I read several newspapers each day, both in print and online. One of the benefits of this is that I learn something new every day, things I did not know before. Doctors tell us that lifelong learning is helpful in maintaining a healthy mind. I don't know about you, but I need all the help I can get, so news about health is important. 


For example, I didn't know about the 2018 Ig Nobel awards. “The annual prize is sponsored by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for comical but practical scientific discovery.” 


The winner in the medical education category was Dr. Akira Horiuchi, a pediatrician at Showa Inan General Hospital in Komagane, Japan. “He won for his self-colonoscopy study in which he used a colonoscope designed for children and sat upright rather than lying in the traditional supine position. Horiuchi isn't recommending that you give yourself a colonoscopy in the comfort of your home. He said that many people are afraid of getting a colonoscopy, and he just wanted to show how easy it can be.”


He went on to observe: "If people watch a video of my self-colonoscopy, they think colonoscopy is simple and easy." I'm going to take Horiuchi's word about this and perhaps take a pass on watching the video. I want to know stuff, but then again sometimes you have to guard against your eyeballs bursting into flames. (


While thinking about medical issues I was startled to learn that I have only a few more years to live. Residents of Wexford County have a far below average life expectancy than people living in other counties. The average Wexfordite lives to 77.09 years. Moving to a surrounding county may gain you some extra life: Missaukee (78.1), Lake (78.3), Osceola (78.3), and Grand Traverse (79.9). Keewenaw County folks enjoy the longest life in Michigan at 82.7, but avoid Wayne County at 74.4. The average life span for all Americans is 78.6. Now I know why I sometimes I feel like I am in a football game that is in the fourth quarter and headed for sudden death overtime. (


One way to live longer is to avoid hazardous situations. When you are driving down an expressway that means keeping an eye on the truck ahead of you. Why? “More vehicles have been smashing into overpasses that were too low to limbo, causing millions of dollars in damage and impelling road and bridge closures across the state. In Michigan, there were 15 significant high load hits in 2017 compared with seven in 2015 and in 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).” (


Actually, this past week was “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week,” and as a group truck drivers are a safety-conscious bunch. I didn't know this, but trucks may be safer than baby walkers (that help their little ones scoot around before they can do it totally on their own). “A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that, between 1990 and 2014, more than 230,000 kids younger than 15 months ended up in ERs after using a walker.” 


It turns out that even with these “vehicles” speed is the key factor in accidents. “The reason they've been deemed a hazard is that little ones can zip along at too-fast speeds: One estimate says they can propel themselves 4 feet in just one second, meaning they may end up in dangerous situations before adults can catch up, like falling down stairs, burning themselves by pulling pots off of stoves, and plummeting into pools.” (


Staying healthy is important to all of us and that could include getting out in the fresh air regardless of the season. This time of year many of us are anticipating the upcoming ski season. If you're a skier with a few extra dollars, you might be interested in buying a membership in “Colorado's first and only private mountain resort.”


I just found out about this. ”This winter the Cimarron Mountain Club (CMC) in Colorado is set to open between Telluride and Crested Butte. With just seven spaces available – to join the existing six founder member families – membership comes with a price tag of $2.285 million for life, not including the annual fees of $55,000-$65,000.”


By the way, the membership fee doesn’t include a cabin or chalet, just a 35-acre plot of land where you can build. 

This is quite a deal. The developers note: “So next time you’re in a lift queue, or swerving to avoid a reckless skier, remember, find just over $2 million and you too could never have to deal with crowded slopes again.” (


Finally, living healthy means you have to eat healthy, so I was pleased to learn about a new taste treat. A New York restaurant that makes Detroit-style pizzas is using another “pantry staple” in the place of traditional tomato sauce. “The raw dough is topped with spicy mustard and then it's topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese.” Voila, the Mustard Pizza! (


The mustard pizza's creator describes the pie as: “A little bit of corned beef and drop of sauerkraut for flavor. But it’s all mustard. The mustard is the brightest flavor in the pizza and the corned beef gives it a little bit of smokiness and little bit of texture and the sauerkraut adds the sourness and little bit of crunch.” 

Some naysayers may not think this is “health food.” It's an opinion. But, in fact, the idea of a mustard pizza has been around a while. 

Such a creation was put together by the late Detroit Free Press columnist Bob Talbert in 1990. “My ingredients were simple: mustard on top of the raw pizza dough, coney island chili atop that, covered with quarter-inch slices of hot dogs (three hot dogs per pizza) and topped after the cooking in the wood-fired oven with chopped, raw white onions.” 

Thinking about these just makes life expectancy statistics seem inconsequential, right?  


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

Mustard Pizza