Thursday, September 3, 2009

It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Disco was in its death throes, Bill Gates had just moved Microsoft from Albuquerque to Bellevue, WA, and the Federal Reserve interest rate finished the year at 15.25%. Out of the maelstrom emerged the University of Wisconsin Pail & Shovel Party, the name coming from its promise to convert the school budget into pennies which students could shovel into buckets to pay for their expenses as needed. After their re-election in the spring, the P&S decided to thank the student body by frivolously spending their money on some lawn ornaments. When the students arrived on campus the morning of September 4th, 1979, they found 1008 pink flamingos covering Bascom Hill in front of the dean's office, an event remembered on postcards to this day, an event of such magnitude that the city of Madison, Wisconsin, after much hard fought lobbying, has now declared the plastic pink flamingo to be its official bird.
Don Featherstone, designer of the original pink flamingo in 1957, said that as far as he knows, the 1,000 pink flamingos on Bascom Hill remains the largest gathering of the plastic birds anywhere.

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