Sault Ste. Marie

Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from PureMichigan.org.

Weird Wednesday: 3-2-1 Happy … UFOs?

linda-godfrey The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan, when Linda Godfrey gives you a sample of what’s weird in the Wolverine State. You can listen to Linda’s latest podcasts and report your own strange encounters at weirdmichigan.com, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/lindagodfrey and also check out her books including Weird Michigan & Strange Michigan.

ufos-over-sooNew Year’s Eve is a night when everyone expects to see sparkly lights. But many have reported seeing lights in Michigan skies in places where there are no fireworks, candles or other celebratory sources to account for them.

One recent report came to me from the little town of Mount Pleasant, where three young men witnessed a triangular UFO the week after Thanksgiving, 2009. The writer estimated its height at 200 feet, and it was traveling in a straight line “a little bit slower than a small airplane” and featured a large white light on each corner of the triangle which enclosed three smaller red lights. It made a “low humming noise” as it flew slowly overhead. The time was about 8 p.m. and the night was very clear, he said.

Another inexplicable sighting — this one in broad daylight — occurred in Sault Ste. Marie on June 28, 2006, when a local building contractor looked out his window around noon and saw a metallic object as big as his own house hovering 1,000 feet above him. His neighbor and mother-in-law also saw it. They reported it to Police Chief Lou Murray, who described the trio as credible witnesses. The man did run for his video camera but found that the batteries went dead when he tried to capture the strange sight.

Pandora’s Locks: How Invasive Species got into the Great Lakes

Shell Cluster by johndecember
Shell Cluster by johndecember

2009 is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and while linking ports on Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario to the world’s shipping hubs increased trade in the Great Lakes region, it also opened the door to zebra mussels and a host of invasive species.

Journalist Jeff Alexander has a new book titled Pandora’s Locks that explores this issue. The publisher’s web site says:

Pandora’s Locks is the story of politicians and engineers who, driven by hubris and handicapped by ignorance, demanded that the Seaway be built at any cost. It is the tragic tale of government agencies that could have prevented ocean freighters from laying waste to the Great Lakes ecosystems, but failed to act until it was too late. Blending science with compelling personal accounts, this book is the first comprehensive account of how inviting transoceanic freighters into North America’s freshwater seas transformed these wondrous lakes.

There’s a nice interview with Alexander from the Environment Report where he notes that while offloading cargo in Montreal would cost an extra $55 million per year, it’s a fraction of the $200 million cost of invasive species, not to mention the unknown cost of ruining an ecosystem.

You can check out the list of invasive species in the Great Lakes from the EPA and get some information about the history of the St. Lawrence Seaway and events surrounding the 50th anniversary from the Seaway’s web site.

Wierd Wednesday: Michigan’s Headless Chicken

File this month’s Weird Wednesday under “Hopeful Stories for Turkeys”. The last Wednesday of every month is a “Weird Wednesday” on Absolute Michigan, when Linda Godfrey brings you 100% of the USRDA of Michigan weirdness. You can listen to Linda’s latest podcasts and read her blog at uncannyworld.com and also check out her books including Weird Michigan & Strange Michigan.

The Chick Inn Triptych by jnhkrawczyk

Brawn beats brains – Michigan’s Headless Chicken

The small town of Fruita, Colorado, holds a yearly festival dedicated to a bird that defied the laws of biology by staying alive after being decapitated for a farmer’s dinner. In 1945, ‘Mike’ the headless chicken lived for eighteen months with only a brain stem and one ear to guide him, and became the star of a national sideshow tour. But he wasn’t the first headless chicken to survive the chopping block. Michigan’s Sault St. Marie boasted a crowd-pleasing, black leghorn decades earlier, in 1903. The headless chicken of the ‘Soo’ didn’t live as long as Mike, nor did she match Mike’s dizzying heights of fame and glory (Mike even has his own web site – miketheheadlesschicken.org), but she caused plenty of amazement in her day.

The natural wonder was created by one of the cooks at the Belvidere Hotel, who removed the hen’s noggin and tossed her body into a barrel to be prepared for that night’s roast chicken special. But when the cook pulled the hen’s body out to be plucked, she flew away and began strolling around the hotel’s basement floor.

Too amused to end the hen’s life again, the hotel employees began feeding her oatmeal gruel from a syringe and claimed that she seemed to enjoy her meals, although, as the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News noted, ‘she has no brains and no tongue to taste it with.’ Some of the Belvidere workers, in fact, made a small fortune by betting patrons a dollar that they had a live, headless chicken in the basement, then escorting their dupes to the basement to prove their claim and collect. The stalwart hen did make national newspaper headlines.

Unlike Colorado’s Mike, however, the Soo’s headless black leghorn was not awarded the dignity of a recorded name, and she lived only seventeen days before she finally succumbed. Rumor around town has it she was stuffed not with bread crumbs but a taxidermist’s form, and was displayed at various places. No one seems to know where she ended up. But she was seen by hundreds during those seventeen amazing days, and is remembered now as a testimonial to life and its occasional ability to survive against all conceivable odds.