JUNE 18, 2016 -- BY JIM NEFF







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?


If you began your day this morning by getting into your car and you were NOT attacked by thousands of spiders, you are already off to a rousing start. A guy in Fort Meyers, Florida can attest to that. When he got in his rental car thousands of spiders were swarming inside. “It was like a spider tornado hit the front seat,” said the now-safe man. He immediately reported the problem and the rental car company “took the devil car away on a flat-bed truck and delivered a new Dodge Charger without the spiders." Those rambunctious kids in the back seat don't seem so bad now, do they? (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/06/01/man-live-tweets-spiders-in-rental-car-nightmare-florida-infestation/85230838/)


Speaking of those kids in the back seat, especially if they are teenagers, you'll be pleased to know that a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that American teens keep becoming better and better behaved. “They use fewer drugs, have less sex, fight less, and watch television less” than their predecessors. In fact, the study “strongly suggests today's teens are the best-behaved in generations.” If you don't believe this, you can compare the behaviors of your generation to those of today's teens. VOX has an interactive graphic that lets you compare years from 1972 to the present. Go to: http://www.vox.com/a/teens.


If the teens are behaving better, it's probably safe to assume that good parenting has something to do with that. An aspect of that might be that a parenting trend is to have children share bedrooms rather than each child having a separate bedroom. “In nearly two-thirds of homes with two children under age 18, the kids share a room.” There are benefits to room sharing. “Anxious kids, in particular, often have a much easier time falling asleep...Sharing the room also teaches children how to negotiate, how to compromise and how to work out conflicts...While they’re sharing a room, siblings can also develop an even closer bond because of those nightly presleep chats.” (http://www.freep.com/story/life/family/2016/06/05/shared-bedrooms-popularity/85464896/)


I think there may be some merit to this idea. I shared a room with my brother, Big Rob. We acquired some valuable knowledge. For example, if you are watching “Hockey Night in Canada” on a TV with a rabbit ears antenna, someone has to stand and hold one of the ears for better reception. And, if you leave a sock drawer open, Tiger the cat could deliver a litter of kittens on your underwear.


One thing that might keep the kids busy is reading “The Bible.” That task just got easier for today's youth with the publishing of the “Emoji Bible.” Subtitled “Scripture 4 Millennials,” the promo says: “One of the most widely translated works in history has been given a 21st-century update with the publication of the Emoji Bible. Described as a 'great and fun way to share the gospel', it interprets all 66 books of the King James Version with Unicode-approved emoji and commonly-used Internet slang and contractions.” I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news, but you can see examples at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/30/emoji-bible-arrived-god-king-james.


Well, one thing that always sooths the soul is music. Boomers will recall Woodstock where a three-day ticket cost $18. Now what's being billed as the biggest boomer musical event since Woodstock will take place in October at the Empire Polo Club near Palm Springs, California. The Desert Trip Festival headliners include: The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, and The Who.


The bad news is that if you want to attend this, you can't. It's sold out already. However, the good news is that by not going you saved a whole bunch of cash. A “cheap seats” one-day general admission ticket was $224. A three-day was $399. For good seats a three-day tab was $1,599. Oh, and added to that price were undisclosed extra fees. (http://deserttrip.com/)


Finally, if you really want to clear your head a walk along the shores of Lake Cadillac is just might be a better ticket than a Desert Trip. If you stroll the McKellop Walkway/Clam River Greenway/White Pine Trail, you might be interested in the distances between various points.


A few years ago, I borrowed a measurement wheel from the City of Cadillac and walked the sections of the McKellop, Greenway, and the White Pine (up to Sunnyside). My calculations (in feet and miles) encompass ten sections of the trails. I also combined some of the sections into the most popular walks, so you can see some totals (without doing math in your head). You can access the whole chart or get a printable copy at http://www.neffzone.com/cadillac-walkways/.


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

John Auchter
MLive Media Group
Jun 17, 2016