State of Stupidity: Survey Ranks the Smarts of the 50 States

The fine folks at Morgan Quitno Press are out to prove what many of us have suspected for a long, long time: some of this country's great states are just a few sandwiches short of an intellectual picnic basket.

According to the private research and publishing company's new survey, when they were handing out smarts, Arizona (dead last for the second year in a row, no less) was hanging out with California, Mississippi and Nevada at the back of the line, Central Florida's Local 6 reports.

Beg to differ?

The folks in Vermont probably don't. The Green Mountain State was ranked the smartest of them all, followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maine.

The survey has Texas as the Lone Star of mediocrity at No. 25, New York making an appearance at No. 16 and Florida chilling with the other underachievers at No. 29.

The annual rankings are based on 21 elementary and secondary education indicators, ranging from test scores and graduation rates to class size and teacher's salaries.

Want to see where your state ranks? Click here for the complete list.

Who Says You Can't Take It With You When You Strike Out?

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Baseball fanatics won't have to leave behind their beloved teams when they finally go to that big stadium in the sky. Instead, they'll soon be able to rest in peace inside a coffin with team colors and insignia.

Major League Baseball has a marketing deal with a company called Eternal Image. It'll put team logos on caskets and urns. The effort begins next season with the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Phillies, Cubs and Dodgers. It could eventually include all 30 teams.

Each urn will be stamped with a message saying Major League Baseball officially recognizes the deceased as a lifelong fan of that team.

After starting with baseball, Eternal Image hopes to branch out by making similar deals with the NFL, the NHL and NASCAR.

"We have been receiving these requests either directly or through our clubs for several years," said Susan Goodenow, an MLB spokeswoman. "Passionate fans express their love of their team in a number of different ways."

Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Eternal Image, which also makes a line of Vatican-themed products, "wanted to break into a sports venue of some kind," said Clint Mytych, the company's CEO. "It is the all-American sport."

He said he has gotten at least 1,000 inquiries since June.

You're Not Supposed to Use Your Bow-Hunting Skills for Evil ... Gosh!

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A Little Rock man whose SUV was cut off in traffic was arrested after he allegedly shot at a motorist with a crossbow following a brief chase.

"It was a drive-by crossbow shooting," said Steve Gilgenbach, a pitcher for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock baseball team who said he was the man's intended target. "I've never been shot at by a crossbow before."

Wayne Allen Dierks Jr., 26, posted bail after his arrest Sunday on charges of committing a terroristic act, possession of an instrument of crime, driving while intoxicated and driving on a suspended driver's license. Committing a terroristic act is a felony; the other charges are misdemeanors. An arraignment was set for Oct. 25.

Gilgenbach acknowledged cutting in front of Dierks on Interstate 630 in midtown Little Rock.

"I was merging on the highway and I had to get in, so I cut the guy off," Gilgenbach said. "He started following me, cursing at me and yelling for me to pull over."

A police report said Gilgenbach admitted to police that he made an obscene gesture toward Dierks, but he said Monday he didn't remember doing so.

Archery-crossbow hunting seasons for deer, bear and turkey began Oct. 1 so it's not extraordinary that someone might be carrying a crossbow in their vehicle this time of year.

The pursuit continued for several miles over the interstate and a city street. As the cars approached an intersection, "all of the sudden, he comes up next to me and shoots a crossbow at my car," Gilgenbach said. "It ricocheted off the back window, which shattered."

Gilgenbach called 911 and followed Dierks until the police arrived.

"I circled around and got behind him, but he pulled into a parking lot and aimed the crossbow at me again," Gilgenbach said.

After Dierks' arrest, officers found a crossbow with a scope, four crossbow bolts and a cooler containing 11 unopened beers and one opened can. Dierks registered 0.12 on a blood-alcohol test. The legal threshold is 0.08.

That Noise You Hear Is the Sound of Them Sucking All the Fun Out of Being a Kid

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) — Tag, you're out! Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.

Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, S.C., school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.

"I think that it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett, about 40 miles south of Boston. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."

Another Willett parent, Celeste D'Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. "I've witnessed enough near collisions," she said.

The Sad Tail of Another Star Who Couldn't Handle the Bright Lights of Fame ...

NEW YORK (AP) — A champion cat was not exactly gracious about his win: He bolted for 14 hours. Evgeny Plushenko, named after the Olympic gold medal-winning Russian figure skater, jumped from a judge's arms after being named best of its breed at the Cat Fanciers' Association Cat annual show. He beat out 200 other felines at the Madison Square Garden event on Sunday.

The "Best in Show" Russian Blue with emerald eyes was found Monday, after 14 hours, huddled in a carpenter's room.

"They love small spaces and can fit themselves into areas that you would not believe could make a cat feel comfortable," the association's Web site explains.

The 15-month-old bolted after one judge handed him to another.

Apparently, this member of a breed — called "clever and extremely agile" by the association — didn't fall for traps baited with the best cat food. Instead, he found a hole in the wall under the stands and slipped into the workroom.When found, Evgency Plushenko was tired and thirsty, but fine.

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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