I first met Bill Rabe in the early 1970â€™s just after he had taken the job as public relations director for a small college in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. Even then I knew about some of his gambits. He was the epitome of a PR man who used gimmicks â€“very clever gimmicks- to draw attention to Lake Superior StateÂ College (now University) and to Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel. He did everything with a flair. Just to mention a few of his ideas: the annual stone skipping contest on Mackinac Island; the pet rock beauty contest; The Society of Unicorn Hunters; the burning of the snowman to usher out winter and sauntering on the worldâ€™s longest porch of the Grand Hotel. The list could go forever and he literally put Lake Superior State on the map. At least once during the year the Sault would be the coldest place in the U.S. and Rabe would rush out and shoot a photo of the collegeâ€™s sign which was tucked into a hillside like the world famousÂ â€Hollywoodâ€Â sign. He would then send it off on the AP Wire which was conveniently located in his office.
Read more about his outlandish approaches by clickingÂ here. He was a fan of Sherlock Holmes and a dedicated Baker Street Irregular. In his home in Sault Ste. Marie he had re-created the office of Holmes. One of his most lasting events was and still is the annual â€œBanished Word Listsâ€. Noted celebrity author and Rabe friend John McCabe also lived part-time on Mackinac Island and was often a co-conspirator in these outrageous eventsÂ
Each year a committee on banishment solicits from the public, words and phrases that should be banished. This year the list recommended that man-up, refudiate and no surprise mama grizzly be banished for life. For a complete list ofÂ banished words for 2011 and through the ages visit the website by clicking hereÂ Â and keep your ears tuned for words and phrases that help us create â€œmeaningful dialogueâ€. For more video of snowman burnings click here.
And for now Iâ€™llÂ Facebook (banished 2011)Â this post with the hopes that it goes viral (banished). I already have my recommendation for a banished phrase for next year “bucket list”.