Editor’s note: I have visited 63 of the 107 state parks in Michigan over the course of my lifetime. I’m about to take you on a little “photo tour!” Please note I am only write-ups about parks I’ve visited and photographed. This might be part of a series of blogs about Michigan State Parks, in honor of the 100th birthday of the parks system. Pictures aren’t always worth a thousand words, but these will make their best efforts to tell the story!
Bewabic State Park (Crystal Falls, MI)
Bewabic State Park is located in the Southwest portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In addition to bringing your own tent or camper, you can also stay the night in a tipi! My only complaint was that the door was too low. Bewabic is located on Fortune Lake. We stayed in the tipi with our niece on an overnight trip, and Mike ALMOST…
Ora Labora – A Lost Colony in Michigan’s North – Part III
Part III of the Ora Labora story takes place in 1864. The costly building to accommodate the colonies 140 residents was costly and the community needs cash to grow. It was time for drastic measures. News of the raging war in the south was looking like the demand for more soldiers was looming. Leaders of the colony knew it would be months or weeks before conscription would take their finest young men. Read more…
The Great Lakes Region hosts the largest supply of fresh water on the planet. The entire region enjoys mild seasons due to the mitigation by the lakes of extreme weather. Indeed the entire area surrounding the Great Lakes area may be considered an oasis as the extreme effects of global warming start to take hold.
Sebewaing Michigan is a town of approximately 1,800 people situated on the shore of Saginaw Bay. Historically this settlement has been in existence for 100’s of years before white settlers as it was a well known fishing and hunting area for the Anishinaabeg group of Indigenous Peoples in North America.
Today it’s one of the sweetest towns Michigan’s Thumb. Known as the Sugar Beet Capital, due to the Michigan Sugar mill located within the village and the yearly Michigan Sugar Festival. The Sebewaing area, the Thumb, and the state of Michigan overall are major beet sugar growers and producers.
The town also was home to Sebewaing Brewing Company which operated until 1966. The cans, beer cases and other memorabilia are known for their collectability.
Black Beans are medium to small, oval shaped beans with a shiny black coat or skin, a small white eye or spot (called a “keel,”) a creamy white interior, and a pleasant mushroom-like flavor which some cooks have described as “earthy” or “meaty.”
According to the Michigan Bean Commission, Michigan is internationally known as an excellent supplier of high quality dry beans. The climate, with rich, well drained, loamy soil, moderate daytime temperatures, and cool evenings are suited for bean production. Michigan is the top state in production of Black Beans, Cranberry Beans, and Small Red Beans.
In 1869, a guy named George Hull, an atheist, created something called the Cardiff Giant after an argument with a bunch of Methodists regarding Nephilim, the supposed giants of Genesis in the Christian Bible.
Hull figured to put one over one the Christians. So he had a huge block of soft gypsum secretly carved into the likeness of a giant man (complete with enormous penis, for some reason that I’m sure Hull found hilarious). He used various chemicals and dyes to “age” his newly created petrified giant. Then he had it secretly buried on his cousin’s farm. He waited a year, for Hull knew the secret to a good prank was patience. After sufficient time, Hull’s cousin, William Newell, who was obviously in on the scam, hired some men to dig a well. And surprise, of course, they “found” the buried giant right where Newell wanted his new well dug.
Word got around fast. And Hull saw possibilities beyond putting one over on some gullible bible thumpers.
The cousin set up a tent and started charging admission and people came from far and wide to see a genuine petrified giant from the Bible.
But It’s Fake
Of course, it didn’t take long for science of the time, primitive as it was, to declare the Cardiff Giant a giant fake.
But predictably the preachers and the holy men and the religious nuts and the sensationalists dismissed science, just as they do today, and claimed the Cardiff Giant proof of whatever con they were using to bilk the wide-eyed suckers.
People didn’t care. They came and plunked down 50 cents apiece, which was a damned steep admission price in those days (the average wage was about $15 per month for unskilled labor in that part of the country, and remember most households were single income). 50 cents was a lot of money.
Eventually George Hull sold the giant to one David Hannum for what today would be half a million dollars.
Hannum moved the giant to Syracuse and started advertising. The resulting crowds – and profits – were so huge that it caught the attention of P.T. Barnum all the way over in New York City.
So, Barnum offered Hannum what today would be almost a million dollars for his giant.
Both men knew the giant was a hoax. But they were showman, and they considered this scam no more or less immoral than the Feejee Mermaid, the Bearded Lady, General Tom Thumb, and Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy, who were staples of Barnum’s American Museum.
Hannum refused to sell, so Barnum copied the Cardiff Giant in wax and had his own artisans fashion a copy. Which he promptly put on display in New York and which he declared the authentic giant and started telling everybody who would listen that Hannum’s original giant was a … well, a hoax. And given that it was indeed a hoax, Hannum couldn’t exactly prove it was an authentic giant, could he?
Hannum was none too pleased by this and retaliated by calling Barnum’s hoax a hoax, and saying of the crowds filing past Barnum’s giant, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Fake It Til You Make It to Court
This being America, eventually the matter ended up in court, where both giants were revealed to be fakes – and to add insult into injury, Hannum’s quote is often attributed to Barnum. So Barnum stole not only Hunnam’s con, but his words about the theft too. That’s business.
Even after both giants were revealed to be fakes, the crowds still came and paid their hard earned money to see the hoax – and the holy men persisted in declaring the fake plaster giants proof of their particular theology. And, in fact, you can still see both giants to this very day, the original is displayed in the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York, and Barnum’s copy at Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
That’s right, more than a hundred years later, people are still paying to see a hoax.
The original crowds, they had a pretty good idea they were being swindled, but they wanted to believe. They wanted the giant to be real. They wanted science to be unwrong. And that’s why the hoax worked. Because there is indeed a sucker born every minute. And by the time the crowds wised up, Hull, Barnum, and Hannum had each cashed out with their fortunes.
And that’s why the hoax of trickle-down economics works.
Because it sounds plausible, providing you don’t look too closely. Because people want to believe even though all the experts are telling them that it doesn’t work. But the difference, you see, is that rich people like Barnum and Hannum know they’re pushing a hoax and they also know most people are too goddamned stupid and gullible to realize it. And even if the marks do suspect a con, they still want to believe.
It looked like the 1980’s again when the northern Detroit stadium was the the home of the Detroit Lions and the site of Super Bowl XVI. The urban ruin of the Pontiac Silverdome is now playing host to 1000’s of Volkswagens parked in the open. VW purchased back the vehicles as part of the $15 Billion settlement the company made as a result of their diesel emissions scandal. The Silverdome is only a few miles away from VW’s North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
The city of Pontiac is suing the owners of the property claiming they don’t have a use permit to store the vehicles. The 82,000 seat Pontiac Silverdome sits abandoned and open to the elements. It’s been a favorite photo shoot site for urban ruins artists and the set of a movie.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ was scheduled to release draft results of a study two years in the making that many hoped would provide a workable plan to combat the invasive species’ advance through Illinois rivers toward Lake Michigan. But a spokesman for the government agency said the release was “deferred” at the ninth hour.
Its expected that the plan would call for improvements would be made on the lock and dam is on the Illinois Des Plaines River, part of a waterway network that links the carp-infested Illinois River with Lake Michigan.
The imported big head asian carp — which are filter feeders that consume huge amounts of biomass and grow to near 100 pounds while outcompeting native species — could wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecosystem and its multi-billion-dollar sport-fishing industry.
Experts predict the carp would devastate the Great Lakes ecosystem through out competing native species as they have in several other locations.
A crushing blow came in yesterday to the Great Lakes region. In the 2018 budget, the Trump administration slashed the EPA’s funding from its paltry $300m to $10m. This effectively guts the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The GLRI funds state and local projects that combat invasive species, restore wildlife habitats and clean up watersheds polluted by a Rust Belt economic legacy across the eight-state Great Lakes region. It has traditionally enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress.
Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — Great Lakes states that backed Trump in the election last year — have all received funding under GLRI.
“These cuts will essentially stop restoration efforts in their tracks in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio,” said.U.S. House Great Lakes Task Force Chair Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.