Don’t Know Much About…

In the old song, Wonderful World, the lyrics describe a person who doesn’t know much about history, biology and other subjects, but does knows that “I love you, and I know that if you love me, too, what a wonderful world it would be.”

Another of those subjects in the song he doesn’t know much about is geography, and I can relate – when it comes to geography, like the song says, “I can’t claim to be an ‘A’ student.”

My lack of geographical knowledge was reinforced recently when my husband read a quiz question in the newspaper to me:

“How many state capitals are located west of Los Angeles?”

Smug, I answered, “That’s easy – Hawaii and Alaska.”

“You’re right,” he said.  “So far.”

“So far?” I echoed.

“You named two.  There are six.”

Six state capitals west of Los Angeles?

Six?  How could that be?

My smugness drained away.

But I wanted to answer this, to prove I wasn’t totally geographically illiterate. 

I started by envisioning Los Angeles:


Stars posing on the Walk of Fame…


OK, but what about Los Angeles’ geographic location?

Easy – Southern California:

I know that California’s west coast is formed in an eastward direction, and from Santa Barbara to San Diego the coast looks like a sea monster took a big bite out of it.

So maybe, I reasoned, the capital of California might be west of Los Angeles?

“Sacramento?” I guessed.

“Right,” my husband said.  “Three more to go.”


“Maybe, um…”  I was floundering here.

“The capital of the state of Washington?”  (Don’t know much about state capital names, either.)

“Right again!”

Only two more to go.

I reasoned that if Washington’s capital was west of Los Angeles, then maybe…


“Oregon it is,” he said.  “What’s number six?”

I’d done alright with my three guesses – and they were guesses – but now I was stumped. 

I tried to envision a map of the western states, and I couldn’t imagine any more of them with a capital that was west of Los Angeles.

I shook my head, and gave up.

“Nevada’s state capital is west of Los Angeles,” said my hub.  “Carson City.”

Never mind the capital’s name.  Nevada’s capital?  How could that be?

I went online and pulled up a driving map:

It looked iffy to me.

So I enlarged the map and added a straight north-to-south line:

And sure enough – Nevada’s capital clearly is west of Los Angeles.

So there we are:

The six states with capitals west of Los Angeles are Hawaii, Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.


After all this research and map reading and comparing, I am SO ready!!!

Bring on Jeopardy!

I’ll take Geography for $1000!

Let’s go for it!  I’ll wager everything I’ve won so far! I live in Southern California, and I know how many beaches Los Angeles has.

(Final Jeopardy music playing.)

Oh, nooooooooooooooooooo!

(Answer:  What is zero?  The City of Los Angeles is a landlocked metropolis with no access to the ocean.  The County of Los Angeles has more than a dozen beaches.)

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