Last week Matthew told me that polar bear poo is white. (For those of you who don’t know, Matthew grew up in Alaska, which pretty much means he’s the expert on things like wrestling polar bears, ice fishing, and wrestling polar bears while ice fishing). Now polar bear poo is obviously not white (it’s purple), but I became painfully aware that should I ever find myself in an epic Alaskan Face-off* with Matthew, I would lose. Thus, I decided to train by consulting my fine foreign friend, Great Sir Captain of the former Soviet Union, Baron Wicky Peedya. After days of continuous, brutal training in dark, dank libraries across California, this is what I’ve learned:
- Alaska is the largest US state by area and is larger than any of the next 3 largest states combined (Texas, California, and Montana).
- During World War II, three Aleutian islands – Attu, Agattu, and Kiska – were invaded by Japanese troops and occupied between June 1942 and August 1943.
- The most common language in Alaska is English. The next most common language is Spanish.
- Primary crops grown in Alaska include potatoes, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, and polar bear. (Okay I added the last one).
- Akutaq, traditional Eskimo ice cream, consists of reindeer fat, seal oil, dried fish meat, and local berries.
- The state land mammal is a moose.
- Alaska is largely considered a Republican state – it has only once supported a Democratic nominee, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
I came into work today expecting to challenge Matthew to a dramatic, heart-wrenching Alaskan Face-off, but I received a cautionary note in my Inbox:
Alaskan face-off canceled.
*A battle of wits in which each contestant tries to one up the other with facts about Alaska.