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Heard About a Christmas Truce? There's One in the Great Midwest Mitten War

Posted by Dale Buss on December 14, 2011 11:59 AM

At least one geopolitical struggle has eased this holiday season, and a temporary peace reigns — around the Great Lakes, that is. This is because Wisconsin and Michigan appear to have buried the hatchet in their epic struggle over which state has the most legitimate claim to the mitten metaphor to describe the shape of their homeland.

Sounds like big stakes, eh? Well, despite the thorniness of the issue, Michigan and Wisconsin tourism officials today managed to declare a truce in the mitten war and even their joint establishment of a philanthropic effort they're calling The Great Lakes Mitten Campaign.

"We encourage everyone in both states to 'shake hands' and donate mittens to help make this winter a bit warmer for those in need," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a press statement announcing a handful of mitten-dropoff sites around the state.Continue reading...

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Gloves Off: Michigan Takes Wisconsin to Task Over Mitten Tourism Pitch

Posted by Dale Buss on December 8, 2011 05:31 PM

It's a border battle fit for the season. And with this new Michigan-Wisconsin dispute comes all the underlying tensions from a long and tenuous adjacency that include zebra mussels, Asian carp, rights to the Upper Peninsula, Packers-Lions, Badgers-Spartans, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, beach envy, Lake Michigan mineral rights, and which state really has the fattest people.

Yes, Wisconsin's tourism department has appropriated mitten imagery for new web-based winter promotion of its mitten-shaped state. And that has made mavens of mitten-shaped Michigan — well, mightily miffed. The result is a frosty contretemps between pillars of the Upper Midwest that is only likely to get more icy.

You see, Michiganders clearly own the historical and traditional use of their right hands — with fingers straight up and together, they form a perfect mitten shape —when pointing out, usually with their left index fingers, where something is located in the state's Lower Peninsula.Continue reading...

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