This week, the Republican National Convention has been held in Cleveland, Ohio. I must admit that when America does something, it does it on a scale which makes other nations look like they are just scrabbling around in the dirt. This event, which was held in a venue which had only just been converted after holding the NBA finals, was vast.
One of the items on the program was the roll call of the states and the formal allocation of delegates votes which have come about because of four months of primaries and caucuses. To me, this was like watching the vote count of the Eurovision Song Contest but with a different sort of kitsch and gaudiness. Apart from the formal declaration of where the state's votes went, most states used this to pitch themselves and do a spot of bragging. Some of the territories used it to air grievances, some states took themselves and the convention way too seriously and still others sent it up; like the farce that it is.
The following then, is a list of what we have learned from the roll call of the states; from the serious to the frivolous:
Alaska - The largest state in the union; more coastline than the continental United States, the last frontier.
American Samoa - The southernmost expanse of US soil; the greatest per capita exporter of NFL players.
Arizona - The hottest state in the country "for job growth".
Arkansas - Land of opportunity and birthplace of Johnny Cash and Al Green. Open for business. The reddest state in the land. Number 1 in rice production and catfish.
California - We have good jobs and opportunities.
Colorado - The frontier state where the planes where the planes meet the mountains and the home of the World Champion Denver Broncos.
Connecticut - The land where we manufacture Pez, nuclear submarines and the home of the WWE.
Delaware - The first state to ratify the Constitution.
District of Columbia - Instrumental in creating the Republican Party in 1856. The district which was delineated by George Washington. Capital of the country.
Florida - Home to Disneyworld, the Daytona 500 and the Florida Keys. We have no state income tax. 600 miles of beaches. The state that gave Lebron James his first two championships.
Georgia - The peach state and the state with the most peaches.
Guam - The tip of the spear of American might. Home of B-52s, B1s, B2s, fast attack nuclear submarines that are keeping the potential enemies of America at bay. The place where America's day begins.
Hawaii - (didn't say anything about themselves)
Idaho - Famous potatoes. The most republican state in the nation. When they say the pledge of allegiance, they say it to the "Republicans" for which it stands.
Illinois - (didn't say anything about themselves)
Indiana - Has a $2bn surplus. More people working than ever before in the state's history.
Iowa - Go Hawks! The longest serving Governor in American history.
Kansas - Home of the greatest fans of the World Champions, the Kansas City Royals. Proud home of the iconic Bob Dole.
Kentucky - The bluegrass state. The home of Churchill Downs; the source of bluegrass music. The state where the largest Toyota plant in the world is located and the place where they make the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Corvette. The state that produces all the bourbon fit to drink in the world.
Louisiana - The Sportman's Paradise headquarted in Terrebonne Parish.
Maine - Home of rugged coastlines, pristine forests; beautiful lakes. The state that led the Republican revival in the northeast.
Maryland - America in miniature. Home of the oldest state capitol in continuous use; where George Washington resided as commander in chief of the continental army. Birthplace of the national anthem.
Massachusetts - (didn't say anything about themselves)
Michigan - The great lakes state. The birthplace of the Republican Party³.
Minnesota - Home of 10,000 lakes; home of Spam and home of the late; great Prince.
Mississippi - The birthplace of America's music.
Missouri - Kansas I love you but Missouri is the home to the World Series Champions Kansas City Royals. Missouri, home of eleven time World Champions, St Louis Cardinals. Missouri, the birthplace of talk radio and AM 1120 KMOX "the voice of St Louis". Missouri, the birthplace of ragtime music.
Montana - (didn't say anything about themselves)
Nebraska - The good life with great opportunity. The home of Silicon Prairie News. The University of Nebraska Corn huskers. The Number 1 beef producing state in the Union. A place where people find happiness from honest work and where their word is their bond.
Nevada - Where blue lives matter. We are battle born, brought in by first Republican president in 1864. From the great shores of Lake Tahoe, to the most entertaining capital city, Las Vegas¹, Nevada, this time what's said in Las Vegas will not stay in Las Vegas.
New Hampshire - The live free or die state. A state with no sales or income tax.
New Jersey - The garden state. The greatest state in the Union.
New Mexico - The land of enchantment.
New York - The empire state.
North Carolina - The land of the long leaf pine. The land where the summer sun doth shine. Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great. Home of the largest military installations in the world. With the majestic Appalachian Mountains in the west and the beautiful crystal coast in the east.
North Dakota - The home of the current and five consecutive year national FCS football champions, the North Dakota State University Bisons. The home of the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. The only state in the United States to actually grow younger.
Northern Marianas - The weather is 85° all year round.
Ohio - Cleveland, the city of champions.
Oklahoma - The heartland of America and the reddest state in the Union.
Oregon - The land of unrivalled natural beauty, snowy mountain peaks, majestic river valleys, serene high deserts, the great American pinot noir, Tillamook Cheese and hazelnuts and the reigning Major League Soccer Champions, the Portland Timbers. Home of Tracktown USA and the place where Nike made ducks and beavers cool.
Pennsylvania - The keystone state, the home of the Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh Penguins.
Puerto Rico - Voted to become the 51st state of the Union.
Rhode Island - (They like sailor's hats) Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island in 1631, based on principles of complete religious toleration, separation of church and state and political democracy; values that the United States would after be founded upon. The ocean state. It's absolutely beautiful back home.
South Carolina - The Palmetto State, the home of "Amazing Grace", the true peach state and the birthplace of barbecue and America's vacation destination, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
South Dakota - Home of Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore and other great faces and great places.
Tennessee - The volunteer state, the state with no income tax, a budget surplus and a balanced budget², in the top five in jobs growth and number one in auto production.
Texas - (They like cowboy hats) The 12th largest economy on the planet.
US Virgin Islands - Where the people are second-class citizens and denied voting rights. The childhood home of Alexander Hamilton and basketball player Tim Duncan. Where no passport is required to visit the islands.
Utah - The state that has its priorities straight: God, family and country.
Vermont - Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.
Virginia - The mother of presidents and the capital of freedom. Where liberty sprouted from the roots of gemstone, where patriots' dreams came true.
Washington - (They like trees for hats) The evergreen state. A beautiful state of volcanoes, the mighty Columbia River, vast wheat fields and often the national Christmas Tree. Also the proud home of the Boeing Aircraft Company, builders of the greatest aircraft in the world. Named after the first president, George Washington.
West Virginia - (They like coal miner's hats) The home of the greatest golfer in the history of golf, Sam Snead. The home of the greatest football player in the history of the NFL, Sam Huff. A thundering herd.
Wisconsin - The birthplace of the Republican Party³. The home of the thirteen time champion Green Bay Packers. The home of the greatest motorcycles in the world, Harley-Davidson.
Wyoming - Home of rugged individualism, the majestic Tetons and frontier days. The world's biggest producer of low sulphur coal, an energy titan; a super red state. A $1.6bn surplus, a balanced budget², no individual and no corporate income tax. Support of state's rights, the Second Amendment and law enforcement officers across the nation.
Come November, I suspect that many Americans will feel as though they are in some sort of damage control, where they are given a choice of two equally unpleasant options. Would they rather taste something hideously sour or something hideously bitter? Whatever they choose, the four year buffet which will be served by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, will leave a terrible taste in people's mouths.
For the moment though, it's time to eat candy in three stripes of red, white and blue. Just remember that you can't keep on eating candy forever. It might be minty fresh now but come November, something is going to get all rotten and stinky.
¹The capital of Nevada is actually Carson City but I guess geography isn't exactly that state's strong suit.
²Which is impossible because by definition a budget in surplus isn't balanced.
³Both Michigan and Wisconsin claim to be the birthplace of the Republican Party. Depending on which side of the story you believe, either side could be right.