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You’d think that a state with as much scenery as Utah has, well, would have more sense. I mean look at all those carets all over that map? Those are mountains! The state is just chock full of ’em. But I guess the beauty mesmerizes the citizenry and makes them, well lets just say odd.

It’s a straight-lined state, and straight-laced as well, being 60% Mormon. More about that later. This probably makes it the closest thing we have to a theocratic state.

Fully 80% of the population, such as it is, lives in and around Salt Lake City. Vast areas of the state of “uninhabited.” I suspect wildlife objects to this notation, since they are probably fairly happy inhabiting the human-less terrain.

Whenever I hear the name Utah, I always expect a question mark. Utah? No, but my neighbor does. Actually, as is so much of  the US of A, it’s named after the indigenous native population, the Utes. Several of the larger cities were named after fur trappers. Americans, and Utahns specifically, are not particularly creative when it comes to naming things. Thank goodness they were not around at the beginning of time, or cougars might have been called light-brown cat.

The Mormons, as you recalled originated with John Smith in Illinois. Not finding any neighborly love, Brigham Young led a large contingent westward,  and they ended up in Utah, which pretty much was bereft of white people. They did not, as with most white people, ask either the Mexican authorities (who owned the land at the time) or the native population for any permission to squat and take over the area.

Soon enough Utah came under the Compromise of 1850 and was a territory. Almost as soon, the Mormons ran into trouble over their male propensity to take on several wives. Men found this ever so much fun, women not so much, although something can be said for having the bed to oneself several nights a week.

There was an actual Utah War over the practice, which was seen as unseemly by the rest of the US, but mostly it was because men in the rest of the country couldn’t get it for themselves, and decided that Utah men  wasn’t going to have sexual bliss alone.

It was all quite nasty and there was a good deal of bloodshed. Brigham Young had his people fleeing hither and yon, and somehow during that period the first Transcontinental Telegraph was completed. Brigham Young sent the first message to Lincoln, which was, I am told, “Hey don’t knock what you haven’t tried. I hear Mary is no looker!”

The second transcontinental thing was the railroad, completed just north of the Great Salt Lake in 1869.  Most people, however, continued to “pass on through.”

There are lots of great parks, and skiing is very big. After all, the scenery is the thing. The terrain ranges from mountains to desert and the temperatures range from too damn cold to too damn hot.

Race: lily-white.

Birth rate: HIGH, any wonder? Oh, well, that polygamy thing is now illegal . . . but old habits die hard.

Tourism and mining are major economic industries.

They were the 45th state to gain admission to the US, but the second to give women the right to vote. This makes no sense as I see it, but it’s true nonetheless. The state’s constitution made polygamy illegal which was a pre-requisite to it’s gaining statehood.

No gambling is allowed, which is probably another reason why the birth rate is so high. Also liquor is strictly state controlled–a Mormon thing.

Utah is a fairly GOPer state, with the illustrious (not) Orin Hatch leading the way. The LDS maintains a “strict neutrality”. And if you buy that, you’ll be buying a lot of bull elsewhere too. HINT: one of their “apostles” is reputed to have said that it would be difficult to be a faithful Mormon and a liberal Democrat. Enough said.

Eighty-percent of the Legislature is Mormon, and there has been only two governors who were not members of the LDS.

Another oddity: the USS Utah was sunk at Pearl Harbor. No explanation as to why a landlocked state had a battleship named after it.

It also has its own dinosaur: utahraptor. Catchy name.

The state ranks first in the use of antidepressants and narcotic pain killers. The reasons are well, open to wide speculation. It ranks way down, 47th in teen pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births, and abortions in general. Sex is obviously a big topic of at least conversation if nothing else. The proof if this is in the fact that it ranks number UNO in the amount of PAID PORNOGRAPHY consumed.

All of that leads them to give to charity like crazy to make amends.

Jello is their official snack food. (this state is insufferably boring I fear)

It will go down, presumably as the first and only state to have an official firearm. Legislation has passed the senate naming the Browning gun (which type I care not) as the “State Gun.” How nice. This puts Utah in the running for “blithering idiot” of the week award.

It’s most famous state slogan is “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” That’s all I need to know I won’t go there.

So I give it a “go take a look” at all the mountains and such, but for goodness sakes, it’s no party to live there. Just say NO.