The Polar Plunge is an event for the benefit of the Special Olympics during which participants jump into a swimming hole in Lake Monona. Since the event takes place in late February (February 20th, 2010 at Olin Park), the lake is always frozen solid. Only the bravest (craziest) of souls dare jump. For many, sponsoring a "plunger" is the best way to participate in this very Wisconsinesque activity.
This is August 15 and a few days on either side. When all the leases in the central city turn over at the same time, many students and other renters leave vast piles of unwanted belongings on the curb as they change apartments. These items are often taken home by others as the population garbage picks the piles. When someone asks where you got an item, you reply "Hippie Christmas."
James Farley, Postmaster under FDR, said in 1936, "There are 47 states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington." He alluded to the leftist movements in the state, particularly in Seattle where labor movements occurred post WWI when unsatisfactory efforts were made to improve wages after war-time wage controls.
For some reason, low-numbered license plates have become a status symbol in Rhode Island, to the point of a rash of illegal auctions taking place for these prestigious items.
A term for Detroit coined by former president Franklin Roosevelt during the second World War to describe the transition of the Ford Motor Company's production from cars to tanks.