2008.11.05 A nearly political-free column for your approval

By RICH FOLEY

While you’re wondering what the results of yesterday’s election will mean for us all, here are a few more pieces of odd trivia I’ve stumbled across recently....

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, over 511,000 people in the United States receive medical treatment for ladder-related injuries each year.

In November, 1926, the ship City of Bangor encountered a powerful ice and snow storm near Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. The ship, carrying 220 new automobiles, mostly Chryslers, was forced aground off Keweenaw Point. Eighteen cars had already been blown off the ship’s decks into Lake Superior, never to be recovered.

The remaining vehicles, cut free from the ice over the next month or so, were taken to be stored in Copper Harbor. The following March, U.S. 41 was plowed for the first time ever (it took two weeks to clear the road from Copper Harbor to Phoenix, a distance of less than 20 miles) and a parade of the surviving Chryslers began their trip back to Detroit for repairs.

The last privately owned motor vehicle on Mackinac Island was a 1928 Buick. Its owner fought efforts of locals to ban it for several years, finally losing in court and ordered to stop driving it in 1935. He stored it on blocks in his garage for 40 years, before eventually selling it in 1975. It was shipped by barge to St. Ignace.

Also in 1975, a bullet-proof limousine was transported to the island under cover of darkness for the possible use of President Gerald Ford. Secret Service agents demanded that a car be available before the President could visit. Ford used the traditional horse-drawn method of transportation during his stay, and the limo was removed after his departure, again after dark, with few island residents ever aware of the presence of a dreaded motorcar.

Someone must have been in big trouble after over a million copies of Robbie William’s CD “Rudebox” were made but went unsold. I’ll admit it, I never heard of Mr. Williams in the first place, but how can you manufacture over a million more albums than you can sell, no matter who the artist is? That’s just market research at its worst.

I’m even more puzzled by the solution. The unsold CDs are being shipped to China, where they supposedly will be used to pave roads. How exactly they plan to do that may be a subject for a later column.

The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line on June 30, 1953. Or most likely was pushed off, as it refused to start.

The British ship Lusitania, sunk by Germany at the start of World War I, still lies beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Except, that is, for one of its propellers, which was salvaged and made into 3,500 sets of golf clubs.

Seven years after the World Trade Center attacks, the post office next to the attack site still receives about 300 letters a day addressed to offices in one of the towers.

With the survival of the Chrysler Corporation in doubt and the current popularity of alternative fuel vehicles in the marketplace, have they considered a return of the 1964 Chrysler Turbine car? Fifty cars were made at the time for testing purposes, but the car was never put into production. Designed to run on diesel, it turned out that any flammable liquid would power the car without adjustments or problems.

Fuels used at one time or another in the test cars included unleaded gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, peanut oil, home heating oil, perfume and tequila. 

John Reagan, a former U. S. congressman, was named Postmaster General of the Confederate States of America by Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1861. Despite functioning in wartime conditions that crippled delivery service, Reagan still managed to eliminate the monetary deficit that existed in Southern postal operations.

Arrested at the end of the war, Reagan was later pardoned and, incredibly, re-elected to the U. S. Congress. There, his postal expertise was recognized when he was named as chairman of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads.

Maybe Reagan should have been put in charge of the Pony Express. With rates as high as $5 for a half-ounce letter when normal U. S. postage was no more than a dime, the Express still lost money and lasted only 18 months.

Famous people who used to work for the Postal Service include Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, Rock Hudson and William Faulkner. But, strangely,  no mention of Newman or Cliff Claven.

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    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
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    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
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    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
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    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.