying their own state identity. Everyone, literally everyone from Kalahari bushmen to the occasional children raised by wolves that are discovered every dozen years or so, knows that Idaho = potato. You’ll take our money for your potatoes but you won’t put your potatoes on our money. That’s bush league, Idaho.

  • 6 MarkAndrew on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I can’t agree on the Minnesota vs Arkansas battle. Despite the bling, the Arkansas design is too cluttered.

  • 7 Conor Lastowka on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:36 am

    A good point. At some point in time it ceases to be “embracing the obvious” and starts to become “denying your identity” and Idaho has crossed this line. Had the falcon been ominously floating over one of Idaho’s neighbors, however, or maybe Kansas, it may have stood a chance.

  • 8 Conor Lastowka on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Arkansas does not overexplain. It shows, not tells, unlike Minnesota’s. What exactly it is trying to show, is beyond me, however.

  • 9 kelli on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:44 am

    The Minnesota quarter is exactly like it’s people-matter of fact and well explained! That is why I think it should have won! Consider me partial though-Minnesotan born and raised!

  • 10 Livia on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I’m thinking Alaska is gonna take this whole thing. You just can’t beat the awesome when it comes to a massive bear eating a fish.

    And no, I’m not from there. I’ve never even been to the place.

    But I’m calling it now, and standing by it. :-P

  • 11 kelli on Feb 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    True-a bear eating fish is pretty groovy!! But still-the loon man!! Okay-I am done now!!

  • 12 Natalie on Feb 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    I must say, I’ve been right with you on every one of these up until now…
    I can’t fathom that the dreaded Idahoan bird of prey lost to the dull buffalo duo. It’s a sad day.

  • 13 kelli on Feb 12, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    Shall we pout together?

  • 14 Michael on Feb 12, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    I’ll supply the Jager if you allow me to pout with you guys.

    I just hope California still makes it to the finals. Guess I better go bribe Conor.

  • 15 slp on Feb 12, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Bee-yoo-tifull! Love your dialog between the Governor of North Dakota and his Aide. Sounds vaguely familiar. Hmmmmm! could it be “Stan Freberg Presents The History of the United States of America”? (By golly, I knew it was making an impression when I used to play it a bedtime on the Fisher Price tape recorder…)

    But I’m still sulking about NC’s loss.

  • 16 BassBone on Feb 12, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Okay, just my anal retentiveness speaking, but Caesar Rodney was a real revolutionary war figure. He was… President of Delaware…. Okay, he’s made up.

  • 17 Mephisto the Great on Feb 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    As a proud Alaskan (no longer living there, due to the gigantic Death-Bears that have since eaten all the fish and now regularly feast on human flesh) I say…


  • 18 Virginia Corbett on Feb 12, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! You chose a diamond over a loon? They’re so cool. And they sound so calming. And… and.. and.. it’s Minnesota for God’s sake.

    You’re in trouble, Connor. Big Trouble. I mean it. Go to your room. Right now.

  • 19 Dan Noutko-Kennedy on Feb 12, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    What’s a guy to do in this realm of the coin when his horse in the race (Mittens, from Michigan) broke his leg out of the starting gate and was shot and eaten at the Victor’s Brunch. To maintain a loser’s interest in this competition maybe you could have supermodels, who don’t look anything like Kevin, wear bikini tops made out of a piece of string and the two quarters of each round. Please.

  • 20 JAL on Feb 12, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It’s hard to see how Conor’s skewering of Caesar and Delaware can ever be topped in this competition. A tour de farce …

  • 21 AmandaGal on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Suck it other quarters, it’s Arkansas all the WAY!! YESSS!!!!!!!!

  • 22 Heather on Feb 13, 2008 at 4:35 am

    When I went to high school our football team played Caesar Rodney High School. Yes, I did go to school in Delaware. Clearly this state has been at this making up historical figure shenanigans for quite some time.

  • 23 kelli on Feb 13, 2008 at 5:24 am

    You may pout w/ us! It may be a sad day for us Minneostans as far as the quarters go but we do have some other shit going for us I’d say!

  • 24 kelli on Feb 13, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Well spoken!! Minnesota kicks that looser jiont any day!!

  • 25 Mephisto the Great on Feb 13, 2008 at 6:48 am

    You suck other quarters? Ewwwww. You don’t know where those things have been.

  • 26 kelli on Feb 13, 2008 at 7:08 am

    maybe she sucks them for the supposed drug content on them-or is that paper bills??!?!? Hmmmm……

  • 27 Conor Lastowka on Feb 13, 2008 at 8:53 am

    New state motto for Minnesota – “We copy the national bird of Canada’s currency for our state quarter and then complain about losing.” It rolls off the tongue.

  • 28 kelli on Feb 13, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Ooh-not funny-loser!!!!! (yeah-I know I went “o” happy in the first reply!!)

  • 29 AmandaGal on Feb 13, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Maybe I just suck in general.

    I mean that in a emo way, not in a pervert way :)

  • 30 kelli on Feb 18, 2008 at 5:48 am

    Don’t try and make this clean-you are being perverted!!

  • 31 Joel J. on Feb 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I agree, Livia. Talk about a killer finals cage match:

    Grizzly vs. Keller!