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. 


Ushering in 2019 is the next holiday on the agenda, New Year's Eve and Day. To many, this means celebratory parties. If you're hosing one of these soirées, perhaps this would be a good time to be on the cutting edge of what is predicted to be a major trend in 2019. Serve your guests edible insects. 


“The burgeoning edible insect industry churns out protein bars, pastas and chips made from insects — most notably crickets. Raising insects produces fewer greenhouse gas and uses less water and space than beef, chicken and pork. Bugs are also good sources of protein, fiber and fatty acids. It's on these merits insects gained legitimacy and found themselves on 2019 food trends lists.” 


Cricket chips are just one item that could be on your trendy new menu. “Meal worms are nutty and earthy; waterbugs, locusts and scorpions take on a seafood-like flavor; and grubs harness a meaty and savory taste.” Some chefs are even experimenting with bug and wine pairings. 


Scoff at this trend if you must, but a company that provides industry forecasts estimates the industry will reach $1.2 billion in market worth by 2023. As Jed Clampett from the “Beverly Hillbillies” might say: “The thing about bugs is they taste just as good the second day.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2018/12/21/2019-food-trends-cricket-powder-edible-insects-enter-us-diet/2351371002/)


Some partiers may wish to enjoy those scorpions and grubs with a frosty adult beverage. The good news for 2019 is: “The number of breweries operating in the United States surpassed 7,000 this year, a new high mark, with about 1,000 more new breweries expected to open in 2019. Across the U.S., small breweries created more than $76 billion in economic impact, including 500,000 jobs.”


The previous record for breweries was 4,131 achieved in 1873. By the late 1970s, only 44 breweries remained in the entire country. Since 2015 a new record has been set every year. “More than eight in 10 of all U.S. adults ages 21 or older (85 percent) now live within 10 miles of a brewery.” Michigan alone has 323 breweries. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2018/12/18/craft-beer-expands-more-than-7-000-breweries-us/2206013002/)


Parties to greet the new year are fun, but out-of-towners heading to airports might find the party is over when it comes to airline travel. The latest ticketing “improvement” affects seat assignments. “Seat selection fees, once the province of no frills discount airlines, have become big business for major airlines – and a source of frustration and confusion for travelers.” In essence, if you want to sit in an aisle or window seat you may have to pay an additional fee (on top of the original ticket price). 


Here's the kicker: “The government doesn't require airlines to disclose seat fee revenue as it does with bag fees and reservation change fees, and airlines don't publicly break them out.” According to travel analyst Henry Harteveldt, co-founder of Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco: “Seat selection fees generate well north of half a billion dollars a year for large airlines that charge them.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2018/12/19/united-american-delta-preferred-seat-fees/2293721002/)


Maybe driving from place to place isn't so bad after all. That may get even more pleasurable in the future thanks to a new development in rear view mirrors. “New technologies including iris recognition and built-in universal toll transponders will be on display from Michigan-based automotive mirror specialist Gentex at the CES show in Las Vegas Jan. 8-11.” You'll be able to tell your mirror: “Start my car and recall my settings for seats, audio and climate. Then activate the alarm on my house.”


What will make this possible is the iris-scanning technology. “It will identify drivers and recall their settings for comfort, internet transactions for gasoline, lodging and more. The ability to differentiate among drivers will let owners limit how far or fast teenagers could drive, keep valet attendants within a couple of blocks and out of the trunk, and more. It could also make ride-sharing vehicles more convenient by saving profiles for lots of drivers. Another feature, HomeLink Connect, will allow Gentex’s HomeLink universal remote to talk to connected devices like home lighting, thermostats and security systems through a smart phone app or the car’s infotainment screen.” (https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/mark-phelan/2018/12/22/gentex-high-tech-car-mirrors-ces/2380325002/)


While you're driving along, you may want to tell your mirror to lower the passenger side window so your dog can hang its head outside. In this regard, it's a Detroit, Michigan trend to name your dog after a car. The top Chevy dog names are: Titan, Chevy and Bolt. The top Ford dog names are: Orion, Edge and Maverick. No stats are available on dogs named Yugo, Gremlin, or Edsel. (https://www.rover.com/blog/detroit-top-dog-names/)


Finally, if you want to get in on one of the coolest trends going, check out 4Ocean. This is a company dedicated to removing plastic from the world's oceans. Over 16 billion pounds of plastic enters the oceans every year. To date, 4Oceans  is operating in 27 countries and has removed over 2,523,077 pounds of trash from the oceans and coastlines in less than two years.


The entire operation is funded by the sale of 4Ocean bracelets. “Made from recycled materials, every bracelet purchased funds the removal of 1 pound of trash from the oceans and coastlines.” The bracelets are made from that salvaged trash. The beads are recycled glass. The cord is recycled water bottles. The rest is made from recycled materials. It's a unisex design, 100 percent waterproof and is adjustable from 2-5 inches in diameter. The cost is $20. See a great video and get all the information at: https://4ocean.com


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

4Ocean Video