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Offbeat

Offbeat

Jason / FLICKR: HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the tap of your finger, you can access pretty much anything these days, whether you're streaming a movie or ordering a pair of shoes. But just 50 years ago, Michigan had a law banning most businesses from being open on Sunday. 

That law, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1962, fell into a category of “blue laws.”

A corpse flower blooming
Courtesy of Meijer Gardens

It's a momentous week at the Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Its once-tiny corpse flower is now a strapping plant, reaching several feet high, and it's about to bloom for the very first time. 

An image of a silver bitcoin
Zach Copley / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or the more than 1,500 other cryptocurrencies, are making some people rich. 

They're also opening up something new: your computer could be using its processor power, its memory, and your electricity to help make money for someone else. The process is called cryptojacking.

 

Ekaterina Selivanova on a beach.
Ekaterina Selivanova

Michigan Radio has been hosting a visiting journalist from Russia for the past week and a half. 

Ekaterina Selivanova works for the television channel, Dozhd, in Moscow. 

While in Ann Arbor, Selivanova hit the streets to ask Americans about U.S.-Russia relations. She also offers her own reflections on the two countries' relationship.

A sticky bun on a plate
Tombarta / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Summertime in Michigan bring an endless variety of festivals to explore. 

Some, like the National Asparagus Festival in Oceana County, are pretty self-explanatory. Others, however, are a little more quirky.

Take Sticky Buns Days, for example, which is happening this weekend in Grayling at Wellington Farm, USA.

Michigan History Magazine, Vol. 6, 1922 / Michigan History Center

You probably know the basics of how a typewriter works – even if you have never used one. What you may not have known, however, is that the “father of the typewriter” was William Austin Burt, from Macomb County.

As it happens, this Saturday is National Typewriter Day. Stateside invited Mark Harvey, state archivist with the Michigan History Center, to talk about what led to the birth of the typewriter. 

Peder Toftegaard Olsen

Plenty of us will be enjoying the water and exploring the outdoors in Michigan this summer.

But writer, broadcaster, and attorney Steve Lehto is taking these sorts of adventures to a new level.

This July, Lehto will be taking a 1,200-mile motorized canoe trip from Duluth to Detroit via Sault Ste. Marie. He is retracing the path of famous Michigan explorer Douglass Houghton in the 1830s and 1840s.

Charlie LeDuff's Sh*tshow
Penguin Random House

Charlie LeDuff has been busy. Over the last few years, he’s hung out at the Mexican border waiting for undocumented immigrants to be ferried across the Rio Grande on a jet ski. He's chatted up conspiracy theorists at the Cliven Bundy standoff with the federal government, and he's tried not to get hit by rubber bullets or worse in Ferguson, Missouri.  

Saugatuck Dunes
Wikimedia / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's no better time than summer to enjoy Michigan's Great Lakes.

It is also a great time to learn something new about the freshwater seas that surround our state.

Because the lakes aren't just the perfect summer vacation spot, they're also a big part of Michigan's culture, economy, and environment.

Chase and Drew Kegley headshot
Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

 


 

The world of video games is meeting the world of school athletics.

 

This weekend brings the final round of a three-month online gaming competition among 32 Michigan high schools.

pintandpoppy / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This Friday marks the 172nd anniversary of a uniquely Michigan milestone. On May 18, 1846, Michigan became the first English-speaking government in the world to vote and pass a measure to abolish the death penalty.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist with the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to talk about Michigan’s progressive past. Judge Avern Cohn, the Senior United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, also joined the conversation.

Bob Anderson on stage in his Frank Sinatra show
Courtesy of Bob Anderson

 


Today is the 20th anniversary of Frank Sinatra's death, but he lives on in Bob Anderson​. Anderson has been a fixture in Vegas and on stages all around the country with his show, "Frank. The Man. The Music."

Michigan ad
Michigan History Center

If you recognize the lyric, "Yes Michigan! The feeling’s forever," you’re probably not alone (and no longer in your 20s). The words stem from the “Yes Michigan” tourism ad campaign from the 1980s.

New York City's Asylum for the Insane on Blackwell's Island
Moses King / British Library

This past Saturday was the 154th birthday of Nellie Bly, one of the first (if not the first) American investigative journalists.

Her willingness to be checked into the New York City Women's Insane Asylum helped change the way America treated people who were mentally ill.

Detroit police inspecting equipment found in a clandestine underground brewery during the prohibition era
Wikimedia Commons - U.S. National Archives


   

Last week, the Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot petition that might end the prohibition of recreational marijuana in Michigan

 

Meanwhile, this week marked the 100th anniversary of another important social experiment: Prohibition. 

Ruth Willet with an antennae for radio outside
Courtesy of Ruth Willet

 

She may be busy with her double major in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics, but Kettering University student Ruth Willet always finds time for her passion: amateur radio – also known as "ham radio." 

The front of the Mackinac Island Dr. Beaumont museum and fur trade shop
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

 


 

With eight hospitals and a medical school named in his honor, many Southeastern Michiganders are familiar with the name William Beaumont. But just what did the doctor do to acquire such acclaim in the world of medicine?   

A photo from 1881 of Moses Fleetwood Walker with the Oberlin team
Courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame

 

 

The baseball season is once again upon us. The national pastime carries an overwhelming sense of history and tradition that continues to make the game fascinating to watch — even if your favorite team is struggling. 

The branded label on the front of a snow motor
California Agricultural Museum

 

This winter driving season has created many white-knuckled moments throughout our state.  

If you find yourself thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to get around in the snow,” then you wouldn’t be the first. 

It's Been a Minute is nearing its first anniversary. NPR Extra caught up with NPR journalist and podcast host Sam Sanders about his move to NPR West in Culver City, California, transition from NPR's Washington Desk, and what he hopes to accomplish before IBAM turns one year old.

David Mertl / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Get a group of Michiganders together, add a deck of cards, and chances are pretty good you'll wind up with a game of euchre.

It was once dubbed "the queen of all card-games" and was wildly popular in the late 1800s. But its popularity waned through the 20th century. That is, except in Michigan and a handful of Midwestern states, nicknamed the “Euchre Belt.”

a squirrel
Steve Burt / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Leaping from branch to branch, bearing nuts and acorns, teasing backyard dogs by staying just out of reach; let’s face it — squirrels are so common in Michigan that it’s easy for us to take their presence for granted.

But, just as Holden Caufield worried about where the ducks go in winter, we got to wondering: where do squirrels go? Do they cluster up in hibernation holes? Or perhaps join Michigan snowbirds and head south to warmer locales?

Infrogmation of New Orleans / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A century ago, as the US was deep into fighting WWI, General "Black Jack" Pershing issued an urgent call to American women to volunteer for a new unit with the US Army Signal Corps.

More than 200 women from across the nation responded, including women from Michigan. They became known as "The Hello Girls."

Suka the polar bear
Henry Vilas Zoo

Sometimes you just need to look at cute animals to start your week off right. Luckily for us, the Detroit Zoo gained a fuzzy new resident this week!

Suka is a five year old polar bear. She was sent to the Detroit Zoo from her previous home at the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. 

Talini, the female polar bear that was born at the zoo in 2004, has been moved to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

mushroom pizza
Jim Winstead / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

Michigan is known as an automotive capital, but with Little Caesars, Domino's, Hungry Howie's, and Jet’s headquartered here, Michigan can make a good case that our state is also a pizza capital. As far as we know, Michigan is the only state to have had a pizza funeral. 

 


 

Cole Williams is the founder of The Son to a Father Project and The Son to a Father Parenting Skills Training Program — a series of workshops that explore the journey of fatherhood. He is also a motivational speaker, parent, mentor and community leader in Grand Rapids.

Caricature created by Vic Reyes MBME Media

Perhaps it’s already spread to your corner of Michigan: those aggravating, irritating, nauseating and much repeated political advertisements. Yup, yet another election year.

And with five people on the U.S. Supreme Court declaring a stack of cold, hard cash is not money but free speech, we Michiganeers are about to get an ear and eye-full for the duration of 2018.

Photo provided by a friend of the Michigan History Center.

 


 

A lot of Michigan residents might know that Malcolm X grew up in this state, but beyond that, the facts might get a little fuzzy. 

 

 

Michigan History Center’s Rachel Clark joined Stateside to bring some clarity to that history.

Screen capture from YouTube

The opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics happens Friday in PyeongChang. Right out of the gate, the snowboarding competition begins on Saturday. 

Courtesy of The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

 

If you've ever visited Greenfield Village in Dearborn, you have walked right past the home and bicycle shop of Orville and Wilbur Wright.  

Of course, the Wright brothers are universally recognized as the inventors of the airplane, but did you know it took decades for that fact to be recognized by our own government?

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