10 Things From Around the World With the Names of U.S. States

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U.S. state names are hardly original. Americans, after all, took most of them from indigenous tribes, European languages, and British royals. But ever since the 50 states dubbed themselves, their names have cropped up in bizarre ways around the globe. From an Argentine pizza chain named after Kentucky to a Bulgarian quiz show called Nevada, the names of American states have popped up in some wacky places. Here are 10 of them.

1. TOAST HAWAII // GERMANY

In Germany, Hawaii was the name given to a Cold War era attempt at exotic cuisine: a slice of toast topped with ham, canned pineapple, processed cheese, and, in some iterations, a maraschino cherry. Originally, Toast Hawaii was a take on the American grilled spamwich, which U.S. soldiers ate while stationed in Germany. During the 1950s, TV chef Clemens Wilmenrod made the dish live on West German TV, cementing its place in the national cuisine for generations. Today, according to German bloggers, Toast Hawaii is considered “a modern classic that has just about nothing to do with the typical German cuisine, but is still inseparably connected to it.”

2. PIZZERIA KENTUCKY // ARGENTINA

In Argentina, Kentucky is the name of the country’s biggest pizza chain. In 1942, a group of former soccer players in Buenos Aires had a lucky day at the horse track. They used their winnings to open a pizza place, and named it Kentucky, after the Kentucky Derby. Since then, they’ve opened nearly 50 additional locations, fed Diego Maradona, and confused countless American tourists.

3. ALASKA MILK CORPORATION // PHILIPPINES


Lava via Flickr

In the Philippines, Alaska is the name of a corporate dairy empire with a mission to “raise milk consumption levels in the country” and “bring health to every child in every Filipino home.” The company also owns the Alaska Aces, the second winningest team in Philippine Basketball Association history, with 14 championship titles since they joined the league in 1986. As it turns out, the Alaska brand took its name not from the U.S. state but from a contraction of the Tagalog words alas and ka, meaning "You're an ace!"

4. MAINE SOFT DRINKS // NORTHERN IRELAND

In Northern Ireland, Maine is a soft drink company known for its fleet of distinctive blue-green trucks that have delivered soda to families door-to-door for six decades. Their classic flavors include Sarsaparilla, Scottish Kola, and Pineappleade. Not as popular? “Smak," which anti-drug activists protested in Scotland in 1998, arguing that it trivialized heroin addiction at a time when roughly 350,000 UK residents were using the drug.

5. YUGO FLORIDA // YUGOSLAVIA

In the former Yugoslavia, Florida was the name of a five-door hatchback produced by automaker Zastava from 1987 until 2008. The model was "the most advanced and independently engineered automobile" the Serbian manufacturer produced before refocusing on arms sales [PDF], and was named "Florida" to celebrate the success of the Yugo in the U.S. In a history of the Yugo, author Jason Vulc says that the Florida was born when Zastava engineers bought a Hyundai Excel, took it apart to study its design, then lost some of the parts and couldn't put it back together again. "To their credit, the Yugoslavs did succeed in building a second car," Vulc wrote, "not a good car, mind you, but a viable car nonetheless." The squat, sensible family car saw the fall of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Yugoslav State, but sadly did not outlast the Great Recession. The Florida lives on, however, and is still popular with vintage car lovers for being “very functional, universally and highly applicable” and for its “lower medium class” price point, according to one fan page.

6. SUPERSHOW NEVADA // BULGARIA

Supershow Nevada, the first major Bulgarian TV quiz show, aired in the ‘90s, before being renamed and eventually canceled in 2001. Since the show was co-sponsored by Moto-Pfohe, the Bulgarian representative of the Ford Motor Company, the grand prize was a Ford car. In the final round, contestants spun a giant wheel in the hope of getting a chance to win the car. Even at the time, the game show was described as “little more than an extended advert for car dealer Moto-Pfohe.”

7. LOUISIANA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART // DENMARK

In Denmark, Louisiana is the name of an internationally renowned art museum. Formerly a seaside villa built by a Dane named Alexander Brun, it was converted to a museum that houses works from Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, and Louise Bourgeois among others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it isn’t named after the state of Louisiana, but in honor of Brun’s three wives—each of whom was named Louise.

8. "THAT’S SO TEXAS" // NORWAY

In Norway, Texas is slang for crazy. For example, one Norwegian soccer manager described the atmosphere at a rivalry match between the Blackburn Rovers and the Burnley Clarets as “totally Texas.” The idiom comes from Texas’s association with the Wild West and cowboys that were featured in Norwegian films and literature.

9. MARYLAND COOKIES // UNITED KINGDOM

“Maryland” is one of the UK’s best-selling cookie brands. According to the company’s website, the British Maryland nabbed its cookie recipe from the U.S. in 1956, and has been selling whimsically named Big and Chunky snack packs, Gooeys, and Snapjacks ever since. They claim that if you took every Maryland cookie baked in a year and laid them end to end, the cookies would wrap around the equator 1.5 times.

10. THE TOWN OF VIRGINIA // LIBERIA

In addition to being a U.S. state, Virginia is also the name of a suburb of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city. The Liberian Virginia was originally a settlement colonized largely by freed slaves and freeborn Black settlers from the U.S. state of Virginia. It was the birthplace of Angie Brooks, the first female African president of the UN General Assembly.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The 10 States With the Most UFO Sightings

According to the data, cows in Texas have nothing to fear from aliens.
According to the data, cows in Texas have nothing to fear from aliens.

According to the National UFO Reporting Center, there have been more than 4000 UFO sightings so far in 2020—meaning that this year, we’re already well on our way to eclipsing the 5971 sightings reported in 2019.

If you want to increase your odds of seeing a UFO for yourself, you’re in luck. Using NUFORC data, SatelliteInternet.com took the total number of sightings from January 2019 to June 2020 and did the math to determine how many sightings there were per 100,000 people.

According to their calculations, Idaho is the state most likely to yield a UFO sighting, followed by Montana, New Hampshire, Maine, and New Mexico.

States With the Most UFO Sightings

  1. Idaho: 9.18 sightings per 100,000 people
  2. Montana: 9.17 sightings per 100,000 people
  3. New Hampshire: 7.87 sightings per 100,000 people
  4. Maine: 7.22 sightings per 100,000 people
  5. New Mexico: 6.2 sightings per 100,000 people
  6. Vermont: 6.09 sightings per 100,000 people
  7. Wyoming: 6.05 sightings per 100,000 people
  8. Hawaii: 5.16 sightings per 100,000 people
  9. Washington: 5.07 sightings per 100,000 people
  10. Connecticut: 4.94 sightings per 100,000 people

If you want to avoid UFOs, however, the data suggest you should head to Texas (1.29 sightings per 100,000 people), Louisiana (1.44 sightings per 100,000 people), New York (1.59 sightings per 100,000 people), Maryland (1.6 sightings per 100,000 people), or Illinois (1.84 sightings per 100,000 people).

For the full rankings, head here. And remember, a UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object, not necessarily aliens—but here’s some advice for what to do if you run into E.T., just in case.