It all began in 1936 in the midst of "the worst winter in years." The whole country suffered in the grip of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. A New York feature writer bemoaned the "fact" that, "Here we are in the midst of an old- fashioned winter and there are no red flannels in the USA to go with it."
The local newspaper, The Cedar Springs Clipper, owned and edited by "The Clipper Gals" Nina Babcock and Grace Hamilton answered the writer with a RED HOT editorial stating: "Just because Sak's Fifth Avenue does not carry red flannels, it doesn't follow that no one in the country does. CEDAR SPRINGS' merchants have red flannels!"
The story was picked up by The Associated Press and orders began pouring in from all over the USA.
Seeing the possibility of at least a few years of publicity because of our famous “drop seaters" and lumbering history, a "RED FLANNEL DAY" was planned for the fall of 1939. After the closure of the Red Flannel Factory in 1994, the citizens became concerned as to the fate of their beloved Red Flannels and of the Red Flannel Festival. However, due to the love of their community legacy, volunteers rallied to keep the Red Flannel Festival tradition alive. It has continued to be an annual event, held the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October. The production of Red Flannel garments was reestablished and they are available to purchase in Cedar Springs.
And here are some shots from early on, courtesy of the Life Photo Archive
News of the Weird Daily Monday, February 2, 2009 [part one]
Britain's Apostrophe Protection Society
Somebody has to speak up for oppressed punctuation marks! The Birmingham City Council decided that all place names will officially not carry apostrophes, e.g., "St. Paul's Square" becomes "St. Pauls Square." That's been official policy in the U.S. since 1890, way before texting. Still, the APS head worries that this is one of those Nazi "First, they came for the apostrophes" things: "If you don't have apostrophes, is there any point in full stops, or semi-colons, or question marks?" Daily Mail Comments 'apostrophe_protection'
Scared to death
For most people, if a bank robber being chased by police broke into their home, they'd be content to merely soil themselves. However, North Carolinian Larry Whitfield, 20 (and perhaps heretofore a virgin at crime), happened last fall to bust into the home of a 79-yr-old woman with a weak ticker, and she died. He never touched her but has now been charged with first-degree murder under the widely-used (but probably unfamiliar to most bank robbers) "felony murder" rule. Associated Press via New York Times Comments 'scared_todeath'
CSI from the old days is not working out
In Wisconsin, Robert Stinson, 44, was released Friday after serving 23 yrs for a 1984 murder conviction. The reason was, of course, DNA, but at the trial, the clincher was two "forensic odontologists" who had testified, slam-dunk, that bite marks on the victim came from Stinson's teeth. One problem with that was that Stinson had long been (glaringly) missing one tooth from the bite-mark area, but the expert witnesses were "certified" so the jury sucked it up. In the ensuing 23 yrs, most "forensic odontologists" that you'd respect are much more sophisticated in their analysis, but there is still a courtroom market among prosecutors desperate for convictions, thus assuring survival of some old-schoolers. Associated Press via MSNBC Comments 'bitemark_analysis'
The Army's big on remote-controlled flying beetles
The Pentagon's fabulous DARPA sci-fi unit is testing actual living beetles' ability to handle a few implanted, teensy-weensy electrodes (and eventually carrying a teensy-weensy camera) so that human controllers can send them impulses to (a) get off their butts and into the air and (b) once there, turn left or right. Multiple uses, actually. DARPA previously researched all this using moths, but, obviously, size matters. MIT Technology Review Comments 'remote_beetles'
Leading Economic Indicators (1) Who the hell would hire a laid-off Wall Street finance professional these days? Why, Lehman Brothers, of course (which, in order to liquidate the business, needs people to figure out all that complex bogosity that people like them thought up in the first place). (2) During a debate on how to eradicate poverty in a dismal economy, German finance minister Peter Steinbrueck was caught on camera . . checking his lottery ticket. Wall Street Journal///Agence France-Presse via Yahoo Comments 'economic_090202'
People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A man driving a tan or gold Dodge Ram truck with a golden retriever inside is being sought in Airdrie, Alberta, after last week stopping outside of Ralph McCall Elementary School at lunch time and, using a loudspeaker, shouting: "Girls in the field, come over to my truck. Come pet my dog." Playground chaperones approached the truck, scaring him off. CTV Calgary Comments 'loudspeaker_pervert'
Your Daily Jury Duty ["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Matthew Reynolds, 34, from around Cullowhee, N.C. (Irrelevant facts: His nickname is "Hippie," and cops said they found 59 hits of Ecstasy, 750 hits of acid, and a half-pound of high-grade marijuana, among other things.) Asheville Citizen-Times Comments 'matthew_reynolds'
An article in Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery examines whether "shoe-smell" is an effective treatment for epilepsy. The authors note:
Some Eastern parts of the world like India have witnessed since time immemorial, a practice of application of “shoe-smelling” in an attempt to arrest the seizures. The practice consisted of bringing the sole of shoe near the nostrils of the patient during the epileptic attack by near-by attendants or passers-by in the event of the attack occurring in a public place. The practice has continued and still remains a form of first-aid treatment in developing countries especially in countryside and rural areas. Although today, this age-old practice of “shoe-smell” may sound ridiculous apart from being most unscientific, its persistence as a remedy does tempt researchers to provide an insight to the reasons and basis for this continuing practice.
I wondered what kind of shoe-smell they were talking about. Apparently it's stinky shoe smell. The stinkier the better. The authors were skeptical that shoe-smell could work, but they end up concluding that it probably did help:
strong olfaction can aid in halting the progress of an epileptic seizure and/or abort the generalization of a partial seizure especially of temporal origin although more prospective studies are required to establish a clear and firm relation between the two, i.e. strong odor and seizure control. It may not therefore be incorrect to believe that in olden days too, strong olfaction applied in the form of “shoe-smell” did definitely play a suppressive role and thus exerted an inhibitory influence on epilepsy.