Offbeat

Offbeat

LinkedIn

It's probably safe to say most of us shy away from thinking about and talking about death.

As medical science has developed the technology to keep us alive longer it seems we have become more and more squeamish about death itself, even though - you got to admit - it is the one thing in life that happens to each and every one of us.

There is a movement trying to change that: the Death Café. Merilynne Rush is a home funeral guide, and she has brought the Death Café to Ann Arbor.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - An implosion planned for December is taking down Flint's tallest building.

Uptown Reinvestment bought downtown Flint's 19-story Genesee Towers in March from the city for $1.

Multiple news outlets are reporting Jacksonville, Fla.-based Drilling & Blasting will handle implosion engineering and blasting efforts, with help from Michigan-based Burnash Wrecking Inc. and Certified Abatement Services Inc.

The demolition is part of a $32 million redevelopment plan.

Ohio State TV / YouTube

Marching bands around the nation, be warned. Ohio State has taken it up a notch.

Scroll to 4:12 to see Michael Jackson take shape, and then... moonwalk!

It shows what you can do with 230+ band members - or "pixels" for those in the stands.

It's cool and all, but Michigan has a jet pack guy!

(H/T HuffPo Detroit)

Time Magazine

Researchers studied certain psychological traits across the country and found that Michiganders are fairly agreeable and extroverted (we rank 16th) and somewhat neurotic (we rank 27th).

All of this is according to a study called "Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economical, Social, and Health Correlates," published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Time Magazine posted the test so anyone can see where they belong based on their personality.

The researchers say this study could challenge how we think about our country (by voting patterns, cultural stereotypes, and economic indicators) and regroup Americans based on their psychological tendencies.

user jonballard / Flickr

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles were designed to resist improvised explosive device attacks.

Something police forces in the U.S. would rarely have a need for.

But the police force for Ohio State University says they’ll likely use their newly-acquired MRAP on football game days in Columbus.

More from the Lantern:

OSU often borrows vehicles of similar quality to serve previously listed purposes during large events like football gamedays, Denton said.

It will serve primarily as a mode of transportation and protection for University Police, Denton said. He added the vehicle will be used if a situation arises but will primarily be used in instances where University Police has a strong presence, such as gamedays, Denton said.

“The Game” just got real.

When a government shutdown loomed in 2011, the Twitterverse had some fun with #govtshutdownpickuplines.

They're back!

Here are some of the better, slightly naughty ones we're seeing (we also also checked #shutdownpicklines):

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s no secret that Detroit is much smaller than it used to be.

The city’s population peaked at a little under two million people in the 1950s. It’s declined steeply since then, to about 700,000.

People are still leaving the city. But the rate is slowing, as some people discover new reasons to move in.

Here’s a story about two Detroit households moving in opposite directions — and the different forces tugging on the city’s population.

“We really felt led to live here”

At Jen Janke’s house, conversations can get a little sidetracked.

https://vine.co/v/h1H3leHbvKK / Nicci Joyce

This week officials at Grand Valley State University will begin meeting to consider how to reinstall a sculpture that became the subject of several viral videos this month.

GVSU removed the steel pendulum a few weeks ago after several students posted videos online of friends trying to swing on the sculpture. The parodies of Miley Cyrus’ music video “Wrecking Ball” attracted national news media attention.

“It is somewhat of a fun story. It's college students being college students,” said Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president for facility services at GVSU.

screengrabs / FoxSports video

It's not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

The Detroit Tigers had just clinched a division title after a long season, and the Detroit Lions had simply won a game, but the two different ways the head coaches of Detroit's major sports teams celebrate a win does show something about their personalities.

Here's the "Jim Leyland moonwalk" making the rounds online (You can scroll to 1:25 to see the moonwalk, but his heartfelt 'thank you' to his players, staff, and fans is worth watching. - you can follow this link if the video doesn't load below):

And here's the "Jim Schwartz headset throw" going around the net (the Lions had just beaten the Washington Redskins - follow this link if the video doesn't load below):

Maybe it's just the difference between baseball and football.

H/T to Tony Brown.

snapsnot from funnyordie.com

Philadelphia has Rocky, Minneapolis has Mary Tyler Moore -- and soon, Detroit will have RoboCop.

It's just a model of the statue, but you can get a sense for it.

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press describes it this way:

Seeing the 10-feet-tall model for the RoboCop statue drives home the enormity of both the statue and the effort that is bringing the project to life.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

After days of worry, demolition crews successfully brought down part of one downtown Jackson landmark without damaging another.

Demolition crews have spent months gutting the old Consumers Energy headquarters in Jackson.

But Thursday, part of the building started leaning precariously toward a century and a half old church next door.  First Congregational Church and other nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

 

Lucy Perkins / Michigan Radio

On Saturday, August 31, paddlers gathered in Suttons Bay, Michigan to try and break the world record for the largest number of boats touching each other in a body of water. 

I was one of those paddlers. (To see the goose, scroll through the photos above.)

The number to beat was 1,903, which was set in Inlet, New York. 

Paddlers in Suttons Bay tried to break the record last year, but came up short with only 1,750 boats. 

This year, we paddled between two motorboats as we were counted. Then we just drifted together. Planes and remote-controlled cameras flew over us, taking pictures. 

As the cameras flew, shouts echoed across the lake. "Everybody hold on to somebody!" Then, the unofficial count was announced. 2,099! Suttons Bay broke a world record!

Well -- maybe.

Right now, Suttons Bay Floatilla officials are waiting to see if we were disqualified.

After all the boats paddled together, the cluster floated around a motor boat that was moored in the bay. If any of the kayaks or canoes were touching the motor boat, we are disqualified. 

Guinness World Records officials are reviewing the materials now.

To put the number in perspective, Suttons Bay High School has less than 350 students. The village itself (Suttons Bay is too small to be a town) only has 610 residents, according to the 2010 Census. 

2,099 people might not seem like a big group to you, but it's a lot for us. And its enough to break a world record. 

In last night's Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert featured an interview with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-5th - D), in his segment "Better Know a District."

In the course of the segment, Colbert "vogue's" Kildee, 'does' some sugar beet sugar, and steals Kildee's wallet.

Have a look:

(If the video doesn't load for you - follow this link)

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

1,603 people responded to a Business Insider poll about standout qualities of each state in the U.S. 

Does Michigan have a weird accent? No. But Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Louisiana do. 

Best food? Not even close. But apparently South Carolina weirdly has better food than we do. What do people in South Carolina even eat?

Worst food: Alaska.  Ah, yes. In this category, Michigan barely scrapes by. We don't have the best eats, but we don't have the worst.

The vaguely sweeping categories of "greatest state" and "craziest state" and "state with the hottest residents" was won by California, while Texas takes the cake as the "worst state." What does that mean?

screen grab / Times Herald

Police got a little nervous yesterday when a man showed them a bomb he said he found when diving in Lake St. Clair.

Here's how it went down, according to the Times Herald:

Port Huron Police Sgt. Dave Seghi said a Port Huron man came into the police department around 12:30 p.m. to explain that he had found the object on the bottom of Lake St. Clair and would be taking it home.

Dustin Cable / Cooper Center

Dustin Cable is a demographer who mapped race in the U.S.

Every dot on the map is smaller than one pixel and represents one person. 

Yes, there are 308, 745,538 dots on this map. 

Cable used population data from the 2010 Census to create this comprehensive image. Here's the key to different colors he used to represent different races:

  • Blue: White
  • Green: Black
  • Orange: Hispanic
  • Red: Asian
  • Brown: Other/Native American/multi-racial

If you take a look at the whole country, you can see a lot of segregation. But there are also colors that blend together, like the purple area that covers Chicago.

rhizome.org

Some serious learning is about to happen.

Parliament-Funkadelic's "Mothership" will land at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Here's the Mothership landing in its heyday:


George Clinton Dr Funkenstein Mothership by oublierleracismeskyblog

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

Owners promise it's not the end. They say they're still looking for a new location, but it IS the end for Blimpy at its historic location on the corner of Division and Packard Streets in Ann Arbor.

The University of Michigan bought the building and plans to build a dormitory on the site.

Today is the last day for the public to stop by and enjoy a "quad (or a quint!) on a kaiser bun with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg with fried veggies on the side."

The line is around the block, expect long waits. And remember:

Jim Dreyer's Facebook page / Facebook

Forget those sharks we’re hearing about off of Cape Cod.

We’ve had a shark of our own swimming in the Great Lakes. And he just crossed Lake St. Clair, swimming 22 miles, all alone, while pulling two inflatable boats carrying a ton of bricks.

Jim Dreyer of Grand Rapids calls himself “The Shark.” And, when you look back over his extreme endurance feats, you’ll agree: he’s earned the right to call himself just about anything he pleases. Jim has set records swimming across all five of the Great Lakes, distance records, speed records. All of this from a guy who says he had to overcome a deep-seated fear of water.

Jim Dreyer joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Flickr user © Stranger / Flickr

If you are a baby-boomer who grew up in Michigan, chances are good you remember a particular point in time when you were out in your backyard, peering into the night sky, searching for UFOs.

For one week in March of 1966, Michigan was awash with reports of UFO sightings. Scores of people called police to report suspicious items in the sky. Ultimately, the Air Force dismissed these sightings as nothing more than "swamp gas," causing then-Congressman Gerald Ford to fire off an indignant statement, declaring that people deserved a better explanation than something as laughable as "swamp gas."

Rudi Lindner is a professor of History and Astronomy at the University of Michigan. He teaches a class called "Discovery of the Universe" that includes the history of UFOs.

Jerry Vile

So... anyone need a four-foot-tall can of Crisco?

Last week, Detroit-based artist Jerry Vile left a present for his recently bankrupt hometown -- a massive can of Crisco, placed under the Monument to Joe Louis, better known as The Fist.

Now the installation, titled “The Vessel of Hope” is up for auction on eBay.

At last check, the Crisco’s current bid sits at $560, with 12 currently vying for the giant can (and no, there’s no Crisco inside it).

“This piece represents my peaking as an artist,” Vile said on the selling page. “I am most likely never going to be able to do anything that gets the kind of attention or hits the nerve that this did.”

beraxe / wikimedia commons

It was only a matter of time for opposing sports fans to strike at Detroit's soft spot.

During last night's MLB game with the Tigers' American League Central rivals, the Cleveland Indians, fans in Cleveland chanted "Detroit Bankrupt."

Take a listen (ignore the voiceover):

The Tigers got the last laugh.

They beat the Indians 6-5 in extra innings, extending their win streak to 11, and going another game up on Cleveland.

Jeff Wattrick at Deadline Detroit had some words for Cleveland fans - saying they love their sports teams --

But those teams just don't love them back. The Browns moved to Baltimore and won two Super Bowls as the Ravens, while the replacement Browns remain subpar. Lebron James' free agency signing with Miami sent Cleveland into a tailspin culminating with their sad attempt to claim the 2011 Dallas Mavericks' championship as their own. Then, there's the Indians. They haven't won a World Series since the 1940s. Also, Jose Mesa and the 1997 World Series.

Jim Dreyer's Facebook page / Facebook

He very well may be the first shark in Lake St. Clair -- and certainly the first one hauling a ton of bricks.

Long-distance swimmer, motivational speaker, and Michigan native Jim Dreyer -- who calls himself “The Shark” -- finished up a 22-mile swim today from Algonac to Belle Isle. But just in case the swim across Lake St. Clair wasn’t enough, Dreyer raised the stakes on his charity swim for Habitat for Humanity: The Shark is pulling along two dinghies holding 2,000 pounds of bricks.

Dreyer was expected to finish his swim yesterday, but his journey took a day longer than expected.

A post on his Facebook page said he was in good shape as he finished up his swim:

And I am sure most of you figured out he has been swimming over 48 hours, non stop!! Making all long distance open water swimmers proud!! Making Pure Michigan proud too.

Melissa's Mid-life Musings

It's time to jump in the way-back machine:

Reports and tweets indicate that Laura Ingalls Wilder Melissa Gilbert has moved from Hollywood Hills to Howell, Michigan.

Willow Run Factory and B-24 bombers
U.S. Army Signal Corps

There's a song from 1942 written by Red Evans and John Jacob Loeb that celebrates one of the most important groups to emerge on the home front in World War Two.

Collectively known as "Rosie the Riveter," women covered their hair with bandanas and picked up their tools to work in war production in factories all across America.

One of the most important plants in the war effort was the Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti Township. Henry Ford built it to make B-24 bombers. 8, 685 bombers rolled off the assembly line at Willow Run during the war.

Emma Rancour was one of those Rosie the Riveters who worked at Willow Run. She installed radios in the flight decks of those Liberators.

These days, Emma Rancour lives in South Lyon. She joined us today to talk about her time at the plant.

Listen to the full interview above.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A bunch of guys and a bunch of lawn mowers.  That's the basic idea behind the volunteer Detroit Mower Gang - which cuts the grass at city parks in Detroit every other Wednesday night. This past week, the Gang mowed about 25 acres in Stoeppel Park Number Two on the city's west side.  Barbara Davis lives across from the park - where for many kids, the grass was chest-high. "It's terrible," said Davis. "They usually got to cut a path and tramp right to the swing set because the grass is so tall.

edwin.bautista / Flickr

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - A well-known Michigan brewer is pulling out of a major beer festival because of planned political fundraising at the event.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports Bell's Brewery Inc. won't participate in this weekend's 16th Annual Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti after the brewer's founder and president Larry Bell learned about the Protect Michigan Craft Beer Political Action Committee's plans.

Bell says he finds it "distasteful" to involve politics in the Michigan Beer Guild event.

Allison Downey / Michigan Radio

In July's segment of The Living Room, Allison Downey investigated the lure of American carnivals.

She interviewed several workers about their experiences living and traveling with the carnival. Some of them were born into the carnival life, some of them turned to the carnival as a means of escape, but all of them are there because it's what they love.

The Living Room on Michigan Radio is produced by Allison Downey and Zak Rosen.

The song at the end of the story,"Take Me to the Fair" was written by Ann Arbor's own Annie Capps and performed by Annie & Rod Capps with Jason Dennie.

Listen to the full interview above.

OfficialTDShow / Youtube

Yesterday, The Daily Show’s John Oliver did a short feature on Detroit and the city’s bankruptcy. 

In a bit entitled "Chapter 9 Mile," Oliver takes a humorous look at the slow emergency response in the city and his lack of surprise that the Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr (a bankruptcy lawyer) declares bankruptcy.

But jabs at the media make for the greatest laughs. Oliver points out the abundance of bad puns about the bankruptcy and the amount of reporting on Detroit that actually takes place in Chicago.

user: whitneyinchicago / Flickr

We know the question everyone has been asking about the impending arrival of a new member of the British royal family. 

No, of course it's not, will it be a girl or a boy. We are, after all, public radio consumers. What we really want to know is: What will the economic impact of the royal birth be on the U.K. economy?

Pages