January 2, 2016 -- by Jim Neff


The Neff Zone

Cadillac News



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.

The most prominent bridge from 2015 to 2016 is the race to be president. To that end, both Politifact and FactCheck have published their “2015 Lies of the Year” lists. Although the lists contain something for every political persuasion, Donald Trump is the clear “winner.” Both services recognize Trump's claim that he watched demonstrations in Jersey City, NJ where thousands of people were cheering as the World Trade Center collapsed as the year's biggest whopper. (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2015/dec/21/2015-readers-poll-results)

FactCheck observed: “It’s been a banner year for political whoppers - and for one teller of tall tales in particular: Donald Trump. In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.” (http://www.factcheck.org/2015/12/the-king-of-whoppers-donald-trump)

My favorite “Trumpism” of 2015 did not make either list, the one where he invented a Civil War battle. He placed a plaque on one of his golf courses that detailed the supposed battle: “Many great American soldiers, both of the North and South, died at this spot...the casualties were so great that the water would turn red and thus became known as The River of Blood.” Nice story; never happened. When historians pointed out this was a total fabrication, Trump responded: “How would they know that? Were they there?” Using this logic, then, I suppose the Constitution is fake because no one who signed the document is still living to give eye witness testimony. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/25/us/politics/in-renovation-of-golf-club-donald-trump-also-dressed-up-history.html)

Speaking of constitutions, did you know there is still one state constitution that has racism built into it? Adopted in 1901, “Alabama’s constitution is an absurd document. It is the longest still-operative constitution in the world at more than 310,000 words long. It is 40 times longer than the U.S. Constitution and 12 times longer than the average state constitution...90 percent of the constitution consists of nearly 900 amendments...The U.S. Constitution, in comparison, has only 27 amendments.” (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/22/the-state-where-racism-is-enshrined-in-the-constitution.html)

If all the political news makes you feel depressed, you might be interested to know that you may be able to make yourself younger. Scientists have found that all of us have two ages - chronological and biological. “You actually have two ages - your chronological age, determined by your birth year, and your biological age, determined by your lifestyle choices. Your biological age is the one you should really be concerned about - it’s the one you have control over...This biological age is reflected in physical appearance. So, insofar as there is an association between physical appearance and biological age, those who look younger actually are younger, according to these biomarkers. And here’s the kicker - the biomarkers measured in the study are all modifiable.” If you want to see ten discoveries that can make you healthier, check out https://www.yahoo.com/health/10-discoveries-that-made-us-healthier-1325577432006710.html.

Once you are feeling younger, you may be tempted to buy some nifty designer jeans to show off your new youthful appearance. The problem is that once you wash those jeans, they will no longer look new. No problem, just don't wash them - ever. The “modern” trend is to freeze them. “Fold your jeans neatly and place them inside a plastic bag. Seal the bag and insert it in the freezer. Remove after one week and wear as new. While this process won't remove stains, it is touted to kill any living organisms and make your jeans feel crisp and clean again.” Or you can just stand outdoors in northern Michigan and when you reach hypothermia your jeans will be “refreshed.” (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-clean-your-jeans-without-water-freezer-109266)

Freezer-cleaned jeans aside, most people would opt to be a bit more comfortable during the winter. Winter travel is sometimes dicey, but a smartphone app from North Dakota State University might help put minds at ease - the Winter Survival Kit. “The Winter Survival Kit app can be as critical as a physical winter survival kit if you find yourself stuck or stranded in severe winter weather conditions...the app will help users find their current location, call 911, notify friends and family, estimate how long they can run a vehicle’s engine to keep warm before running out of fuel, and store important phone and policy numbers for insurance or roadside assistance.” (http://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/keepingup/4962/27853)


Finally, just when you think you've heard every dumb crooks story known to man something happens to prove that humans have a unique capacity to go stupidly where no man has gone stupidly before. Consider this holiday tale that happened in Germany last week. It seems that a 29-year-old man was taken to hospital on Christmas Day in the western town of Schoeppingen, near the Dutch border, by the two other men. The two men told hospital officials that their friend had fallen down the stairs, injuring his head. Suspicious of their story, the officials called the police. What actually happened was the three geniuses tried to blow up a condom machine and one of the trio was hit in the head by a flying piece of metal during the explosion. File this in the “love hurts” category. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/police-blast-debris-kills-man-bungled-condom-machine-robbery-n486731

Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at www.CadillacNews.com and www.NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.