For California, yet another weird ranking

Cable cars on California Street in San Francisco, an iconic image. (Photo: canadastock, via Shutterstock)

Californians sifting through the ashes of their homes destroyed by wildfires, sitting in the perpetual traffic jam that is the Harbor Freeway, or wondering when the next earthquake might hit can take comfort: California is the No. 1 fun state in the Union.

The ranking comes from WalletHub, a financial services company that likes to rank cities and states on various topics. WalletHub got a group of college professors together and asked them to round up and interpret statistics on such fun factors as “marinas per capita” (Nebraska didn’t do well.) Shockingly, we’re not even in the running in that category.  Florida, New York and Maryland are tied for the lead.

Hawaii surprisingly wasn’t ranked very high for fun – It wasn’t even in the top 10, ranking  25th, below Ohio (13th).Below Ohio?

When you step back and think about it, though, the No. 1 ranking seems obvious. California has the Sequoias, wonderful beaches, Yosemite and was home to Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon.  Does Iowa send movie stars to the governor’s office?  We produced “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” for Pete’s sake, and we’re home to the Flat Earth Society. Of course we’re No. 1.

We took the top slot in spite of some deficiencies, however. This is where, as Alice would say, it gets curiouser and curiouser

Mystifyingly, California ranked a lowly 47th along with Mississippi, West Virginia and Alaska for “Lowest variety of arts, entertainment and recreation facilities.” An obvious mistake. Aren’t there places in California where you can go skiing in the morning and bask on a beach in the afternoon? Sure there are. You can do that at Southern California’s Malibu Beach, Venice Beach and Huntington Beach, then head for ski slopes at Big Bear Lake, Mountain High and Mt. Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains. Good luck with that in Kentucky.

Okay, 47th. Well, once you’ve been to a topless joint in San Francisco, what else is there?

Hawaii surprisingly wasn’t ranked very high for fun – It wasn’t even in the top 10, ranking  25th, below Ohio (13th).Below Ohio?

At least the hula dancers finished ahead of North Dakota (40th).

We wound up being tied with Texas and New York for most movie theaters per capita.

We’re also tied with Texas and New York, along with Florida, for “Most Restaurants per Capita” but we’re ‘way below par in “Golf Courses and Country Clubs per Capita.” Michigan is tops in that category, followed jn order by Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida and, yep, Ohio.  (Hawaii was 46th).

To any true Californian, the top ranking for “fun “is a natural and foreordained outcome. But there were some surprises. Anyone who’s been to New Orleans might wonder how Louisiana wound up in 16th spot, or how Minnesota (7th) squeaked past Oregon (9th.)

As it does in most rankings, poor old Mississippi ranked near the bottom at 49th. But at least it finished ahead of the lowest-ranked “fun” state (drum roll, please) — West Virginia.

Our challenge now, of course, is to stay on course and not lose our heads in the glory of it all. And to all those wretches in the other 49 states, pull up your socks.


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