Back from Hell

Baseline Lake in Livingston County was a scene most tranquil this past weekend (as you can attest to from looking at this serene photo. Breath deeply and think of pleasant summer nights and warm cider wine. Try to forget about that rash problem. Turn up the new Enya cd a couple of decibels. Light another stick of pachouli incense and dream of warm-oil massages. That's what RR is doing right now). Over in Hell, though, after last weeks "666" party, things aren't so blissful. In fact, all heck is breaking lose....

After we left the shindig, things spiraled downward, as reported in this newspaper article:

Disorderly behavior, parking complaints and crowd-control problems mounted in Hell Tuesday as John Colone's much-publicized "666 Party" continued into the night, and when Colone — the Putnam Township hamlet's unofficial mayor — found himself at the wrong end of a punch from a disorderly reveler.

"It was no big deal. I have a cut on my nose, and it feels a little worse," Colone said after staying until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday cleaning up. "It was over in seconds, and we left on good terms."

Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte said problems began to increase as the festivities and devilish fun wore down late Tuesday evening. Bezotte sent five extra deputies to Hell as the party intensified along with complaints from area residents. He said he heard about 8,000 people attended Tuesday's party, but Colone said there were closer to 12,000 visitors.

The police arrested someone for throwing a beer can at a police lieutenant near the Dam Site Inn. The department is seeking felonious assault charges against the person through Prosecutor David Morse's office. Police also arrested a Midland man for disorderly conduct after he pushed two people on the porch of Screams Ice Cream, and for assaulting another person as he ran away.

The man, who was believed to be intoxicated, later attempted to strike police troopers, and was lodged in the Livingston County jail for the night.

In a related situation, a man driving an all-terrain vehicle reportedly crashed his ATV around midnight near Weiman Drive, south of Patterson Lake Road. Further details were unknown Wednesday.

Colone said there were a couple of thefts Tuesday, including a slab of children's cemented footprints and a witch's head from that was mounted on a cooler.

Crazy shit for town of 75 people, eh? The "mayor" got popped in the nose. Traffic came to a complete stop. Cops hauled drunken idiots off to jail. An ATV flipped over. 8,000 or 12,000 or noonereallyknowshowmany people jammed into a quiet midwestern village with 75 year-round residents. Frankly, we're surprised it wasn't worse, much worse, when we look back on the day. The crowd, a bizarre mixture of bikers and weirdos, well-intentioned preachers and misguided hellions, was amped to 11 on the civil disturbance dial thanks to summer temperatures and heated arguments over the wages of sin and the cost of another beer. We're surprised Hell didn't go up in flames.

And you know the three businesses that make up the Hell Chamber of Commerce (the Hell General Store, Scream's Ice Cream, and the Damsite Inn), made a killing on 666. We predict they will celebrate June 6 every year from now on. And next year, the hype and hoopla will warrant replacing Dead Elvis with Alice Cooper.

Once was enough for us. Next 06/06, we'll instead hit the river, like we did on Sunday. It was a perfect day for our fourth trip down the Huron this year. We could canoe this river every day. Everytime, we see something new. Here's another little river vignette, courtesy of RR adventure films. Some people make home movies of birthday parties or their cat playing with a ball of yarn. Not us.

We'll leave you with another moment on the Huron. Enjoy. We sure do.


Halloween in June

We don't celebrate Halloween in June but every hundred years, and after witnessing "666" this week in Hell (Michigan), we're going to squeeze more blood from the turnip and conjure up another post. It was a macabre mix of fake dimestore blood and real (who knows?) skull and bones dug up from who knows where. Some of the folks that showed up were dressed like ghouls and ghosts for the simple festive fun of it. Other folks, who looked like week-old road kill, probably dress that way all the time. It was easy to differentiate the two groups: one smelled of beer and brats from the food tent and the other smelled of rotten possum and dead reptiles.

Over by the old hearse collection, a skeleton in a body bag was parked on the grass. It'd be easy to assume it wasn't real (we couldn't tell), but for the fact that human skeletons are so remarkably easy to get. Numerous sites (including ebay) legally sell old skulls and skeletons (this $1000 fetal skull is rather unsettling. Whoever would buy such an item is one sick pup. But those people are out there. Some people collect Beanie Babies and duck decoys. Other people collect deformed brain carriages. It's a strange world we live in). If Mr. Bones here was fake, they did a damn good job making him look real. If this was real, somewhere out there is an empty grave.

Also bizarre and noteworthy was this collection of embalmer tools. Anyone who would collect an assortment of tools used to pull out yer innards is a little off. Not as much as the whack who collects fetus skulls, but still a little off. What's wrong with collecting baseball cards and old fishing lures? Or old Playboys and license plates? We've never understood the obsessive nature of the hard-core collectors. We once knew a 6'6", 350 pound tattoo artist in Ohio who collected gumball machines, skulls (he had hundreds of skulls ranging from field mice to hippos), and the artwork of serial killers. He had several originals from the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Henry Lee Lucas. Collecting wierd shit was his mission in life. Apparently, writing about it is ours.

On a lighter note, behind the ice scream shop, Dead Elvis was belting out his tired collection of Halloween songs. Ugh. How many times must we suffer through "The Monster Mash" and "The Addams Family Theme"? When he did a rap version of "Hootie the Boo Owl", we threw up in our mouth a little. He had an audience of maybe three people at any given moment.

Needless to say, the kids weren't exactly digging his act. They were amused by it, but with the kind of funny-pity amusement you get while watching a doofus embarass himself in public. The kind normally reserved for, hmmm, karaoke night at the local bowling alley. You're laughing, but not because the song's funny.

The best costume award had to go this thing, whatever the hell it is. And with temps in the high 80's, no doubt it was hotter than hell under all that rubber and fur. That alone deserved a prize.

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