THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- FEBRUARY 3, 2018
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.
Do not cringe at the thought of confabulation. Here are some schmooze worthy candidates that are semi-guaranteed to make you the go-to person for conversational Hail Marys.
Since the day is about football, you might toss out this question from a former NFL player. “What if children were only allowed to play flag football, rather than tackle football, before high school?” Chris Borland goes on to say: “Let’s take it out of the hands of kids who are five and six and seven years old, and parents who get their information from industries that stand to make billions of dollars from their children playing. Leave it up to good research and make laws that protect kids.”
If this seems like a far-fetched idea, consider what happened last week. “State legislators in New York and Illinois proposed bills that would ban tackle football for children under 12.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/49ers/2018/01/25/ex-nfl-player-chris-borland-advocate-flag-football-children-under-12/1066090001/)
Another football related piece of trivia might surprise the people at the party. Michigan is one of 39 states where a football (or basketball coach) out-earns the leader to whom they report. “New Hampshire is the only state in the nation where the president of the largest public university is paid more than its top athletic coaches.”
Of the 50 U.S. states, a college football or men's basketball coach was the highest-paid employee. “Not a single state had a governor as the highest-paid public employee in 2016. In fact, when you add up all 50 governor salaries, it's still less than what Final Four basketball coaches brought home in base pay (in 2016).”
(http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/19019077/highest-paid-us-employees-dominated-college-football-college-basketball-coaches and https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/brian-dickerson/2018/01/26/post-nassar-questions/1067091001/)
These days it's difficult to avoid politics and at a super Bowl soiree and the consumption of adult beverages might add to the fun. Toss this into the palaver potluck: “It is time the people know the truth. That truth? That the United States had been infiltrated by foreign agents, who exerted their influence on national politics and elections. They underwrote propaganda (and) co-opted reporters. This nest of agents undertakes...to control party nominations, party machinery, whole political parties, and thereby control the Government of State and Nation.” Shocking!
The year was 1919 and the suspected anti-American manipulators were 15 German brewers, including names like Pabst, Schlitz, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors. The scandal was known as the “Great Beer Conspiracy.” Read about it at: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-great-beer-conspiracy-to-overthrow-the-us.
Last week this column was about self-driving cars, so I chuckled at a report about in-car technology that is supposedly almost foolproof at this point – GPS. Using a GPS app: “The app directed the drivers to turn onto the boat launch...It was dark and foggy...by the time they realized what was happening, the car had slid 100 feet onto Lake Champlain. The three people in the car managed to climb out.” I guess sometimes technology is all wet. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2018/01/23/waze-unable-explain-how-car-ended-up-lake-champlain/1060504001/)
Many of your fellow party people may have snuck in some exercise prior to indulging in megasnacking. For those going skiing, it's cool to know that a local ski area has been judged to have the best french fries in the state. “According to our MLive Michigan's Best readers it is Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac, a sweet little family run resort. The real secret behind the fries at Caberfae is the secret recipe 'Chef's Salt' that they liberally apply to each and every batch of fries.” (http://www.mlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2018/01/this_ski_hill_has_some_of_the.html)
Do you want some stunning numbers to throw into any conversation? “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every million cell phones that are recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.” The key to that phrase is “can be.” Unfortunately, most of that “e-waste” gets dumped into landfills. In fact, according to the International Telecommunication Union, worldwide $22 billion worth of gold was thrown away as e-waste in 2016.
That's why a new initiative by Dell computers is so welcome. “The computer giant announced a new initiative to mine old or broken laptop parts for gold...Recover a sufficient quantity and you have enough metal for a delicate ring or set of earrings.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/01/09/dell-wants-turn-your-old-laptop-into-jewelry/1012118001/)
Want something to show off at next year's Super Bowl party? The jewelry is for sale at the Bayou with Love website: https://bayouwithlove.com/collections/jewelry.
Finally, if you have a pet that runs and hides due to all the party noise, here's a product that may rescue Fido and Tabby from a nervous breakdown – iCalmPet. Basically, this is music aimed at calming your pet's phobia. “Our sensory environments have become very toxic. People know how to de-stress when it all gets to be too much. However, our animals don’t do yoga or go out to the movies. By being in unnatural environments, pet stress leads to illness and weird behaviors.”
In addition to a program to calm excitement with visitors, there are other specific programs for everything from separation anxiety to thunder storms to fireworks. There are programs to calm 41 behaviors for dogs and 15 behaviors for cats. Whether this works or not is something you'll need to determine for yourself at: https://icalmpet.com.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.