The State What ???

The federal system of government here leaves many of the powers and rights that in other countries would be given to the central government – to the State. In fact the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution expressly grants this by stating that:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

…and believe me States here do assert what rights they have at every opportunity.  There’s nothing like putting one over on the folks in Washington…..

My own adopted State of Nevada has a fiercely independent streak about it – witness the fact that we are only one of two states that have legalised prostitution, something I applaud… I think it is no business of anyone else’s to impose their own very narrow and religion based code of morals and ethics on other adults who don’t particularly wish to adopt it. The downside though is that people here aren’t too keen on paying any form of tax – even when they make extensive use the very services that those taxes pay for…..

A few weeks ago at the library I chanced to pick up a (State) government produced brochure about Nevada. It was mainly focused upon the system of State government we have here, and who our current representatives – both Senators and Assembly-Men/Women – were. However – tucked away towards the back were a number of pages devoted to the “State Something“.

Now some of these I knew already – like the fact that the motto on our State flag is “Battle Born” (we became part of the Union on October 31st 1864 in the middle of the Civil War), but I was astounded at the sheer number of “things” that were associated with Nevada. For example – our State Bird is the Mountain Bluebird, and our State Animal is the Desert Bighorn Sheep. So far, so good….

In addition to these there are a number of other reasonably obvious categories. Our State Flower is Sagebrush, and our State Reptile is the Desert Tortoise – but I found out that there are actually two trees designated as our State Tree (why not two State Birds or Animals ?). These are the Single Leaf Pinon and the Bristlecone Pine. Now it has to be acknowledged that my tree recognition skills are woefully inadequate and always have been. I could recognise an Oak tree by the shape of it’s leaves, and if there were a load of conkers on the ground beneath it – that would be  a pretty good clue that it was a Horse Chestnut, but beyond this I am frequently rather clueless.

Moving on – I was interested to see that we have a State Fossil (Ichthyosaur) and a State Rock (Sandstone), but did you know we also have State Grass (Indian Ricegrass) and a State Fish (Lahontan Cutthroat Trout).

There is even a State Artifact – the Tule Duck Decoy – a 2,000 year old relic that looks for the world like something Elmer Fudd would have made (“… you wascally duck !”).

We also have the State Precious Gemstone (Black Fire Opal), the State Semi-precious Gemstone (Nevada Turquoise) and the State Metal (Silver).

I think the one that seems the most odd to me is the State Soil ! This is listed as Orovada Soil (whatever that is).

Finally no State worth its salt would be without a State Song, and ours is called “Home Means Nevada”. I would sing it very loudly now whilst typing this, but I have absolutely no idea of the tune. For some really bizarre reason the one tune that keeps going through my head at the moment is “World Cup Willie” – which became the England Football team’s song during the 1966 World Cup, so all together now – I’ll give you the first verse and chorus:

Way out in the land of the setting sun,
Where the wind blows wild and free,
There’s a lovely spot, just the only one
That means home sweet home to me.
If you follow the old Kit Carson trail,
Until desert meets the hills,
Oh you certainly will agree with me,
It’s the place of a thousand thrills.

Home means Nevada
Home means the hills,
Home means the sage and the pine.
Out by the Truckee, silvery rills,
Out where the sun always shines,
Here is the land which I love the best,
Fairer than all I can see.
Deep in the heart of the golden west
Home means Nevada to me.

 Alright, I’m going …….

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