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. 

High on the list has to be the possibility that the “cachorro-quente” (or Brazilian hot dog) will come to Cadillac. This is very popular in its native country and it sounds like something that could be a winner (or curiosity) for a local establishment. 

“The key to the Brazilian hot dog’s success is in pile-driving ingredients on top. A typical “completo” hot dog will likely include most, if not all, of the following: seasoned ground beef, a pico de gallo-like blend (bell peppers, tomatoes and onion), canned corn and peas, grated Parmesan cheese, shredded carrots, diced ham or bacon, fresh cilantro, shoestring potato sticks, a hardboiled quail egg, and a bed of mashed potatoes on the bun.” Brazilians get all this for $1, quite a deal. Heck, I'd even spring for $2 just to give this a taste test. You too? (http://www.ozy.com/good-sht/in-brazil-hot-dogs-are-an-entire-feast/33120)


Even if you don't speak Portuguese (the language used in Brazil) you could still order one of these thanks to another innovation, Travis the Translator. This is a real-time language translator. “It’s about the size of a flip phone, and can translate 80 languages. You tap a little touchpad and scroll to pick the two languages, tap an arrow and speak normally. About a second after you stop talking, your question pops up in a small little window and a voice asks the question out-loud too. When it’s the other person's turn to talk, you tap another arrow, let Travis listen, and it repeats the answer back in English.” Good for hot dog ordering in any country. No word if one of the 80 “languages” translates a wife's instructions to her husband. (http://www.travistranslator.com/#ces2018)


As you consume several Brazilian hot dogs you may need an accompanying beverage. Good news this year. Scientists at Britain's University of Southampton have determined: “People who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are more likely to see health benefits than harm, experiencing lower risks of premature death and heart disease than those who abstain. The largest reduction in relative risk of premature death is seen in people consuming three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers.” I'm no scientist, but I think this means that coffee may balance out a  cachorro-quente and thus make the combo almost a healthfood meal. Right? (https://www.yahoo.com/news/three-coffees-day-linked-more-health-harm-study-233748906.html)


Now, if you are a tad skeptical about what is in your  cachorro-quente, a new gadget may be of interest in 2018 – the LinkSquare. “The LinkSquare is a magic marker-sized scanner that can tell if meat is rotten — think salmonella, E. coli and norovirus.” Not only that, it can tell “whether alcohol is fake, or prescription pills are what they’re supposed to be, or if the money in your pocket is counterfeit. “ It pairs with an app on your phone. The makers say there are a lot more features to come, one of which (I hope) will alert me when the guys in Qatar decide gasoline prices in northern Michigan need to go up fifty cents overnight. (https://linksquare.io/index.html)


Too many cachorro-quente binges may spur you to do a bit more exercise to burn off excess calories. Many of us use fitness trackers (like FitBit) to guague our progress. Very soon, these devices may be tattoos. “Say goodbye to those thin black bands—the next generation of fitness trackers will be barely noticeable and the most accurate they've ever been. One of the most promising fitness trackers is a temporary skin tattoo embedded with tracking technology that is being tested by scientists. A tattoo solves the cumbersome, uncomfortable issues of having a device on you at all times.” The only thing you will have to decide is on which body part do you want your fitness tracker tattoo installed. Could make the tracking interesting, eh? 



One fitness activity is bike riding. It might be good if we all saw more of a particular product in 2018 – the Lumos smart helmet. “The Lumos smart helmet is the world's first smart bike helmet that integrates lights, hard brake, and turn signals into a cohesive whole (built right into the helmet). The Lumos helmet is integrated with super bright white LEDs in the front and solid red LEDs in the back to ensure you stand out on the road. The triangular shape of the back lights help others gauge their distance from you better.” Basically, the lights on the helmet are bright caution and/or turn signals. You can never have too much safety, like when you are turning toward a cachorro-quente food truck. (https://lumoshelmet.co/)


Finally, after dribbling  cachorro-quente down your chin and then getting all sweaty from a workout, you may want to take a shower. A product due out in March  might make the process more high tech. “Kohler is bringing Amazon's Alexa into the bathroom with the Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror. It's a bathroom fixture you can control with Alexa voice commands.” The mirror has a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker two front-facing microphones,  and touch controls to manually adjust speaker volume and mirror light levels. Now as you shower you can be simultaneously “shopping, playing music, or receiving traffic updates.” (https://www.cnet.com/products/kohler-verdera-voice-lighted-mirror/preview/ and 



This sounds good, but I know how I look first thing in the morning. I may have to wait for the mirror to stop laughing before I can utilize its other functions. 


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