Thursday, July 5, 2007

Side Trip Notes

Some odds and ends picked up on the side trip.

It is a good thing that Paris Hilton did not get caught driving under the influence in a northern Michigan county. The following is from the "Court Reports" published on 28 June in a weekly paper. Operating while visibly impaired or intoxicated (two examples), first offense: 93 days in jail, $1100 fine, 12 months probation. Operating while visibly intoxicated, second offence: 365 days in jail, $1375 fine, 18 months probation. Paris Hilton's "harsh" 45 day sentence (23 served) for violating probation with a second DUI offense, after getting nothing but probation for the first, looks pretty lame compared to what they dish out in the north woods.

If you plan now, you can catch the Baby Food Festival on July 17. Just don't drink and drive afterwards.

It is easy to forget that there is really nothing quite like a small town 4th of July parade. Before we get to the sublime part, it is worth noting that the group of active duty, Marines (veterans of Iraq) deferred to the Vietnam Veterans, telling them to lead the parade. I was struck by the observation that the vets of my generation's war are now a lot older than WW II vets were when I was a kid. And that they got more sustained applause than the Marines.

Now on to the small town parade:

After all, what is a parade without a beautiful big semi, with two trailers.

Or without a float promoting a bowling alley.

One of the great places in the world to visit, Mackinac Island, will be featured on the CBS Morning News on 23 August. Their weatherman was up there in June to film segments that will be cut into the live program in August. This visit made the top of the front page, with a color photo, in said local weekly.

  • The name Mackinac is from the French and is pronounced mackinaw, like the British term for a jacket that originated in that area. Pronounce it any other way and you are marked as a clueless tourist.
  • The Island has no motorized vehicles other than an ambulance, a fire vehicle, and a truck that washes the streets before dawn. Everything else is bicycles and horses, included horse-drawn delivery wagons and taxis. It is eerily quiet at night.
  • They do allow snowmobiles in the winter. Access in winter is either by plane or across an ice road from the mainland.
  • A featured food item is fudge. The odors on main street (horses and fudge) are totally unique.
  • The Island was used as the set for "Somewhere in Time", which contained the absurd premise that you can drive there from Chicago. Special approval was required to have a car on Mackinac Island for those scenes.

The Discovery Channel program Dirty Jobs spent some time in that area. One set of jobs was on Mackinac Island, where he shoveled horse manure and collected garbage. Another set was spent working on the Mackinac Bridge, changing light bulbs and painting 500 ft above the water. These will probably air next season.

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