The Neff Zone column is a weekly feature of the Cadillac News in Cadillac, Michigan. The feature began in 2004 and since then 742 columns have been published. The column appears in the Cadillac News weekend edition each Saturday.
Author - Jim Neff
I am a resident of Cadillac, Michigan. I've written for a variety of publications both in print and online. These include: SKI magazine, Snow Country magazine, the Detroit News, the Chicago Tribune, AAA Living, Skiing Heritage, Traverse City magazine, Traverse magazine, Great Lakes Skier, Michigan Skier, Michigan Runner, Michigan Golfer, SkiNet, and others. In the Neff Zone column I range far and wide to comment on what I find interesting and humorous about the human condition.
Parents were asked a simple question: “At what age does your child know more about technology than you do?” When Hotwire, a global communications agency, gathered the data the answer was 8.7 years old. Who are these kids? They are Generation Alpha.
The world is a scary place. I am not talking about small things that are a bit unnerving, like Jimmy Dean narrating his sausage commercials even though he's been dead for nineteen years. I'm talking alarming to even horrifying. If I had any hair, I could add in downright hair-raising.
Our days are numbered. Dealing with digits has become a national pastime. It seems like life has become a parade of numbers marching through our brains. Dealing with all this is a daily challenge, but sometimes just tossing numbers around can be downright entertaining.
These are serious times. With all that's going on in the country and the world it seems like too many people are going through life with scowls on their faces. Let's take a break from that, shall we? Let's think about some things that are a bit nonsensical and thus might elicit a smile or even a laugh.
Last week's column was about the explosion of technology and this week we continue along the same path. The thing about technology is that it can be interesting, humorous, awe inspiring and terrifying – all at the same time.
Technology is only technology if it was invented after you were born. Otherwise, it's the way things have always been. The problem is technology is moving so fast that “always been” is now calculated in hours. It's enough to make you dizzy.
With 2018 in the rear view mirror it's now time to roll into 2019. There is nothing like starting a new year by hitting the ground running, so here we go.
The phrase “looking forward” can have a dual meaning. It can convey a sense of anticipation, as in I am looking forward to 2019. Conversely, it can indicate a sense of trepidation, as in I am not looking forward to 2019. Regardless of your interpretation, however, here comes the new year.
During the next few days many of us will be coming together with family and friends. The operative word here is “together” because in these contentious times “together” seems to be in short supply. The key to avoiding hurt feelings and black eyes is to steer conversations to innocuous pleasantries, topics that may elicit a chuckle rather than a grimace.
Christmas is just one day. The “holiday season” might feel like it lasts a tad longer because the run-up begins around the Fourth of July. There seems to be a lot of hoopla leading up to the singular Christmas Day. Questions need to be answered. Traditions need to be invoked.
Stumped as to what to buy that person who seems to have everything? Don't worry. I have some suggestions. Some are relatively inexpensive. Others may require you to let the moths out of your wallet and throw caution to the wind.
“Over the river and through the woods, To grandmother's house we go..." Getting from here to there is uppermost in the plans of many of us during the holiday season.
A common phrase this time of year is “Christmas is for the kids.” Opening presents while sitting in front of a Christmas tree is one of childhood's best memories for many of us. Most of the gifts children receive involve playtime. A recent study found that playtime may be more important than many of us might assume.
if you grew up in Flint back in the day, as I did, Thanksgiving meant one thing – leaving the confines of your house to attend a high school football game.
With the holiday shopping season upon us, you may notice some subtle changes beginning to happen in the money collection process. Stores and services are beginning to integrate technology into their traditional check-out options.
Economic standards are changing in America and maintaining a position of a middle-class citizen is more difficult than ever. Managing your finances may be more critical now than ever before.
This brings us to one of the main activities of game day cell phone use – taking selfies. This would seem like a pretty safe endeavor, but it turns out that may not be the case. “Each year, selfies kill about 20 times more people than shark attacks.”
There once was a time when news was not available in the nanosecond it takes to touch a device with a finger. But what if you wanted to see the news? For that you had to go to your local movie theater and there you could watch the news in sound and pictures.
Life should be lived in balance. That's why I love this time of year. With freshly picked apples in abundance and apple cider flowing freely you can feel the health coursing through your body. I balance that with my annual bag of candy corn.
I read several newspapers each day, both in print and online. One of the benefits of this is that I learn something new every day, things I did not know before. Doctors tell us that lifelong learning is helpful in maintaining a healthy mind. I don't know about you, but I need all the help I can get, so news about health is important.
While perusing the news I often stumble upon interesting finds. These range from fun facts to head-scratchers to “Oh my” discoveries.
Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction. As usual, when we play this game we begin with an item that relates to Big Rob's stomping grounds of Flint.
Have you ever purchased something and then later wondered why you bought the thing? Looking back honestly, you never wanted the thing in the first place, but you found yourself buying it anyway?
One of the great mysteries of the universe was solved last week. This was an important advance in science, so now you and I can check it off our “to do” lists and move on to other critical matters. Of course, I am referring to the age-old quandary: “Is it possible to cleanly break dry spaghetti into two pieces?”
It's always interesting to find out about what's going on with money. We may be moving toward a cashless society, but most of us still like the feeling of having some tangible cash in our wallets. It is just seems more reassuring than some whatever-coin out there on some cloud thingy.
It was really hot last weekend. When it gets too warm to be comfortable, we humans often seek the sanctuary of a building with air conditioning. Sometimes we neglect to realize that if it's hot for us it's also hot for Fido.
I'm back. After two weeks of family vacation the Neff Zone is once again open for business. Whether this is good news or bad news is your call.
Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction.
This is the Fourth of July week, so what better time to think about things related to our country and state? As you sit under that shade tree trying to beat the heat (perhaps with a frosty beverage in hand), it's a perfect time for rumination.
The Fourth of July is this week and with it comes the traditional opening of the picnic season. Enjoying food in the great outdoors is a sublime pursuit indeed. On this holiday, though, nothing is as American as a hot dog.
I may be old school, but somehow the time-tested phrase “rolling in cash” has a better ring to it than ”rolling in bitcoin or blockchain.” Cash is something you can feel, see, and actually spread on the floor and roll around on. Try that with your bitcoin app.
Have you ever been wrong about something for 43 years? I have. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the KISS visit to Cadillac in 1975. I have always been the ultimate source of all things KISS Cadillac. Until I wasn't.
The crate beneath my desk overfloweth with news clippings. It's time to clean house. Here are twelve news tidbits gleaned from various legit sources.
Have you ever noticed that the last few minutes of a basketball game seems to take an hour? An exaggeration, sure, but it feels that way as intentional fouls, multiple time outs, and official reviews sap the drama out of the game. What if there was a different way to end games?
This is the first big holiday weekend of the summer and with it comes a spate of graduation soirees, reunions, picnics, and parties. This means there will be many opportunities to engage in chit-chat. I have a suggestion. Talk about money.
I know it must be spring. For some, a clear sign is the return of robins and orioles. For me, however, it's the first joke about the fitness poles I use while taking my daily walks: “Hey, you forgot your skis.” I love to walk, but a recent series of alarms have sounded.
Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction.
I am often asked how I select the topics for this column. We humans are a strange lot, so there is an unending stream of things about which to write. As the classic Saturday Night Live character Roseanne Rosannadanna observed: "It's always something - if it ain't one thing it's another."
I am not a numbers guy, but sometimes numbers in the news are so staggering that even I am forced to sit up and take notice. These numbers cause my eyeballs to bulge and my brain to redline.
I was watching the Masters Golf Tournament and listening to the TV announcers describe the “brutal” conditions. Clearly, my definition and their definition of the word “brutal” were a teensy-weensy bit different.
Sometimes you come upon news that enlightens, amazes, entertains, or flummoxes. Your reaction may be “that's crazy.” In these instances, “crazy” is a good thing.
This is Neff Zone column number 700. That’s a big number. The first column appeared in 2004, so 14 years is another significant number. I tell people that after 14 years half of Cadillac thinks I am an institution and the other half thinks I belong in an institution.
This week's column was supposed to be about something else. Then I came across an opinion piece in the Detroit News that said: “A movement that you may not have heard of, but should know about, is called the National Popular Vote. It’s got support on the right and left, notably for different reasons, and it’s gaining momentum throughout the country.”
The school disaster was worse than Columbine, Virginia Tech, the University of Texas, Sandy Hook and Parkland. It stands as the deadliest school massacre U.S. history. In the end 44 people died, 38 of them students.
Tantalizing, wasn't it? It was a cruel joke played by Mother Nature to give us a one-week peek at spring. Now it's back to hiding indoors as another blanket of snow covers our environs. Well, there's always TV to keep us occupied. Alas, even that may cause consternation.
I'm an old guy so I have a lot of time on my hands. This gives me the opportunity to spend part of each day perusing the real news. I tend to gravitate to things I previously did not know. At the risk of being presumptuous, perhaps I have discovered some things that you may want to know.
If your pet is within earshot you may not want to read this column aloud. If Fido or Fluffy overhear this, they may pack a bag and book a one-way ticket to Switzerland.
The days are getting longer and that means spring is just around the corner. At least this is my mindset until we get another blizzard. To get into the spirit of spring, it's time to clear out a few items from the crate beneath my desk.
Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction.
The Super Bowl is tomorrow and that means you may find yourself watching the big game at a Super Bowl soiree. Since this could last pre-during-post game, and since the average NFL tilt has only eleven minutes of actual game action, you may find yourself scrambling for conversation topics to fill the dead air.
As I peruse the news, I learn something new every day. I look forward to this because keeping one's mind in shape is a worthy exercise. This week I learned a lot of things.
Nothing exists in isolation. Everything is interconnected. That's the basis for a concept called “the butterfly effect” the idea that small things can have impacts on a complex system. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week got me thinking along these lines.
The coming year could be fun. There are several items on the horizon that have the potential to make 2018 a year to remember. The best part? None have to do with politics.
If you don't own the word you can't think the thought. It's a pretty basic concept. This word play is particularly fun at the beginning of each new year because various sources roll out news about words.
Hang in there. The holidays are almost over. Your seemingly endless search for party chit-chat topics is fast approaching the finish line. Here are some New Year's Eve party favors, things you can just toss into the conversational mix.
“Family Feud” is one of the most popular TV game shows of all time. By using the Ranker.com categories, you can actually create your own Family Feud game.
Everyone can use some extra money during the holidays. Fortunately, there are some ways to generate extra cash. You just have to be willing to think outside the box.
As the holidays approach I have a lot of time to think. While other members of my family shop, I am often told to “stand over there and wait.” I can do this with the best of them, but it means I am am often alone with my random thoughts.
What constitutes awesome for one person may not be considered awesome by another person. However, since I am easily entertained, I run across “awesomedudity” on a fairly regular basis.
You made it through Thanksgiving without a significant injury and now it's on to the gauntlet of holiday parties and the requisite chit-chat. The challenge is to remain sociable and inoffensive while at the same time fending off the threat of terminal boredom.
During the past thirteen years, my policy for this column has been to focus on just positive, informative, fun, and (hopefully) entertaining news during the holiday season. This year, however, things in the news have been so contentious that I've decided invoke my policy a week early. “Bah humbug” to bad news for the next seven weeks.
Sometimes you run across things that are confusing and difficult to understand. These items cause you to pause, wrinkle your face, furrow your brow, and scratch your head. I have often been accused of having an intellect rivaled only by garden tools, so this happens to me a lot.
For the past seven decades, no ski season has officially commenced unless you have seen the latest Warren Miller movie. Spectacular visuals punctuated with Miller's trademark witty narration have delighted winter sports audiences all over the globe.
Miller's autobiography, “Freedom Found,” is an insightful look into what made him the “godfather of action-sports film making.”
Do I have a deal for you. My desk and computer are littered with so many factoids they are out of control. Most of these fall under the category of useless information, but a few are actually worth knowing. So, I have decided to clear the decks and have a factoid giveaway. You can have these at no cost which means they are priced just right.
The jobs landscape is moving so fast that anyone who thinks he/she has a magic, long-term, job creation formula is in for a rude awakening.
Do you have pumpkin spice fatigue? Me, too. Enough is enough! I mean, does pumpkin spice really need to be in everything?
Perusing the news recently, I unearthed several things I did not know. I like to store things like this in my cranium so I can roll them out at times when I want to appear to be smarter than I actually am.
From time to time all of us have a bad day. Whenever one happens to me I think back to those thrilling days of yesteryear before the Internet (and even before cassette tapes). Back then, all music came on vinyl records and that was also the case with comedy routines.
I know “hurricanomics” is not a real word. But in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, plus who knows how many more in the two months yet to go in hurricane season, perhaps new terminology needs to be invented. The economic devastation of these storms will affect the entire nation for years to come.
Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction. As usual, when we play this game we begin with an item from Big Rob's stomping grounds of Flint.
The new school year is upon us and with that comes news of several education-related topics that merit our attention. Everyone, young and old alike, has a stake in assuring the success of our students.
Once again the last holiday of summer is upon us and that means a final chance for summer picnics, family reunions, end-of-season parties, and beginning-of-season football tailgates. There will inevitably be a lot of conversational chatter going on, so it's important for you to be armed with a host of chit-chat worthy topics that will not inspire a fist fight.
I've recently come across some items in the news that are “new news” to me. Some items are cutting edge, some involve things that are just good to know, and some are sort of humorous.
Sometimes ideas come along that are so monumentally brilliant they have the potential to be life altering. So stunning are these, at some point in the future we all will wonder how we ever got along without these things.
In this era of fake news, it's good to know that facts still exist. So, I burrowed through the semi-massive pile of research in the crate beneath my desk and extracted one small fact from 15 different news articles.
The daily news has something for any interest, but one thing seems to be interesting to everyone – money. There's something about the inflow and outflow of cash that causes our radar to go on full alert.
You might be interested in some new old school tech. You know, things that might actually be useful to you, as opposed to things your grandchild is positive you “need” but you can live happily without.
In his latest book, “Renewing The Balance,” Dirk Dunbar challenges readers to deeply consider how “many of us are out of balance with the world inside and around us.”
The Fourth of July is the first big official holiday of summer and for many it is also the beginning of the vacation season. Americans will be traveling all over the place in a mad rush to relax. This fits in with a new poll just out that found the number one thing Americans want to do on vacation is – absolutely nothing.
Have you ever wondered what goes on in the minds of other people? Now, you and I are way above average so our minds obviously operate on a higher plane than almost everyone else. Gazing down from our enlightened perch can be interesting though.
Tomorrow is Father's Day. If you're a dad, it's a day for your children to honor you. Those kids, however, might not realize that it's also a day that generates a huge amount of stress for the honorees. You see, after a father accumulates a few miles on his odometer, he's expected to dole out gems of wisdom (as befits his lofty status).
As I read the news each day, I come across items that are interesting. These may be stand-alone snippets or something contained deep in a long article. I collect these and at some point I need to open the Neff Zone corral and release them into the wild.
I'm a list guy. I prefer my lists on paper. There is something very satisfying about crossing items off a paper list. Sometimes old school is the best school.
The Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of another summer season of graduation parties, family picnics, and reunions. With things so politically contentious, finding chit-chat topics that will not cause a fist fight is of paramount importance.
Chances are making a simple phone call is just one of many things you do with your phone each day. Can you imagine getting through a day without your phone?
When thinking about staying healthy, have you ever given any thought about the bottoms of your shoes?
It's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction. This time around we're focusing on spending money and getting little in return.
In 1991, there was one website on the Internet. One! The next year, 1992, the Net expanded to ten websites. As we speak, there are now about 1,200,000,000 websites.
None of us know very much, but it's not our fault. In fact, by the time you read this sentence you will have fallen farther behind because 1.7 megabytes of new information is created every second. “More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.”
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was one of America's greatest poets. Perhaps his best know work was “Leaves of Grass,” which dealt with “democracy, nature, love, and friendship.” Less known about Whitman was his promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Spring is in the air. The signs are everywhere. Lake Cadillac is open. The sidewalks are snow free. The kids walking past my house on their way to school are wearing the traditional Northern Michigan spring ensemble: flip-flops, shorts, ski jacket.
We live in contentious times. Still, there may be something upon which we can all agree. An answer to a question that assuredly would get a 100 percent “yes” response. Would you like to live longer and feel better while doing it?
There is such tornadic activity in the news cycle these days it's enough to make the propeller on your beanie break loose and launch into outer space. To be sure, the main stories capture the headlines. However, there are aspects to these that you might be interested to know.
I can't get my feet under my desk because the crate where I archive my research runneth over. I count 37 of these crate escapees, so it's time to set them free. I've decided to just choose some at random and extract one factoid from each.
If English is your language of choice, you generally use about one percent of the words available in the English vocabulary. That's seems like a small amount, but there are more than 1,022,000 English words.
Nothing exists in isolation. Very few issues have just a single layer, so what's on the surface is often misleading. Sometimes peeling back the layers reveals complications that are not visible at first look.
I don't know about you, but have about had it “up to here” with so-called alternative facts. Back in the day these were called “bald-faced lies,” but I guess thinking this makes me an an out-of-it curmudgeon. So be it. Anyway, I thought perhaps if you are of like mind, you might enjoy reading some actual true facts for a change.
Well kidlings, it's time for the first 2017 round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction.
Join me in this simple prayer. “Dear Lord, we beseech you to grant us three hours with no politics this Super Bowl Sunday. Amen.”
You are awakened in the morning by the police pounding on your door. They are here to “arrest” your lawn, seize your house, and throw you out into the street. Far fetched, right? Not really. It's all legal (in the U.S. of A) under a procedure known as “civil asset forfeiture.”
Consider the proposal to build a wall along the Mexico/U.S.A border. Take all the politics out of it. Just consider the logistics. Building such a wall has some very real and formidable challenges.
The transition from 2016 to 2017 presents a conundrum. Should we approach the coming year with elation or trepidation? After the riotous political season that ended 2016, perhaps the words of Michelangelo might apply: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
This year comes to a close today. It certainly has been interesting. So much has gone on that the research crate beneath my desk overflowed at times. This brings us to a few items to clean up as 2016 draws to a conclusion.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, everyone took a deep breath and reached for the aspirin bottle. Whew! Having fun is hard work. In many ways Christmas is a numbers game. It turns out the holiday reveals some interesting digits.
It's that time of year. Crunch time. The week before Christmas. I figure you have all the big stuff covered. Let me fill in the corners with a few holiday knick-knacks.
With the holidays upon us finding the right gifts for people on our Christmas list becomes problematic. The best presents are items that the recipient will actually use. One perplexing category is the senior citizen.
Right now I'm playing a waiting game. Ski season has not started due to no snow and Christmas is three weeks away. It's a good time to just let some random thoughts escape from my noggin.
The holiday season is upon us. With the spirit of the season in mind, I'm renewing my policy of the past twelve years. During the holidays this column is devoted to positive, informative, fun, and (hopefully) entertaining news.
This political season you've heard a lot about the manufacturing and jobs outlook in the United States. It's common to hear politicians bemoan the “fact” that China has it all and the U.S. is going down the tubes. It's expedient rhetoric, but outside the make-believe world of politics and down on the factory floor a different reality is taking shape.
The word “oblivious” is the focus of today's discussion. What brought this word to mind was a Speak Out letter to the Cadillac News from my friend Bernie Bovee. In the letter Bernie expressed his concern about “the pedestrian automobile challenge at Cadillac's major intersections.” I share Bernie's trepidation.
I try to avoid numbers. I'm a words guy, so deep in my noggin is the suspicion that numbers only exist to confuse me. However, stressful numerals keep popping up in the news. A particular number may illustrate an uncomfortable point, drive home a disturbing fact, or simply cause me to scratch my head in consternation.
Sometimes, regardless of good intentions, things just go south. No one means for things to go south and everyone tries to make sure things do not go south, but despite our best efforts some things just wind up headed in a southerly direction.
The CAVB has now placed four KISStorical plaques around Cadillac. Music fans can now walk from plaque to plaque. Each all-weather marker features classic photos and an explanation of why the spot is significant in the story. Call it a “KISSercise” experience. The route is 2.4 miles long and takes in some great Cadillac scenery.
One of my favorite things to do while reading the news is to spot seemingly small facts buried within larger articles. It's sort of like being in a mine and uncovering a gem.
Technology is only technology if it was invented after you were born. Otherwise, it's just the way things have always been.
I thought about this when I came upon a news item about the demise of a simple piece of “technology” – the headphone jack.
Once again the last holiday of summer is upon us and that means a final chance for summer picnics, family reunions, and end-of-season parties. There will inevitably be a lot of conversational chatter going on, so it's important for you to be armed with a host of chit-chat worthy topics that will not inspire a fist fight.
I played high school football. I coached high school football. I was the “Voice of the Cadillac Vikings” on radio for many years. I've been a spectator since I was a kindergartener (in 1953) attending Flint Northern games with my father. I love high school football. All that said, I fear for the game.
I don't walk around while staring down at my phone. This is mainly because I am not coordinated enough to walk and do a second thing at the same time. Being a klutz has its advantages though. Having your head up allows you to be more aware of what's going on around you in the real world.
There is big news and there is small news. I have a tendency to accumulate a stockpile of small news items, to the point at which they overrun my desk. So, it's time to clear the decks. Make way for a whole bunch of items from my small news files.
Words matter. With the primaries behind us and the actual election now underway, we voters will be bombarded with a tsunami of words over the next ninety days. Therefore it's important to have our election terminology well in hand.
One glare from Sister Veronita or Sister Robertus could silence a room and make the toughest students behave like members of a church choir. I thought of this when I saw a letter to the editor from an IHM sister, Sister Mary Jane Herb, in last Sunday's Detroit Free Press. It was such a compelling letter about today's political atmosphere that I sent it to all my classmates (Class of 1965). I received several replies, with the most common comment being “Amen, Sister.”
It's not often that you get to be a hero, provide an invaluable service to medical research, help millions of people all over the world, and have loads of fun doing it. For free. Using only your thumbs.
Summer is a time of year to be endured while we wait for next ski season. At least that's what I tell my family when the temperature hovers near ninety degrees, causing me to go into my grumpy old man routine.
In almost every news item there is a key word. Sometimes that word is obvious and is just fun to spot. Other times the word dictates the meaning of the entire item.
This time of year with all sorts of picnics and gatherings to attend, it's a good idea to have a bevy of conversation topics at your disposal. With all the contentious presidential race hoo-hah in the air, it's also nice to be able to divert attention in directions that won't cause black eyes.
It has been a rough couple of weeks. It seems like every time you turn on the television or open a newspaper one more horrific story smacks you right between the eyes. You just catch your breath only to have the wind knocked out of you again. So, are you ready for some good news for a change?
One of the best things about reading the news is that there is always something to discover every single day. Scientists tell us that the sum total of human knowledge is doubling every twelve months and soon it will double every twelve hours. That's a lot of information zipping past us, so it's pretty easy to snag items as they pass by.
This is Neff Zone column number 600. Back in 2004, who could have guessed that I'd still be spouting my weekly nonsense in 2016? In a non-scientific, unofficial, and almost nonexistent poll of the readers of this column, it has been determined that fifty percent of readers think my twelve years of longevity means that I have become an institution. The other fifty percent think I belong in an institution. That said, onward we go.
Some things are just plain creepy or at the very least a bit disturbing. It's different for everyone, but we all have things that that make our skin crawl, raise our hackles, trip our inner radar
alert system, or just trigger our “yuckification” reflex.
“Show me the money,” is an often heard refrain. Right or wrong, when you boil down a news item to its essence, more times than not it comes down to money. This holds true in many aspects of
About 95 percent of my research winds up in the circular file. After 597 Neff Zone columns, that's a lot of material gone by the wayside. The plain truth is that there is so much happening every day, I am continually uncovering new things about which to write.
APRIL 30, 2016 -- HARD TO BELIEVE
Sometimes you come upon news that is hard to believe. You realize an item is true, but it just makes you want to shake your head. Sometimes the item makes you angry, sometimes sad, and sometimes incredulous.
One of my favorite things about reading newspapers is uncovering things I did not know before. Sometimes it's the crux of an article, but many times it's a nugget that is only revealed upon reading the entire piece.
Well kidlings, it's a time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction.
The news these days is weighing me down. Ah, but now spring is upon us and so we are all due a break. It's time to take a breath and consider some lighter fare. Things that will not overwork our noggins.
Back in the olden days, before Al Gore invented the Internet (wink, wink), people kept their contacts list in a Rolodex. Writers had a different use for a Rolodex. They would put one topic on each card. If they experienced writer's block, they would spin the Rolodex and whatever card flew out would be the writing topic of the day.
Let me pose a hypothetical situation and then ask some hypothetical questions. This will all relate to an under reported incident within the scope of the Flint water crisis, but it will take some
time to get there.
MARCH 19, 2016 -- BY THE NUMBERS
I'm a words guy, not a numbers guy. Sometimes, however, looking at numbers is interesting, to say the least. They can reveal and explain some things better than thousands of words. Or, they can raise a question in stark black and white.
Every once in a while I run across items that interest me and are worthy of passing along to other people. After all, you never know when you might need a tidbit to impress your friends.
As I peruse the news I clip out items from newspapers that might be of use later. I toss these into a crate beneath my desk. The crate overfloweth, so now might be a good time to see what has been accumulating.
FEBRUARY 27, 2016 -- GLIMMERS OF HOPE IN FLINT
In Flint, there were glimmers of hope before the water crisis and those rays are still trying to make it through the clouds. I've seen it first hand. This past summer my wife and I were taken on a tour of downtown Flint. Here's what we saw.
FEBRUARY 20, 2016 -- IF CADILLAC WERE FLINT
It's tough to imagine what it's like to live in Flint right now. We can read about it, but that's an impersonal exercise. Perhaps if we think about some of the same circumstances being applied to our lives here in Cadillac, it might make the picture a bit clearer.
FEBRUARY 13, 2016 -- PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON FLINT
It would be no exaggeration to say that we've read millions of words about Flint water over the past few years. In short, I believe I have the credentials to make some personal observations. (This may take more than one column.)
There is no doubt that Dirk Dunbar was the greatest basketball player in the history of Cadillac High. In a new book, “Confessions of a Basketball Junkie,” Dunbar takes us along on a journey of discovery.
JANUARY 30, 2016 -- TOSSING NUMBERS AROUND
I'm a words guy, not a numbers guy. However, as I do research for this column I often run into numbers that are interesting or amusing.
JANUARY 23, 2016 -- AN ELECTION I WOULD LIKE TO SEE
I wrote a column in the Cadillac News on August 23, 2004 - twelve years ago! (I've written 582 columns and that was column number three.) The column could have been written yesterday. Twelve years and, if anything, the situation has deteriorated.
JANUARY 16, 2016 -- YOU CAN'T MAKE UP THIS STUFF
It's a time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction.
JANUARY 9, 2016 -- NEWS AS ENTERTAINMENT
Sometimes news is just news, but sometimes news can also be a source of entertainment. Many times all it takes is the patience to let a story unfold and if you do that developments can get pretty entertaining.
As we head into the new year, there are a lot of random thoughts rolling around in my cranium. Now seems like a good time to empty my attic as we move into 2016.