|SIX THINGS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT: MICHIGAN.|
name of the nation's 26th state comes from the Native American word
"Michigama", which means "big lake". However, when you
say "Michigan" most people think of other things.
Do they think of the fact that the state population is just shy of 10 million? Doubtful.
Do they think of the state motto, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you"? Probably not.
Do they think of the state fish, the brook trout, or the state stone, the Petoskey stone? You're getting colder.
No, most people probably think about the birthplace of the automobile, Eminem, Kid Rock and The White Stripes. But there's so much more to the Wolverine State than greenhouse gases and white-trash musicians. For example, Francis Ford Coppola was born in Michigan, and rumor has it, before Jack and Peggy Sue Got Married, he once made some okay movies. So, before you go and get all hoity-toity, thinking you know everything there is to know about Michigan, you might want to have a look at these six lesser-known facts about Dave Coulier's home-state:
#1. Our Hell Freezes Over.
In the 1840s, a pioneer named George Reeves founded a small town northwest of what is now Ann Arbor, Michigan. Reeves started small, buying a sawmill and a thousand-acre plot of land, on which he grew wheat and built a large water-powered dam. As the years passed, the mill produced hundreds of barrels of flour a day and Reeves came to dominate the town, building houses, a general store, a school and a whiskey distillery. By the time of the Civil War, Reeves was as famous for his whiskey as he was for his flour.
Perhaps anticipating the intense market for cutesy t-shirts and bumper-stickers that would consume the country 150 years later, Reeves named this tiny hamlet Hell. There are two theories of how the town got its name. The first maintains that a pair of German immigrants, upon seeing the wheat fields, said "so schoene hell," commenting on the beauty of the town. ("Hell" means "bright and beautiful in German.) Later, when asked what the town should be called, Reeves was said to remark "I don't care, you can name it Hell if you want to." As for the second, well, Hell was located in a swampy, mosquito-laden patch of land often used by river traders on their way to market. Either way, the name stuck -- providing great fodder for annoying wiseacres all over the state.
#2. We're the Magic Capital of the World.
While Hell and many other towns in Michigan are strong candidates for the title of "the asshole of the state," there's only one Colon, Michigan. In an apparent attempt to remove some of its association with the hole that your poop comes out of, Colon declared itself "Magic Capital of the World" in the 1930s.
What's so magical about it? It was the home of Harry Blackstone, a legendary vaudeville-era magician who pioneered such tricks as the vanishing birdcage, dancing handkerchief and floating light bulb. His son, Harry Blackstone Jr., has carried on the tradition and so has the town, holding an annual magic convention for nearly seven decades. Today, one of Colon's biggest attractions remains the Abbott Magic Novelty Company, which hawks all kinds of magic paraphernalia, like remote control talking skulls, magic wallets and all kinds of card tricks.
I don't know about you, but when I hear Colon -- I'm still thinking about buttholes.
#3. Pop Was Created Here.
Before heading off to fight in the Civil War in 1862, a Michigan pharmacist named James Vernor combined 19 ingredients to make a new elixir and hid the stuff in an oak cask in his store. When he got back from fighting the no-good Rebs four years later, Vernor opened the barrel, poured himself a mug of the aged concoction and viola! Vernors, the nation's first pop, was born.
For 45 years, 233 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan was the only place on Earth where you could get Vernor's magical pop, which is what we call it here. So whenever anyone engages you in that insipid "pop vs. soda" argument, point to the fact that "pop" originated in Michigan and send the dissenting party crying to his or her mama.
Vernors, which is kind of like a cross between ginger ale and cream soda, may be difficult to find at the local 7-11, but it's still around today. (And still aged four years in those oak casks.) On the 100th anniversary of the beverage's creation, in 1966, Vernor's great-grandson sold the brand, which has changed hand a number of times in the ensuing decades, eventually becoming part of Cadbury Schweppes' Dr. Pepper/Seven Up subsidiary.
#4. Michigan Has Two Peninsulas: Lower and Crazy.
Many people think of Michigan only as the mitten-shaped landmass that's home to Detroit, Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids. But that's just the Lower Peninsula or "LP." Let us not ignore the upper peninsula, or "UP," home to a rustic band of yokels known as Yoopers. Yoopers call inhabitants of the LP "trolls" because they live below the bridge. Clever, eh?
The funniest thing about Yoopers? Some of them want the UP to become the 51st state, a state with the modest moniker of Superior.
The craziest thing about Yoopers? Some of them want the UP to secede from the United States.
Why do Yoopers want to declare their independence from the trolls so bad? It's got something to do with the fact that most of the politicians in the state congress shape their legislation around what's best for the millions in the LP, rather than the thousands in the UP. This, of course, is ignorant of the fact that those in the UP would lose millions of dollars in taxes paid by the trolls, but what can you expect from a lot that makes Fargo look like a Merchant/Ivory flick?
Some might wonder if I worry about offending my neighbors to the north, and that's a wonder worth wondering. Luckily, I'll probably be dead by the time they get electricity, let alone the Internet.
#5. The Assholes of Industry Live Here.
Bosom buddies, world-changing inventors and major-league cocksuckers Henry Ford and Thomas Edison both grew up in the Great Lakes State.
Edison probably wasn't really guilty of much more than stealing a few inventions and being a cranky old bastard, but Ford should be placed upon a pedestal of shit for his flagrant douchebaggery. An unabashed anti-Semite, Ford printed a newspaper called The Dearborn Independent, a feisty little rag that showcased the automaker's dissenting views on everything from organized labor to immigration. Over time, old Hank penned so many hate-filled anti-Semitic diatribes that he later published a series of four collections bearing a title as catchy as it was subtle: The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem.
Among those who found the books to be real pageturners was Adolf Hitler, whose 1922 political campaign received $70,000 from Ford. Hitler kept a framed photo of Ford behind his desk and several German-translated copies of The International Jew, the World's Foremost Problem in his office for his guests to peruse. In fact, in 1938, in return for his generosity and all-around awesomeness, the Fuhrer sent Nazi diplomats to the US to award Ford the highest honor bestowed upon non-Germans, The Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle. At the time, Ford, along with Benito Mussolini, was only one of four people to receive the award. And that's why Focuses hate Jews.
#6. We're Home of the Colon Blow!
Battle Creek, Michigan is now home to the Kellogg Company, but many moons ago, it was simply the place where the guy who invented corn flakes gave himself daily enemas and curbed masturbation in young people.
As the eight people who saw Alan Parker's painfully bad film The Road to Wellville already know, John Harvey Kellogg was a staunch opponent of sex of any kind and equally staunch proponent of starting every morning off with an enema and group calisthenics. He allegedly never consummated his marriage and recommended anesthesia-free circumcision to stop boys from masturbating and the application of acid to the clitorises of little girls with wandering hands.
In fact, corn flakes weren't originally made of corn but of crispy foreskin and clitoris remnants. However, the name "corn flakes" seemed inappropriate, so the recipe was changed.