Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction. As usual, when we play this game we begin with an item that relates to Big Rob's stomping grounds of Flint.


If you think the Flint water crisis is over (and has nothing to do with you anyway) you are sadly misinformed. As a Michigan taxpayer, you will be paying for your  state government's mistakes for a long time.  As of May: “Spending by the state to prosecute and defend current and former employees on matters related to water crisis cases has eclipsed $23 million with no billing slowdown on the horizon.”


It did not have to be this way. “It's an expense that didn't have to burden taxpayers,” according to Tony Daunt, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, a group that supports low taxes and conservative causes. He continues: “The crisis in Flint represents an abject failure of government...Unfortunately, the government's failure to address this problem correctly the first time is what led to an even more costly solution to clean up their incompetence." Your tax dollars at work in Flint. (


Maybe the problems in Flint happened because the people making the decisions were wearing neckties. A study just out observes that the act of tightening a tie might restrict the blood flow to the brain. “By compressing the veins in the neck, tie-wearers could be pushing blood into the skull and creating an unhealthy build-up of pressure. Cerebral blood flow, the blood supply to the brain, was found to drop by an average of 7.5 percent in the men wearing a necktie.” Feel free to insert your own political joke here. (


As if keeping an eye on government spending isn't enough, we all now have to be on the lookout for electrified flying spiders. A study by the University of Bristol found that spiders can use the silk they weave as a parachute to fly, powered by static electricity reacting with silk. 


Yikes! “When spiders launch off from the ground and float through the sky, sometimes for thousands of miles, it's due to a ballooning process where spiders raise their abdomen to the sky, spin 7- to 13-foot-long silk parachutes and fly away. Spiders can fly thousands of miles even when it's not windy outside.” Again (and this time all together) – Yikes! (


If you survive the hoards of electrified flying spiders, you may (logically) wonder when you will actually die. Luckily, there's technology for determining that (and probably soon will be an app).  “Google's artificial intelligence systems can cull through and analyze a person's medical history to help doctors make more accurate predictions about a patient's health, and even provide estimates on when a patient may die. Google's tech can forecast a host of patient outcomes, including how long people may stay in hospitals, their odds of re-admission and chances they will soon die." I don't know which is more creepy, the spiders or a death notification from artificial intelligence. (


As it turns out, being dead may not be so bad, especially if you're a Rock and Roll legend. Being deceased does not mean you have to stop performing concerts in front of live audiences. The late, great Roy Orbison is an example of this. The Roy Orbison hologram tour is about to launch. 


According to Rolling Stone: “The estate-approved Roy Orbison hologram tour has announced its maiden journey across North America. Following its debut shows this spring in Europe, In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert – The Hologram Tour will begin a 28-date run on October 1st at Oakland, California’s Fox Theatre. Like those performances, the show will pair the Rock Hall singer with live orchestration and newly recorded, never-before-heard, digitally remastered arrangements of his classics.” (


The tour's website adds: “Every song Orbison performs has been digitally remastered and brought to life in modern concert acoustics with the live orchestral experience to deliver a once in a lifetime event. The set list is a 16-song hit parade. Show up ready for a rock & roll...You’ll leap to your feet and sing along as Orbison delivers Oh, Pretty Woman, Only the Lonely, Crying and his many other great classics. The man is rocking venues across the nation. Do not miss the chance to see him perform.” (


I guess this just goes to prove the lyrics once sung by Danny and the Juniors. “Rock 'n roll is here to stay, It will never die, It was meant to be that way, Though I don't know why, I don't care what people say, Rock 'n roll is here to stay.” If this trend continues, Rock's legends may make more money in the afterlife than they did when they were actually alive. 


So there you have it, stuff you can't make up. The Neff Zone column is going on hiatus for a couple of weeks. I'm going to take some family vacation time. Enjoy the rest of July and I'll see you in August. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and