offbeat

user: .reid. / Flickr

It's Friday. Your Facebook news feed is stale and if time slowed down any more it would stop. Here are three ways to procrastinate, while simultaneously making yourself think that you're becoming a better person.

1. Curate your LinkedIn profile, iTunes library, and Facebook "Likes"

YouTube

The new "YouTube Trends Map" shows you the most the popular videos by city. It can also be broken down by sex and age group.

What's trending in Michigan right now?

Well, apparently you like your country music in the northern part of the state:

Your dating advice in West Michigan:

Your vampires in southern Michigan:

And in the UP, you are in a time lapse kind of mood:

That's what is trending now. But I venture to guess that it won't be long before this interview with Charles Ramsey becomes the most popular in your area:

H/T to Heather Bryant

YouTube

So much for the "no contact" order from the health department.

These guys suited up and went places they normally can't go:

One commenter asks "That's pretty awesome, but isn't the water disgusting?"

Looks like the fun outweighed the "disgusting" in this case.

H/T Dustin Dwyer

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist / Facebook

Sure, the three sisters from Ann Arbor's Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are probably going to beat you in a game of trivia about the Bible.

But you wouldn't expect them to take you on the physical challenges as well.

It turns out Sister Evangeline, Sister Peter Joseph and Sister Maria Suso are pretty darn good at flipping forks into glasses:

MLive / screenshot from video

The Palm Beach Times, ABC, the Guardian, UPI, the Examiner, even "Perth Now" covered the amazing story of Evie Branan.

The 79 year-old woman woke from a five-year semi-coma in the spring 2011 and said "I want to go to a Bob Seger concert."

Two years later, she got her wish. Here she is dancing at last night's concert with a little help:

From MLive's Sarah Schuch:

At 79 years old, Evie Branan still cheered, threw her hands in the air, shook her booty and rocked out the Bob Seger concert Thursday night.

She met Seger and his family, chatted with crew and band members and received VIP treatment at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Complete strangers recognized her after hearing her name or seeing her pushed through the halls of The Palace.

When she came out of the semi-coma in 2011, Branan wrote a letter to "whomever" looking for love.

"I'm full of pep. I like doing things. I love dancing," she said:

Branan lives at the Willowbrook Manor assisted living facility in Flint Township

Letter from boot camp in 1953 returned to sender

Mar 17, 2013
Jean & Bob Rodgers

An ex-soldier living in southwestern Michigan says the U.S. Postal Service has returned a letter he wrote to his wife from boot camp 60 years ago.

user psychonaught / Wikimedia

A 6th grader in Taylor brought $20,000 in cash in her backpack to school on Monday, school officials told the Taylor police. 

Taylor Police Chief Mary Sclabassi told the Detroit News that the 12-year-old girl said she received the money from another girl who lives across the street from her. 

"The school district called us and said a 12-year-old student had a backpack full of money," Sclabassi told the News. "The principal became aware of it when she heard the student was giving money away to friends. They brought in the student, secured the backpack and retrieved the money she had given away. This is a real first for me."

Bob Johnson of The Saginaw News posted a piece on Sandy and Don Bonem's lock-picking horse this morning.

The Bonem's shot video of their horse last year and were hoping it would wind up on America's Funniest Videos.

But when that didn't happen, the decided to post it on YouTube:

All Children's Hospital / mymodernmet.com

This post from Katie Hosmer on MyModernMet.com caught my eye. 

You've got to clean the windows, so why not do it with a little flair?

The photo to the right is from All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.

Window washers from Clearwater's High Rise Window Cleaners got dressed up in Spider-Man costumes and then made several trips from the top of the building to the ground, washing windows and waving at ecstatic patients along the way...As the hospital states, "There were actually three Spider-Men on the job and their high-rise moves were the hands-down hit of the day."

And here's a video of superhero window washers descending on Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

H/T to Zach Feinstein

A photo of 'Petoskey Batman' on the Michigan Protectors website.
Michigan Protectors

When I posted last April that 'Petoskey Batman' was 'hanging it up,' I was quickly corrected:

Your information is false. The Petoskey Batman is selling off the suit, but he is FAR from hanging it up. He has constructed a new suit, and plans to go back on patrol in a few weeks.

Now we hear news that sure enough, Mark Wayne Williams was at it again.

The Petoskey News reports Williams was arrested last Saturday night for interfering with a police investigation.

Sgt. Jeff Gorno told the News the incident happened in Bear Creek Township:

Troopers were responding to the scene of a personal injury accident in which the driver had left the scene.

“When we arrived, (Williams) was at the scene in his Batman outfit. He wouldn’t clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent,” Gorno said. “He said he wanted to help us look for the driver.”

“We didn’t want the dog to track Batman instead of the accident scene and he was getting in the way of officers who had a job to do.”

Williams’ Batman costume and gear were confiscated. Gorno said he was not carrying any dangerous weapons.

Williams posted bond and was released from the Emmet County Jail.

Williams faces felony changes for "resisting and obstructing police in an investigation."

He was arrested last year after he was spotted on a rooftop in downtown Petoskey. He was ordered not to don his costume while on six months of probation.

'Petoskey Batman' is listed as one of the members of the 'real-life-superhero' group "The Michigan Protectors."

No word on the whereabouts of the bat cave yet:

Jimmy Hoffa on WESW-TV's Morning Exchange program sometime between 1971 and 1975.
WEWS-TV / YouTube

Police are digging under a driveway in Roseville, Michigan this morning to see if they can come up with evidence of a body.

Ground penetrating radar indicated an "anomaly" under the driveway earlier in the week.

There's wide speculation the body could be former Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa, but that appears to be a long-shot. From CNN:

Police Chief James Berlin told CNN on Thursday that while the tipster's information seems credible, he's not convinced the body is Hoffa's because of the timeline. He spoke with the tipster on August 22 and says he believes the person did see a burial.

Police will send soil samples from the dirt under the driveway to MSU for analysis.

The samples will be sent to a forensic anthropologist and tested for human decomposition. Results aren't expected before next week.

In the meantime, one homeowner tells the Associated Press that the search for Hoffa has turned her neighborhood into a "circus."

Szpunar tells The Associated Press Friday that the Roseville home she's lived in for 24 years has been turned into a "three-ring circus" by onlookers and media members who gawk and take photos.

Szpunar told the AP she just wants to be left alone.

Inside the Piper Cherokee Six. Their website reads "Plenty of room for your romantic encounter."
Courtesy milehightc.com

Not surprisingly, there are online, how-to instructions for joining the 'mile high club,' but to join might set off a security alert.

That's where someone like Traverse City pilot Scott Conaway steps in.

A Carp Hunter in action near Peoria, IL.
YouTube

Shark Week, schmark week.

It's Asian Carp Week here at Michigan Radio!

All week long, The Environment Report has been bringing us stories about Asian Carp & the Great Lakes.

A message from a visitor in shelter #10 on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

When you camp on Isle Royale, you don't necessarily have to sleep in tents.

You can sleep in a "camping shelter," which is basically an elevated, screened-in, wooden structure.

It can protect you from the elements and the bugs.

And based on our experience, it seems people have had some time on their hands waiting out storms in these shelters.

Park visitors have left messages on the walls - something we humans love to do - even long before we had Facebook walls to write on.

We were expecting profane, but we found inspiring, humorous, artistic, and messages describing their experiences while on Isle Royale. (O.k., there was a little profanity here and there. It is graffiti, after all.)

To see the messages, take a look at the slideshow above.

Some of our favorites:

  • "45 miles 8 days all w/diabetes! 2010"
  • A diagram showing you where to "BANG HEAD." It was surprisingly accurate. I hit my head on that low beam 5 or 6 times.
  • "Flight over for 3 - $625.00 - Gear and food - $300.00 - Spending my 50th birthday hiking with my daughter and son - priceless (50 miles) - JMR 8/2007"
  • "...My girlfriend says everything is my fault (it is)..."
  • "...Lots of rain, no bugs, probably going to have tapeworm. LIVING THE DREAM!"
  • "we came, we saw, we got eaten by giant, rabid, mutant squirrels! Help..."

Write on our walls! Tell us about your camping experiences around Michigan. The good. The bad. The unforgettable.

WLUC-TV / YouTube

I remember making little chains out of Starburst wrappers when I was a kid, but building an entire garment with them?

That's what Diane McNease of Ishpeming High School has done.

WLUC-TV produced a short piece on McNease and her dress. Here it is (I like the host's reaction to the lead of the story):

McNease definitely has some artistic flair. She said she strung wrappers in the dress below the corset to "give the illusion that the dress is, kind of like, falling apart."

She said friends donated around 18,000 wrappers for the corset, matching hair bands, and purse. It took her around 5 months to make.

More evidence that young kids today are far from slackers. We stopped after stringing 10 Starburst wrappers together.

screen grab / michiganprotectors.weebly.com/members.html

Another Michigan superhero has drawn the attention of local police.

Just as Petoskey Batman is wrapping up his probation, Bee Sting turns up in Burton, Michigan with a little shotgun mishap.

user chkpnt / YouTube

These helmets are not for kids with medical conditions, but for your run-of-the-mill little snappers who take a dive every now and again.

Sue Toms on MLive asks whether these helmets are necessary on their "Question of the day."

I can’t help but feel sorry for parents of small children trying to figure out how much to protect and how much to let go in a world where their fears are fodder for profit-making marketing campaigns.

Do infants need 3.2 ounces of foam and Lycra, with little bunny ears, strapped on their heads as they crawl or walk in their living room? The doctors, paramedics and psychiatrists endorsing the product on the website say they do.

But watching a YouTube video of a toddler cruising along a coffee table wearing a Thudguard on his head is a little unnerving...

Here's the video... complete with a close call with a sandal.

Too much?

user hyku / wikimedia commons

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld the convictions of a man and woman from Michigan's Upper Peninsula who were accused of trying to blackmail actor John Stamos.

A three-judge panel in Cincinnati rejected challenges to the indictment Monday as well as claims that Allison Coss and Scott Sippola should have received a break at sentencing for accepting responsibility.

They were sentenced to four years in prison in 2010 after a jury convicted them of conspiracy and using email to threaten a person's reputation. Coss and Sippola threatened to sell old photos of Stamos with strippers and cocaine to the tabloids unless he paid $680,000. The FBI said the photos didn't exist.

Stamos met Coss in Florida in 2004 and had a friendship.

Courtesy of the Petoskey, Michigan Department of Public Safety.

It all started last year.

That's when police in Petoskey turned on their caped crusader - "Petoskey Batman."

From UPI:

A Michigan man nicknamed the "Petoskey Batman" after he was arrested while wearing a Batman costume on a rooftop was sentenced to six months of probation.

Mark Wayne Williams, 32, of Harbor Springs, was arrested May 11 after being spotted on a Petoskey rooftop while wearing a Batman costume and carrying weapons including a baton-like striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray and a pair of sand-filled Sap gloves.

This raises two questions. What in the world are "sand-filled Sap gloves"? And what was the plan for them?

Last October, a judge sentenced Williams to six months of probation. He was banned from donning his bat-suit for the duration of his probation.

Now we hear news that "Petoskey Batman" plans to hang up the suit permanently.

He's auctioning it off on E-Bay, with a starting bid set at $100. From the listing:

Well folks here's the deal my bud got himself in trouble last year hanging off a building(i'm sure you've all seen it on the news, we got a good chuckle here.) Seems "The Petoskey Batman" Needs some cash for his legal fees. So what were doing is Auctioning off the suit that was made famous round the world on the nightly news and most of the late night comics(gloves not included lol.) Will come with a signed statement and picture of him next to it, hell he'll even sign the picture for you.

p.s. It has been laundered lol
happy bidding folks
Shipping listed is for U.S. only Canada and International will be higher 

So far, there have been zero bids. But there are more than 2 days left. No word on yet on plans for, or the existence of, the Petoskey Batmobile. 

*Correction - a previous version used the phrase "begs the question" incorrectly. It's been corrected in the copy above.

The longest basketball shot? How can we really know? / YouTube

Every summer, it seems there's some new water recreation device on the Great Lakes, I wonder if we'll see the "Dolphinator" anytime soon.

That's not what the inventor, Franky Zapata, calls it, that's what Robert Krulwich calls it on his blog "Krulwich Wonders":

I'm looking at this thing and thinking it should be renamed "The Dolphinator," because this is about as close as a human is ever going to get to flying in and out of the air and sea as dolphins do. In fact, it beats the dolphins.

Have a look:

I can't wait to spot one in action on the Lakes. I don't know how hard it would be to get your hands on one (Mr. Zapata's online store is down at the moment). But Krulwich writes that the "Dolphinator" (as it is now known here at Michigan Radio), costs $6,441.

And riding it is a snap... according Zapata:

"...the Flyboard is very intuitive : it’s like learning to walk. Find your balance and you will become Flying Man or Dolphin Man! Between 2 and 20 minutes are needed to learn with an instructor and 20 minutes/ 1 hour without." 

Sign me up.

screen shot

The Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Company want to create a new ice cream flavor... one that captures the spirit of the Michigan outdoors.

Here's more from the Hudsonville Creamery:

The Department of Natural Resources and Pure Michigan are partnering with Hudsonville Ice Cream to create a unique flavor that best represents all that Michigan State Parks and the great outdoors have to offer.

And it has to be appetizing, so "black fly" and "pine tar" are likely not good options.

You can suggest flavors on their page, or suggest them below.

I believe "Moosetracks," and "Bear Claw" are already taken.

rap-up.com

The front man for the pop music group the Black Eyed Peas, William James Adams, Jr., more commonly known as Will.I.Am, announced that he will start a car company in East Los Angeles, the neighborhood he grew up in.

"I invested my money in building my own vehicle, because I want to bring jobs to the ghetto that I come from, so why not invest like I invested in making a demo to start the Black Eyed Peas," said Adams.

He's not building a car from the ground up - more like modifying a car with existing Chrysler parts.

Here he is announcing the new venture, IAMAUTO, on the Tonight Show (apologies if you have to suffer through a commercial):

Jalopnik, the Gawker website of the automotive world, didn't take the announcement too well.

Here's what Matt Hardigree wrote in his post "Will.I.Am Launches Crappy Car Company":

I didn't watch Leno last night, so all of this is coming via one online report attached to this picture. I'd like to think it's a hoax but it's so bad it seems like it could credibly be a BEP byproduct.

The vehicle will be built using "OEM parts from Chrysler" with a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system. Given he drives a Chrysler 300 in his new video it's likely this is the basis for the car. Lord help us if it's a Chrysler 200.

Will.I.Am wants Leno to test drive the car when it comes out.

Yarn bombers have been "bombing" all across the country.

They knit their creations around trees, parking meters, light poles, and statues.

In Cincinnati, an entire city bus was "yarn-bombed" (see the slideshow above for a picture of that "bombing").

But along South Ashley Street in Ann Arbor recently, yarn has been put to a different kind of use.

A "yarn giver" has been leaving items for people to discover - or perhaps there are multiple "yarn givers."

Changing Gears reporter Kate Davidson recently spotted several parking signs draped with scarves.

The note attached to each scarf read "If you are cold take this."

When we came back to take a picture, one scarf was left.

And more than scarves are being left. Last month, my wife found a hat on a fence post along S. Ashley St.

Thinking someone lost it, she took a closer look to discover a note that read "FREE! Handmade wool and alpaca hat for YOU!" (photo in the slideshow).

The discovery totally lifted her spirit, and reminded her of the goodness in people.

Small gestures, either from "yarn-givers" or "layaway-payers," can be especially helpful in a world dominated by news of recession, conflict, and controversy.

Michigan to Wisconsin: Hands off our mitten image

Dec 7, 2011
travelwisconsin.com

In a fight over mittens, the gloves have come off.

Michigan and Wisconsin are tussling over which state can rightly lay claim to using mittens in their public-relations and tourism campaigns.

Michiganders, who have long nicknamed the state’s lower peninsula “The Mitten,” for its similar shape to a hand, have taken good-natured umbrage to a new campaign launched by Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism, which uses a knit-brown mitten to represent the shape of the state.

Wisconsin began using the new image in tourism campaigns on Dec. 1, and tells the Detroit Free Press it follows up on an earlier seasonal campaign that used an image of a leaf shaped like the state in the fall. A Wisconsin Department of Tourism spokesperson tells the newspaper that people in Wisconsin consider their state mitten-shaped as well.

Dave Lorenz, who manages public relations for the state of Michigan, tells the Free Press that, “We understand their mitten envy. But there is only one mitten state, only one Great Lakes state.”

Priestmangoode

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in Michigan for high speed higher speed rail.

For that, we'll get trains that can travel 110 m.p.h. for much of the Detroit to Chicago trip.

A modest boost in speed is about as much as we can ask for given the state of our infrastructure (over the summer, some passenger trains in Michigan were ordered to travel at 25 m.p.h. because of the sorry state of the tracks).

One drawback to train travel is the number of stops along the way. Detroit to Chicago has stops in Dowagiac, Niles, and New Buffalo, Michigan.

What if the train could just slow down around those stops?

Behold the "Moving Platforms" concept from Paul Priestman of the English design group Priestmangoode (bob head while watching):

O.k. - this pie-in-the-sky idea has been around for awhile. New Scientist magazine writes that they first featured an article about a similar idea in 1969.

Priestman told CNN that its valuable to throw off the chains and think big:

While Priestman admits that it will be some time before his vision could be implemented, he says the time has come to rethink how we travel.

"This idea is a far-future thought but wouldn't it be brilliant to just re-evaluate and just re-think the whole process?" he says.

But why not dream big?

Meet George Jetson while you think about it:

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Sometimes we collect some great sound for our stories.

Michigan Radio's Rebecca Williams caught this sound of Narragansett turkeys gobbling and barking for her microphone.

Their timing is perfect.

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

("They're old time turkeys, much closer to wild. They don't have the broad breasts, so proportionally for eating..." *turkeys gobble in unison here* "...they have more dark meat to white meat.")

So, for your Thanksgiving enjoyment, here's a Narragansett turkey ringtone pulled from this Thanksgiving feature story:

To make the ringtone work, right click and download the MP3 file above.

Once you have it, you can send it to your phone. From WikiHow:

Send the file to your phone. Here are three ways:

1. Email the MP3 file to your phone as an attachment. In just a minute or so, your phone should receive your file. Your phone’s email address is your 10-digit number at your carrier’s email URL.

Example: 5555555555@company.net

AT & T: @mms.att.net

Sprint: @messaging.sprintpcs.com

T-Mobile: @tmomail.net

Verizon: @vzwpix.com or @vtext.com

Send a picture message or text message to your email account if your carrier is not listed. This will give you an address to reply to your phone.

2. Use Bluetooth technology to directly send files from your computer (at a short distance). This only works if you have a phone that is BlueTooth enabled and has the OBEX File Transfer Profile and it is also dependent on what kind of computer system you have.

3. Transfer the file by an USB cable (if applicable to your phone model).

Open the email on your phone, save the sound clip under message options, set it as a ringtone, and enjoy!

wikimedia commons

The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reported on the find by an attorney from Howell, Jules Fiani.

They report that Fiani found $1,160 in a white envelope outside of a Dairy Queen last May. He turned the found money into police, but when no one claimed it, the police returned it to him.

From the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus:

Although Fiani could keep the money, he said, "It's all going to charitable organizations."

"It's found money and it's the right thing to do," Fiani said. "I wish I had more to give away."

The first $250 is earmarked for the Sheriff's Department's Shop With a Cop program, which pairs underprivileged children in the community with a police officer to shop for Christmas gifts.

"It's been really exciting dropping money off," Fiani said Thursday, noting that so far he's made donations to Make-A-Wish and Gleaners Community Food Bank.

Steve Burt / Flickr

Colder weather means squirrels are looking for indoor homes and places to cache their food. Some are more aggressive in establishing their indoor domiciles than others.

From the Associated Press:

Officials at Consumers Energy are blaming a squirrel for knocking out electrical service to about 10,000 customers yesterday in the Grand Rapids area. The critter managed to get into a piece of equipment at a substation, briefly knocking out power.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor residents were warned about a potential danger lurking around the city today.

These are likely the smaller, softer, and less dangerous versions of true velociraptors.

Be alert today!

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