The news is filled with the many important things going on in the world. Sometimes, though, interesting items are overlooked. These are not earthshaking, but they range from informative to entertaining.


For example, something you have undoubtedly been anxiously hoping for your entire life – underwear with pockets. Called Pockies, these are just making it to the United States after wide popularity in Europe. “Underwear is the new outerwear...Why take time to put on pants if you are lounging around in your boxers and get a hankering for a latte or carry-out sandwich?” 

At $29 a pair, “Pockies might seem a solution in search of a problem. But what passes for casual wear continues to expand – or devolve, depending on your point of view.” (


One late night/early morning reason for wearing Pockies might be taking your Fido for a quick walk. A new service called “How I Met My Dog” could make these forays more enjoyable. It's a way to make sure you have the right dog for you while rescuing or rehoming dogs in animal shelters. “At How I Met My Dog we custom match you with your canine soulmate. Every dog is different and so is every person looking to adopt a dog. We make our matches based on behavior and lifestyle so the dog you fall in love with is a dog you can truly live with. Potential adopters fill out a 56-question behavior and lifestyle survey. That means every How I Met My Dog match is a custom match.” There are currently just two Michigan animal shelters participating, but the list is sure to grow at:


Have you ever wondered what happens to the partially used bars of soap you use in hotels once you check out? Typically, they end up in landfills, but that wastefulness is changing. “Carnival Cruise Line has partnered with Clean the World to donate nearly 40 tons of recycled soap from their cruise ships. The discarded soap will be collected each year to be recycled into new soap bars and distributed to vulnerable communities worldwide.” (


Carnival is not alone. Other hotel chains are joining this effort. “Clean the World, a global health leader in water, sanitation, and hygiene and sustainability, is  dedicated to saving lives by recycling and distributing soap and other hygiene products to more than 127 countries. According to the World Health Organization, millions of young lives could be saved with access to bar soap and hygiene education. More than 2 million bars of partially used hotel soap are thrown away every day in the United States. At a Clean the World facility, the soap is sanitized, grinded, and cut into new bars. The bars are then boxed for distribution.  

By recycling soap and other discarded hygiene products, Clean the World saves lives with items that traditionally end up in landfills.” (


I'm a heavy metal music fan, so volume does not bother me. However, there is a time and place for everything. “Anyone who eats out regularly has noticed restaurants grow significantly louder over the last two decades. As restaurants have evolved, the noise inside them has become such a nuisance Americans named it the number one most bothersome aspect of eating out, outweighing the usual suspects of bad service and high prices. Over the last ten years, other critics have noted this clamorous phenomenon, some even incorporating noise levels into their reviews.” 


If you are in the “let me eat in peace” camp, a new app might be right up your alley. “There’s now even an app for that, a self-styled 'Yelp for restaurant noise' called SoundPrint, which allows diners to rate and submit noise levels at local restaurants using their smartphone's internal microphone.” (


Available for free on both Apple and Android, “SoundPrint can help you plan your next meeting, date, or family outing around a great place to eat to hear and connect with each other.” (


Sometimes science and comedy come together. This came about recently when MIT published a study about the hipster effect. “You’ve probably seen this effect—perhaps you are a victim of it. You feel alienated from mainstream culture and want to make a statement that you are not part of it. You think about wearing different clothes, experimenting with a new hairstyle, or even trying unconventional makeup and grooming products. And yet when you finally reveal your new look to the world, it turns out you are not alone—millions of others have made exactly the same choices. Indeed, you all look more or less identical, the exact opposite of the countercultural statement you wanted to achieve. It's a running joke that male hipsters all look alike with their flannel shirts, thick beards and other seemingly off-brand attributes.” (


Now comes the comedy part of this. Along with the study, MIT posted a picture of a typical hipster. “Right after the article was published, MIT Technology Review promptly received an email from someone who claimed he was the man in the photo and hadn't given his consent. He accused the publication of slandering him and threatened legal action.” This would be serious except for one thing: “The model in the the photo was not the person who wrote the angry email.” The angry guy and the model were so similar in looks and dress that the angry guy couldn't tell the photo was not of him. “The incident just proves the story we ran: hipsters look so much alike that they can't even tell themselves apart from each other."



Finally on a personal note, there has been some confusion about the Cadillac KISStory Project ( Some assume there is an expiration date for submitting personal stories and photos. There is not. This is a long range project with no time limit. Please, send your materials any time. Nothing is too large or too small. All submissions are very valuable.


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