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Wisconsin

Wisconsin is an incredible place: beautiful lakes, forested hills, and rolling farmland; wonderful, generous, giving people; home of cheese, beer, brats, and cheesy beer brats. Wisconsin also has an edge: binge drinking, serial killers, and just plain old peculiarity.

And that peculiarity? Not just a general Midwest peculiarity. When searching for the following Midwest states on Netflix and Amazon Prime you get:

When you look up Wisconsin, however, after you get through the sitcoms (That 70s Show, Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days) and documentaries about Badger sports, Ringling Brothers, and Cheeseheads you go straight to documentaries like Making a Murderer, I am a Killer, Killer Legends, Evil Genius, Wisconsin Death Trip, and Dark Tourist and movies like Wisconsin Project X (a group of underdogs have to save their small hometown from humanoid monsters before it is too late), Appleton (a serial killer who returns to town after a long absence), Winter of Frozen Dreams (serial killers who go to school during the day and kill while working in massage parlors at night), and The Lurking (two stoners go deep into the serial-killer infested woods of Wisconsin, meanwhile bodies start to pile up around them).

Yeah.

Here's some of what makes Wisconsin Wisconsin.

More bars than supermarkets: "The more bars, the darker the brown and the more grocery stores, the darker the green. It's kind of what you'd expect, but now you can really see that high bar concentration in Wisconsin, whereas a lot of the country has at least three times more grocery stores."

Image showing the ratio of bars to grocery stores in the United States

10 of top 20 drunken cities in America: "The findings show a trend in Wisconsin overall, too. It's the second year the state has beat out all other states for the most spots on the list. Of the 20 drunkest cities in the country, 10 are Wisconsin cities: Green Bay (No. 1), Eau Claire (No. 2), Appleton (No. 3), Madison (No. 4), Oshkosh (No. 6), Wausau (No. 9), La Crosse (No. 10), Fond du Lac (No. 12), Sheboygan (No. 15) and Milwaukee rounding out the top 20."

Kids can drink with their parents at bars: "Persons under age 21 may possess and consume alcohol beverages if they are with their parents, guardians or spouses of legal drinking age; but this is at the discretion of the licensee. The licensed premise may choose to prohibit consumption and possession of alcohol beverages by underage persons."

World champion cheese making: "The Grand Cru Surchoix made by Fitchburg-based Emmi Roth USA beat out 2,955 other cheeses from around the world on Wednesday night in Madison."

Cheese curds: "Once you taste them, it's almost impossible to stop craving their signature squeak."

Wisconsin state statute 97.18(4): The serving of colored oleomargarine or margarine at a public eating place as a substitute for table butter is prohibited unless it is ordered by the customer.

Supper clubs: "That is how a Saturday night gets started at a proper Wisconsin supper club, a curious genre of old-fashioned fine-dining establishment that is particular to the state and had its heyday in the middle decades of the 20th century."

Friday Fish fry: "In Wisconsin, Fridays invariably mean one thing: fish fry. While it's not a steadfast rule, the best fish fries tend to be found at the state's famous supper clubs and taverns. Wisconsin has a rich history when it comes to bars and restaurants, and at no time is it more evident than on a Friday night."

Brandy old-fashioneds: "While the classic cocktail can be found across the country, Wisconsin's has a special twist. Old-Fashioned are commonly made with whiskey or bourbon, but Wisconsinites eschew both in favor of brandy."

Bubblers: Better than a secret handshake, more reliable than SSL encryption, for those of us no longer living in the state, knowledge of the word bubbler seems to be a secret code for, 'Yes, I'm from Wisconsin.'"

Frozen custard: "Wisconsinites brought it north, opening custard stands in the greater Milwaukee area, and eventually making it the unofficial dessert for the dairy state of Wisconsin."

Kringles: "The state of Wisconsin has finally named the kringle the official state pastry. The kringle is popular among the Danish population of Racine, and one Racine legislator put his support behind the decision."

Cranberries: "Wisconsin is the nation's leading producer of cranberries, harvesting more than 60 percent of the country's crop. The little red berry, Wisconsin's official state fruit, is the state's number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value."

Ginseng: "More than 90% of the cultivated ginseng grown in the United States is grown in Wisconsin, and 90 to 95% of Wisconsin-grown ginseng is produced in Marathon County."

Valentin Blatz, Frederick Miller, Frederick Pabst, Joseph Schlitz: Founders of Blatz, Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz beers.

Binge Drinking: "The average largest number of drinks within a short period of time among binge drinkers ranged from 6 drinks in the District of Columbia to 9 drinks in Wisconsin."

Sewer Socialism: "Sewer Socialism was a term, originally pejorative, for the American socialist movement that centered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from around 1892 to 1960. The term was coined by Morris Hillquit at the 1932 Milwaukee convention of the Socialist Party of America, as a commentary on the Milwaukee socialists and their perpetual boasting about the excellent public sewer system in the city."

Cheesehead: "Cheesehead is a nickname in the United States for a person from Wisconsin or for a fan of the Green Bay Packers NFL football franchise." The power of cheese:

Image of a Green Bay Packers fan wearing a cheesehead: the power of cheese

First modern state income tax: "In 1911, Wisconsin became the first state to implement an individual income tax."

First state worker's compensation program: "Wisconsin passed its workers' compensation law in May 1911, becoming the first state to effectuate an ongoing workers' compensation program that survived legal challenges."

First state unemployment insurance plan: "Wisconsin enacted a state unemployment insurance plan in 1932 in response to the Great Depression, when more than 25 percent of the adult workforce was unemployed."

The Wisconsin state dance is the polka (Wisconsin Statute 1.10(2))

Wisconsin Idea - "...education should influence people's lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom."

Wisconsin Highways: First in the World: Route Numbering