Offbeat

Offbeat

The ice is still thick in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When do you think this Saturn will sink to the bottom?
Rotary Club of Iron Mountain–Kingsford

The Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford decided to reach back into history and bring back an old fundraising technique. Instead of the usual pancake breakfast or rose sale, this time around they’re having a contest that asks people to guess how fast a 1998 Saturn will sink into Chapin Pit.

A Minute with Mike: What's in a name?

Mar 18, 2015

Like most of you listening, I am proud of being from Michigan. Trips up north, long summer sunsets and the joy of boating across a lake are experiences many of us hold dear. 

But there's one thing about being from Michigan I find quite disconcerting: being called a Michigander.

madonna on stage illuminated by spotlights
Flickr user M Prince Photography / Flickr

In a recent interview, Madonna called the people of her hometown Rochester Hills "basic, provincial-thinking people."

Mayor Bryan Barnett decided her statement went too far, so he crafted an open letter response that's now being shared all over the Internet.

Courtesy photo / Ben Schultz

It appears old man winter is finally loosening his grip on Michigan. (Dare I type that sentence?)

With temperatures close to the 50s over the weekend, some folks may have busted out the grill. I dug around my shed and got my bike out.

My office in Grand Rapids is only about a mile and a half away from my house. But it costs $14 a day to park there. It makes sense most days to commute on my bike.

But I don't bike to work in the winter. I’m just not that hardcore. The black ice, the wind chill, it’s daunting. I already hate driving in the snow. I can’t imagine riding my bike in it. I just can’t.

But people do it. Maybe you’ve seen them around your town? They’ve got those weird fat tire bikes and full face masks with icicle mustaches. They’re crazy, right?

Flickr user Fernando Revilla / Flickr

Tomorrow, for the second consecutive month, will be a Friday the 13th.

Professor Phillips Stevens of the University of Buffalo, whose research includes topics such as cultural anthropology and religion, says this fear could have religious roots.

FLICKR USER GEORGE THOMAS / FLICKR

The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, and the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world. While crossing the Mackinac Bridge in itself is breathtaking, sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what it’s like way up there on top of the bridge's highest cables.

shelf of wine bottles
Flickr user Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr

About 10 years ago, when the occupationally snooty world of wine was introduced to the radical idea of putting screw caps on bottles of fine wine, the reaction in some quarters was utter horror.

Until then, the only wines with screw caps to be found anywhere were hip pocket-sized bottles of reinforced wines called Night Train and White Lightening.

In 2004, a study found more than half of American consumers and 60% of British wine drinkers the idea of screw caps on their fine wine.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Don Schneider loved movies. He really loved movies.

For a half century, he collected movie memorabilia.  Seriously collected.

After Schneider died last Fall at the age of 91, his friends got together to catalogue his collection.    Three months later, they are still at it.

Earl Lloyd became the first black player in the NBA on October 31, 1950. He broke the NBA color barrier three years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

The Associated Press reports that Lloyd died Thursday at age 86.

Lloyd made his 1950 NBA debut with the Washington Capitols, just before fellow black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.

You can watch clips of that game in this video produced by the Golden State Warriors:

Steve Carmody

Hell is for sale, and a Detroit-based artists group called Damned wants to buy it.

"When Hell came up for sale on Friday the 13th, it seemed an interesting switch to focus maybe on creating a natural, larger, world class performance art center," said Anthony DVS, the head producer of Damned who prefers to go by his pseudonym.

NASA

A Michigan native is vying for a one-way ticket to a very unusual destination. 

Laura Smith-Velazquez is one of 100 finalists from across the globe trying to be a part of a mission to begin colonizing Mars. 

Andrew Krietz of MLive reports:

Last week, during comments at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Republican Senator Thomas Tillis of North Carolina suggested that it was government gone overboard to regulate food service workers' hand washing. 

Jewelry For A Cause

Jewelry buyers from around the country can help get illegal weapons off the streets of Detroit.

A company called Jewelry For A Cause has recently launched the Detroit Caliber Collection. The 13-item collection joins similar collections for Newark, San Francisco and Hartford.

FLICKR USER MATT MACGILLIVRAY / FLICKR

Punxatawney Phil isn't the only groundhog prognosticator!

Michigan's got an official groundhog. Her name is Woody, and she lives at the Howell Conference and Nature Center. But for this year's Groundhog Day, they had to send in a "pinch hitter:" a groundhog named Murray!

user: Alden Jewell / Flickr

With the North American International Auto Show under way in Detroit, we thought we'd dig up some archival photos of what the auto show used to look like for throw back Thursday. Click on the photo above to see more images of past Detroit Auto Shows. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Foodies, hackers and people with skills each have a place on a new list of banned words.

For 40 years, the folks at Lake Superior State University have compiled a list of words that should be banned for “Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” 

There are more than 800 words on the list which is drawn from suggestions sent to LSSU. 

A variety of new words and phrases have made the list this year:

Aaron Cooley Themm

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Officials in western Michigan's Ottawa County are expected to discuss the removal of a sign bearing the Bible's Psalm 19:1 verse from a public park.

  Mlive.com reports that parks and recreation staff were told to take down the sign which had been in Hager Park since the late 1960s or early 1970s after a Georgetown Township resident complained it promoted a particular religious view using public resources.

The issue has been added to the Jan. 13 Ottawa County commissioners' work session meeting.

Salvation Army

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - All that glitters isn't gold, and the Salvation Army says it discovered that two metal bars dropped in a donation bucket in Muskegon weren't genuine.

Salvation Army spokesman Roger Snider announced Wednesday morning that the one-ounce bars turned up in a  kettle Tuesday evening and had an estimated value of about $2,370.

  But he says a further check showed that the bars were replicas and not solid gold.

Pat Ibbotson/"Eloise: Poorhouse, Farm, Asylum and Hospital 1839-1984"

We recently stumbled across some cool, old photographs of life at one of the most well-known psychiatric hospitals in Michigan: Eloise.

Celebrating the holidays was an important part of life for the people who lived and worked at Eloise, which was located a few miles outside Detroit in Wayne County. 

Here are the stories from the Michigan Radio website with the most traffic from Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 15, 2014, according to our data. 

Your most-read stories ran the gamut from news to politics to sports to Stateside with Cynthia Canty interviews with scientists and artists. 

One thing we’ll miss after Rep. John Dingell retires at the end of this year will be his “jingles.”

Dingell releases these jingles each year for the holidays. The longest serving member in U.S. Congress  kills it on Twitter. And today he announced - via Twitter, of course - that his annual jingle is ready:

"You Will Do Better In Toledo"

Dec 14, 2014
Toledo, Ohio
OZinOH / Flickr

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The city of Toledo is reaching back 100 years for its new slogan. New signs with the words "You Will Do Better In Toledo" will be going up all over town to welcome drivers into the city. 

Hands Typing
Flickr user Sascha Pohflepp / Flickr

Online comment sections are not always the most welcoming place, but apart from incendiary remarks, they still provide an important outlet for people to share their thoughts.

Cliff Lampe, associate professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan has studied community engagement for a number of large online companies and shares his insights as to how to improve online discourse.

A screenshot of the owl from the YouTube video.
Steve Spitzer / screenshot YouTube

A Chicago photographer and birder saw something swimming in Lake Michigan, and it was not a hardy winter athlete taking an Arctic plunge.

The photographer, Steve Spitzer, captured on video a great horned owl doing a vigorous breast stroke in the water off of Loyola Park Beach in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. 

Jim Hammer / Flickr

When does a news assignment become a classic story? Here's one we like to trot out to set the tone for Thanksgiving.

The sound of Narragansett turkeys gobbling and barking for Rebecca Williams' microphone are legendary around the Michigan Radio studios. 

Their turkey timing is perfect.

As the farmer describes the turkeys for Rebecca, they speak up at his disconcerting words. Have a listen:

Vernor's always manages to make these lists. Is it on yours?
user @rogerjfrank / Flickr

If the magazine racks at the grocery story are any indication, we love lists.

Lists of the "top" vacation spots - lists of the "top" TV shows - and lists of the "top"... ahem... bedroom moves.

So why wouldn't we love a list about the state we live in? 

Buzzfeed collected a list of 37 Facts That Prove Michigan Is Undeniably The Greatest State.

Thirty-seven. Wow. That's long. Let's boil it down to 10. It'll save time.

Pick your "Top 10 facts that prove Michigan is the greatest state" below. If the form doesn't load for you, go here to pick your top 10.

user rob zand / Flickr

Monday night "The Daily Show with John Stewart" brought attention to Detroit's controversial water shutoffs during a satirical news bit.

"Daily Show" correspondent Jessica Williams interviewed Nolan Finley of the Detroit News; Detroit Water Brigade Creative Director Atpeace Makita, and attorney Alice Jennings.

According to the Detroit News, Finley was interviewed about three weeks ago. 

Finley described how he approached the interview:

"I tried to present a complex issue as fairly as possible," he said. "They taped me for 90 minutes, looking for the 'gotcha' moment, and I'm pretty sure I probably provided it for them."

In the video, Finely's opinion strongly supports the idea that people should pay their bills and shouldn't be entitled to free water, an opinion the "Daily Show" unsurprisingly mocked.

Some tweeted their support for Finley:

In another tweet, Finley explains that during the initial taping he tried to avoid any further "gotcha" moments.

 

Makita's segment was taped Oct. 23 at the Detroit Water Brigade Headquarters and a viewing party was held last night at Anchor Bar.  You can view the full "Daily Show" interview below. (Go here if you don't see the video below.)  

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook,Daily Show Video Archive

 - Tifini Kamara, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

The Human Rights Campaign has issued this year's Municipal Equality Index, which measures how LGBT-friendly cities are.

Michigan's results are rather divided. East Lansing received a perfect score, making them one of only 15 cities in the country to get 100. Warren, on the other hand, received only a 10.

“We need to not have gaps in the state,” Sommer Foster of Equality Michigan said. “I think we can't have one place where they have a 100% score and another place where they have a 10% score.” 

Tom Magliozzi, one of the hosts of Car Talk, passed away Monday, November 3, due to complications of Alzheimer's Disease.

From Car Talk's website: 

Tom Magliozzi who, along with his brother Ray, hosted NPR’s hit comedy show Car Talk for the last 37 years, died Monday morning, November 3, 2014, from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Turns out he wasn’t kidding,” said Ray. “He really couldn’t remember last week’s puzzler.”

Tom Magliozzi was born June 28, 1937, in an East Cambridge, Massachusetts neighborhood filled with other Italian immigrant families. It was there that he and his younger brother Ray picked up the uniquely Boston-Italian style of expressing affection through friendly insults and teasing. That style was at the heart of their banter with each other, and their listeners, on the radio show that made them beloved guests in millions of homes every Saturday morning.

Tom was the first in his family to attend college, enrolling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering. He applied that degree to research and consulting jobs until, in his late 20s, he was making his tedious 45-minute commute in traffic one morning, had a near miss with another car, and had a revelation that he was wasting his life. Upon arriving at work, he walked into his boss’ office and quit on the spot. He hated putting on a suit and working in the 9-to-5 world.

Learning the new clocks.
Tamar Charney / Michigan Radio

There’s a structure to what you hear on Michigan Radio that’s about to change.

Each show on the station is governed by a “clock.” These graphical representations of each hour lay out what happens in a program and when.  

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