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.


With all the tribulations facing the folks in Flint, it's nice to see that some residents have retained their sense of humor. A Flint family watched a pothole grow from a tiny hole in the street to dangerous chasm. So, they came up with a unique way to solve the problem. They “decided they'd had enough with this small crater outside their home so they bought a plant to fill the hole.” They noted: “We are fixing Flint one pothole at a time. We might as well make our holes pretty.” (


There is a bit of humor in this, but when you think about it there could be an “editorial comment” embedded therein. What if everyone in the state did the same thing? It would sure send a message to our fearless leaders about the “lip service/no service” road repair plan they passed a while back. The only problem is that the state's greenhouses would sell out in about five minutes because the demand would outstrip the supply.


Flint isn't the only city where a bit of whimsical fun has been happening. The town of Mayo, Florida recently changed the name of the town for a few days. You guessed it. They changed it to Miracle Whip. “The city unveiled its water tower with the new name atop it and hosted a picnic featuring foods made with Miracle Whip.  The promotion generated “up to $25,000 in city beautification funds.”  



With Miracle Whip on the mind, the next logical thing about which to think is sandwiches. “Mens Health” magazine just published a list identifying the most iconic sandwich in every state. These included some taste-tempting treats: Fried Bologna (Arkansas), PB and Huckleberry Jam (Idaho), and the Fluffernutter (Massachusetts). 


Minnesota claimed the Walleye Sandwich. So what is Michigan's sandwich? The totally boring Ham Sandwich. Now you know why Michigan doesn't get to sit with the cool states in the cafeteria. The whole list is at:


By the way, if you go to Missouri for its iconic Hot Salami sandwich you can be assured that the salami is actually “meat.” As of last Tuesday: “Missouri has become the first state to regulate use of the word "meat." A law that went into effect says: “Companies cannot misrepresent a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry. The new law applies to cultured meat, which is made by growing animal cells in a lab, as well as meat substitutes that are soy-based or plant-based. Anyone who violates the law could be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to one year in jail.” I can't wait for the first “Salami-Gate” scandal. (


Don't laugh. Salami-Gate could become a real thing, just like being prosecuted for breaking one of the food laws now on the books in any given state. For example, in Alaska you can get in big trouble for feeding any alcoholic beverage to a moose. Besides, a tipsy moose tends to eat all the bar snacks. This is not a problem in North Dakota, however. “In this state, beer and pretzels cannot legally be served at the same time in any bar or restaurant.” 


Many states have similar oddball statutes. In Alabama you can be arrested for having an ice cream cone in your back pocket. A Chicago, Illinois law “states that you may not eat in a place that's on fire.” If you're hungry in Washington, there are some places where you won't find a vending machine because it's against the law to attach a vending machine to a utility pole. More of these at:


How to pay for all this food might be a concern. If you plan to pay using a credit card you may want to carry some disinfectant wipes. “ and researchers at the University of Texas just released a new study titled, 'Credit cards carry more types of bacteria than coins and cash', which reveals that harmful bacteria can be found on credit cards, tablets, and ATM keypads.” 


Researchers found: “Payment tablets, like the ones restaurant, bar and food truck patrons tap and sign with their bare fingers, were found to have more different types of bacteria than any other payment method studied. And credit cards had more different types of bacteria than cash and coins. Our study of credit cards and other payment methods found more than 3,000 different types of bacteria, including some that cause pneumonia, strep throat, boils and many other unpleasant conditions.” 


This all sounds pretty gross, right? Don't freak out. The bottom line is this: “There’s little reason to panic about paying with plastic. If you’re healthy and you wash your hands regularly, you can tap, swipe and dip without fear of an emergency room trip.” Still, knowing all of this, there's a bit of a “yuck factor” now in the back of your mind, isn't there?  (


Finally, if you attend a concert or sporting event and find you can't afford snacks because the tickets cost so much, there may be a reason. According to Ticketmaster, About 60 percent of major event tickets are purchased by “bots” and then listed on secondary market sites at a significant markup. If the bots are buying up Detroit Lions tickets they may experience shorted out circuits on a regular basis. 


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