Friday, February 3, 2012

Step AWAY from That Toilet!

Thought for the day:  If you think alkaline batteries were named after a Tiger outfielder, you just might live in Michigan.

Sunrise on Lake Michigan
I've only been to Michigan once, and it was just for a long weekend. We drove all the way up there for a wedding, and then drove all the way back. Talk about a long drive. Matter of fact, the marriage didn't last much longer than our drive did.

But it was a pretty state. Lots of flat land. A sky so low, it looked like you could touch it. And for that outdoor September wedding in a gorgeous white rented tent ... it snowed.

One thing I find interesting about Michigan is its split personality. Parts of it are very big city-congested and dirty, while others contain lots of open spaces and beautiful Victorian homes. And moose. Let's not forget the moose. I'm not sure, but I think their idea of a seven-course meal up there is a six-pack of beer and a bag of smelt, and with all their cold weather and snow, they pretty much define summer as three months of bad sledding. They also have more than eleven thousand inland lakes, and the state abuts four of the five Great Lakes. Combined, that adds up to the longest freshwater shoreline in the world, which equates to lots of water activities, and lots of scenic lighthouses. In that picture of Lake Michigan above, the building you see is the Adler planetarium. The picture may be showing sunrise, but it sure looks like a gorgeous setting to me.

Here's one of Michigan's Holland Harbor lighthouse. Dontcha love its bold color and unique structure?

This old picture, circa 1878, shows rowers passing Detroit's Boat Club. This sure isn't an image I ever would've associated with Detroit.

The Paint Creek Cider Mill. Pretty, isn't it?

Grand Rapids is home to this 24-foot da Vinci horse,  the largest bronze sculpture in the western hemisphere.

Indian River is home of the largest crucifix in the world. It's called the Cross in the Woods.

Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. For the past 125 years, the J.W. Westcott has been delivering mail to ships while they are still underway.

Allegedly, the Soo Locks, between Lakes Superior and Huron, passes more tonnage of goods than the Suez and Panama Canals combined.

At forty-eight feet tall, with a wind arrow twenty-six feet long, and weighing 3500 pounds, Montague boasts the largest weatervane in the world.

The Saugatuck Ferry is the only remaining chain-driven ferry in the world. It's actually hand-propelled.

Detroit's Guardian building, built 1928-9, is nicknamed the cathedral of finance. Originally home of the Union Trust, this art deco building housed a number of other businesses over the years. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1989, and today houses mostly retail shops. Shown in the picture is this building's impressive main lobby.

Michigan is, of course, known as the long-time car capital of the world. Shown in the picture is Henry Ford on a 1905 Quadricycle.

The Henry Ford Museum is located in Dearborn, and here's a brief tour of some of the totally cool vehicles that can be seen there:

Time to take a look-see to find out what kinds of nutty laws can still be found on the books in Michigan.

  • It's illegal to be drunk on trains. (Guess that means no coq au vin in the dining car.)
  • It's against the law for a man to seduce and corrupt an unmarried girl. (He has to wait until after she ties the knot.)
  • A woman isn't permitted to cut her own hair without her husband's permission. (Suppose she's single?)
  • But it IS legal for a robber to file a law claim if he gets injured while robbing your house.
  • There is a ten-cent bounty paid for each rat's head brought into a town office. (EW! Just think about all those poor headless bodies running around.)
  • It's against the law to swear in front of women and children. (Repealed in 2002, probably after lawmakers realized some of the women and children swore like longshoremen.)
  • In Clawson, it's legal for a farmer to sleep with his pigs, cows, horses, goats, and chickens. (After the insufferable boor tells his wife she can't cut her hair, he may have no other choice.)
  • In Detroit, you're only permitted to make love in an automobile if it's parked on your own property.
  • And willfully destroying your old radio is prohibited. (How about if I accidentally throw it out the window?)
  • It is also illegal for a man to scowl at his wife on Sundays. (But she can scowl at HIM ... especially if he won't let her get a haircut.)
  • And it's illegal to let your pig run free, unless it has a ring in its nose.
  • In Harper Woods, it's against the law to paint sparrows and try to sell them as parakeets. (I guess someone must have actually tried to DO that!)
  • In Kalamazoo, it's illegal to serenade your girlfriend. (The way some people sing, this may be a blessing.)
  • All bathing suits must be inspected by the head of police in Rochester. (Think there's (ahem) stiff competition for this job?)
  • In Soo, it's against the law to smoke in bed. (Oh, boy, I could reeeeeally say something here, but I'll behave.)
  • And finally, in Wayland, if you want to keep your cow on Main Street, it'll cost you three cents a day.(What a bargain! Cheaper than parking a car.)

And, now it's that time again, boys and girls. It's time for (ta-DA!)

The Weirdest News Stories of the Week

***  I've heard of efforts to eliminate waste in the workplace before, but this is downright ridiculous. Picture this: flashing lights, a blaring alarm, and the loud admonition, "Time's up, you slacker! Get yer can off that can!" Okay, so that isn't exactly what's happening, but employees at a call center in Norway are being monitored by a high-tech surveillance system that triggers an alarm if they spend more than eight minutes of the workday in the bathroom. That's right. Evidently, flashing lights alert supervisors to the time-wasting  loo loiterers, but needless to say, the employees' union is protesting the crappy policy, and have high hopes this new intrusion into poo-break privacy will go the way of other failed means to control their potty habits. Last year, one Norwegian firm actually made female employees wear a red bracelet during their "time of the month" to justify more frequent trips to the bathroom. (Think they considered brown bracelets for employees with the runs, or green ones for tummy upsets and pregnancies?) Another company made employees sign a lavatory visitor's book, and still another issued electronic bathroom key cards. And here, I always considered Norway to be a bastion of freedom and individual rights. Turns out some of their companies have forgotten about man's inalienable right to sit on the throne. Hmmmph! I'm betting their bathrooms don't even have magazine racks.

*** Do you know what's in YOUR hamburger? It could be those old commercials demanding, "Where's the beef?" weren't too far off the mark. McDonald's has just magnanimously announced that it no longer uses ammonium hydroxide in its burgers. Let's break out the brass band. (In case you aren't familiar with that particular chemical, it's a pink slimy substance most commonly used in the making of fertilizers, household cleaners, and homemade explosives.) Although the company decided at the beginning of last year to discontinue the practice, they opted to be fiscally responsible by depleting the chemical stockpile it already had. (Money is money, right?) Took them until August to use it all up, but the company waited until just recently to make its grandiose announcement. McDonald's claims its decision to drop the process has nothing to do with the public campaign conducted by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who's been alerting the public about the use of this chemical and saying, "Basically we're taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest form for dogs and making it 'fit' for humans."  It may be true that negative publicity had absolutely nothing to do with the burger chain's decision to drop the use of this chemical, but personally, I hope the good chef continues his campaign about some of the other chemicals we unknowingly consume on a regular basis. (Like silicon dioxide and propylene glycol.) In the meantime, care to join me at the salad bar?

***  Researchers at the University of North Carolina have determined that zapping testicles with ultrasound may be an effective male contraceptive. For men who may be wont to cross their legs and screech an ultrasound protest at the very thought of the words zap and testicles in the same sentence, fear not. I understand the procedure is painless. I mean, just think about a mammogram. It isn't as though this new procedure squeezes the sperm to death between two cold slabs of metal.

*** After taking pity on a pair of rats she saw in a pet store, a Boston woman purchased the cute little critters to prevent them from being served as some pet snake's main course. Now the rescuer is in dire need of rescuing. She needs to find homes for the rats. The prolific rats. All seventy-one of the not-so-damned-cute-anymore critters. Maybe she shoulda zapped their hairy little testicles with ultrasound, huh?

                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Sorry, but I do know of another hand-cranked, chain-driven, ferry. And I'm going to keep well clear of North Carolina!

  2. I never knew Michigan was so diverse and actually beautiful.

    And what is up with Norway? That is just downright cruel and unusual punishment.

    Have a great weekend Susan.

  3. I never had Michigan on my list of states I wanted to visit ... until now. (In the summer, of course!)

    As for bathroom regulation and what's in my hamburger ... urgghh. What can I say?

  4. That horse is neat. I would like to see that in person.

    I can't believe it snowed in September. Wow!

  5. I didn't know the da Vinci horse was in Michigan. Seems kind of an odd place for it to be.

    And, darn, guess I'll have to save my sparrow/parakeet scam for another state...

  6. Somewhat unnerving to realize that enough of those McD burgers in the past could have been used to blow something up.

  7. I watched the Jamie Oliver video about how the waste meat is processed to make it "edible" for humans. So shocking. Really. I'm going vegan.

    Have a great weekend.

  8. This is one of the best Yammy Fridays ever. Who'da thunk Michigan would be so interesting? And when I think of all the Big Macs I've ever eaten, I could use one of those green bracelets...

  9. Any state that doesn't allow male-on-female scowling on a Sunday is all right with me.


  10. Okay, the toilet alarm is ridiculous.

    On vacation once, we visited the gardens where the Da Vinci horse is. It was gorgeous.

  11. You did a bit of sight seeing.
    I don't know why people bother with weddings any more. My nephew.... one week after all that expense!!! And then they kept the gifts.
    I love to play my old WW2 music. I was just recently listening to Kalamazoo..... At least one knows how to spell it after hearing that.

  12. Oooh, a place I've been to and isn't too far away from here. Except I had no idea it was that pretty or interesting from the parts I saw. Cool.

    It's a known fact, if you see me approaching with scissors, run. Hubby doesn't get a say in this.

    I saw a photo of that pink gloop used in McD's burgers! Barfarama! Glad I haven't eaten there in like a decade.

    Have a great weekend, Susan!

  13. Cro- Ah, good to know. So there's TWO? It's kinda funny doing all this research on the various states, because they all lay claims to being either the first, the biggest, or the only.

    Anne- It really is beautiful. I found a ton of pictures of gorgeous Victorian homes. (But I figured y'all weren't interested in seeing a ton of pictures!) You have a wonderful weekend, too.

    Dianne- Me, too. The more research I do about the various states, the more of them I'd love to visit. As for the burgers, I think maybe we're better off making 'em at home.

    Skippy- We couldn't believe it snowed in September, either. And the poor bride and bridesmaids all wore gowns with spaghetti straps.

    Linda- This isn't the only da Vinci horse. There are a multitude of them around the world, all built to his original specs.

    Delores- Yeah, really. No wonder they always gave me heartburn.

    L.G.- I'm sorry I missed the Oliver video. Or maybe not. Just reading about it was disgusting enough. You have a great weekend, too.

    Austan- HA! That's a good one!

    Pearl- Yeah, but men who are prone to scowl at women will just elevate the number of scowls the rest of the week to make up for Sundays off.

    Connie- How neat that you actually saw that horse. Hope you took some pictures.

    Manzie- I guess every bride wants her day. Too bad more effort is put into planning the wedding day than is put into preparing for all the days and years that follow.

    Carrie- I reckon you'll just have to go back and see some of the rest of it. It turns my stomach to think a restaurant, and restaurant, was feeding that pink slop to us. Barfarama, indeed.

    Take care, y'all.

  14. nice post...
    the Michigan laws are interesting...

    great pictures...

  15. I don't think I've been to Michigan. Looks interesting and I always love the laws you find. What is wrong with my Norwegian cousins, being so weird about the bathroom?


  16. Great post! Some years ago we decided to go to Michigan reason, for no reason other than we hadn't been. It turned out to be one of our best holidays ever. The state offers so much. I read where 69% of the people in Michigan vacation there. I understand why.

    LOLing at the laws - especially the cow law! Actually, it's a better law than those Norwegian laws! Have a great weekend.

  17. I lived in Bad Axe, Michigan for eighteen months, four days twelve hours and fifteen minutes early on in my marriage. Lived is not quite the right verb though. Hubby is from Grand Rapids, MI and that is a very pretty, clean city. Michigan is a beautiful state and everyplace I went, there was always one of the Great Lakes nearby. It has a lot to offer a visitor, but I was very homesick for the east coast.

  18. I went to Mackinac Island once for work...very beautiful. I so love that lighthouse pic you found. Very cool. That news about McDonalds - I am pretty much done ever eating fast food. Ugh! Have a wonderful weekend!

  19. Jyothisathu- Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and pics.

    Janie- I dunno what's up with Norway. Not something I would've expected in that country.

    Kittie- It's interesting that so many of the folks who live there also spend their vacations there. Neat that you've been there, too.

    Arleen- HA! When you broke how long you lived there to the minutes, I could tell you weren't overly enamored of the place ...

    Tracy Jo- Glad you liked that picture of the lighthouse. Reminded me of a subject you'd photograph. As for the fast food, gotcha. Who knows what else is in their mystery meat?

    Take care, all.

  20. Zapping and testicles and furry rat balls and ferries? You ain't nothing if not diverse. Uh, maybe that's perverse. No, that's me.

  21. I live just across the lake from Michigan, so I'm familiar with it's beauty. The northern peninsula is absolutely gorgeous! The Soo is a nickname for Sault (pronounced Soo) Saint Marie which is one of the oldest French settlements and started as a fur trading post. There is a Sault Ste. Marie, U.S. and Sault Ste. Marie, Can. which are separated by St. Marys River. Now you know...

  22. Mr.C- I prefer to think of it as eclectic.

    Kara- Thanks for the scoop. Whatever ya call it, it's gorgeous!

  23. love the sunrise pic but those bathroom regulations are horrible. I may not love my job but thank goodness they don't keep tabs on how much time we spend in the loo!

  24. where do you find all these pearls?

  25. THANKS for the laughs! Thanking the lord I am not employed in Sweden or a lover of McDonald burgers...parents honeymooned in Michigan back in the '50s...I was there once on business and loved it...

  26. Marcy- Yeah, we Americans take our bathroom breaks very seriously. Our companies better not ... um ... mess with us!

    Al- I eat a lot of oysters!

    Wye- Glad to provide the laughs, dear lady. McDonald's may lose some of their customer base if the public learns about this story ... not for leaving that chemical OUT, but for raising concerns about what else they might be leaving IN.

  27. Reading some of your older posts here, and as a born-and-raised Michigander (Niles, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, and Detroit -- now just living across the state line in Indiana), just wanted to tell you I enjoyed this one.

    Although... On that first picture: If you're looking at the sunrise over Lake Michigan and seeing the Adler planetarium, you're not in Michigan, but in Chicago, Illinois. ;)

    And a couple of other fun Michigan thoughts:

    -- Michigan (at least the lower peninsula) is the only state that you carry a map of on your hand. Ask someone from lower Michigan where they're from and they'll automatically stick up their right palm and point to it.

    -- Besides urban/rural, artsy/industrial, and several others, one of the most prominent split-personalities we have is that whole 'two peninsulas' thing: The "Yoopers" (from "U.P." for Upper Peninsula) and the "Trolls" (those living under the bridge). You want to talk about two radically different environments: Put someone from inner-city Motown next to ol' Sven from da UP, eh?

    -- On the waterfront in Detroit is about the only place in the continental US where you can look south across the river and see Canada (Windsor, Ontario), thanks to a bend in the Detroit River.

    Fun blog, Susan!

  28. Chris- Thanks for taking the time to look back over some of my older posts. Glad you liked this one. Ah, HA! Thanks for the info on that first picture. (The planetarium is actually in Michigan, though, right?) I've got this thing for water ... and lighthouses ... and sunrises ... and planetariums, so I couldn't resist using this picture. I appreciate all your fun facts, and darn it, I actually meant to include something in the post along the lines of, "What country is due south of Detroit?" because I think that is so cool, and something a lot of people wouldn't know. "Cept for you smarty Michiganders, of course. Again, thanks!

  29. @Susan: No problem -- I liked the post.

    But um... No: Adler planetarium is off of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, behind the Field Museum and next to the Shedd Aquarium. Soldier Field (where the Bears play) is also just a stone's throw away.

    Adler is a very cool place, but while it's on Lake Michigan, it's not IN Michigan.

    Water we've got, lighthouses we've got a ton of, sunrises (and awesome sunsets over Lake Michigan) we've got, and we've even got several planetariums ( Just not Adler.

    This is still an awesome post and a great picture, though.


  30. Chris- Well, darn. Teach me to trust the info I find on a free picture website. I should've asked my son before posting it. He went to school in Chicago, so he probably would've been able to set me straight, too. Thank you, dear sir.