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 from Big Rob's stomping grounds of Flint.


When it comes to crime, the criminals in Flint are fearless to say the least. An example of this happened when a Flint resident videotaped a man stealing metal from the roof of a vacant Flint school. “He saw the man on the roof ripping off a chunk of metal from the spire in broad daylight. The video was taken at the former Whittier Classical Academy, which sits right next to the former Flint Central High School.” Needless to say, “neighbors are concerned.” Realize that this did not occur in an obscure part of Flint, but in the heart of the city. The building is “just steps away from the Flint Cultural Center.” 



It's a problem for the struggling city because demolishing vacated school buildings could cost up to $3 million. Big Rob, with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, suggests: “Flint can't afford to demolish the buildings but the scrappers seem to be doing that for them, so why not make it legal? Why not offer free scrapping permits? All you need to do is sign one that states you're scrapping at your own risk. Within hours these buildings will look like piranhas stripping a wildebeest trying to cross a river.” 


Protecting your neighborhood seems to be a trend. “A Seattle man took exception to a car-share vehicle that was parked without permission at his duplex. So he built a fence around it. He wants the company to pay $65 a day in storage fees, $300 for the fence, and up to $500 for harassment fees.” The company says this request might amount to extortion. On the other hand, sort of like some TV ads say in the fine print no human can read: “The car is free, just pay a separate fee for processing and handling.” (


Then again, maybe there is a time when you actually want a crook to break into your home. Like the guy in Massachusetts who returned home from work and found that someone had broken in. But wait! The burglar didn't steal anything, but instead cleaned the house. The home owner observed: “Not only did they not take anything, but the purpose of the visit was to clean my bathrooms and bedrooms. They made the beds, vacuumed the rugs, scrubbed the toilets and left toilet paper roses. Every room had been cleaned, except the kitchen. Even my son's bedroom was immaculate, complete with his stuffed animals being neatly arranged.” No one has been charged with this non-crime. I guess that means they had a clean getaway. (


Speaking of thieves entering your home, there was a good piece of advice in an article by tech expert Kim Komando. In “10 mistakes people make online,” she had a mistake to avoid if you're going on vacation. Do not tell the world “Look at me, I’m on vacay!” She advises: “It’s so tempting to share in-the-moment updates and pictures while you’re on vacation. Think of these as public announcements that say, 'I’m out of town. My house is empty. Go burglarize me.' Wait until you get back home and post your photos after the fact.” (


When it comes to vacations, it's always good to plan ahead. If you'd like to ski in the summer, for example, it could be a reality in a couple of years – in Virginia. “A landfill in Fairfax County may be the future home of what could be the longest indoor ski slope in North America. Fairfax Peak would be built on the site of the county’s Interstate 95 landfill in the Lorton area.” It includes: a 450,000 square-foot snow sports facility, a 1,700-foot ski slope with a 280 foot vertical, a 100-plus room luxury hotel, skiing and snowboarding ramps, a gondola, restaurants, a ski shop and a sky bar. 



I can almost hear the excited screams of schussers now: “Yahoo, these moguls are as big as refrigerators. Wait a minute. Those ARE refrigerators. And that's my old sofa!” 


Finally, rather than traveling away from home a stay-cation might be in order. You could use the time to clean out your junk drawers. You never know what you'll find. The family of an antiques dealer in Scotland  found a chess piece that had been passed down (by the dealer) who didn't realize its significance. “A chess piece purchased for $7.50 by an antiques dealer in Scotland in 1964 has been identified as one of the 900-year-old Lewis Chessmen, among the greatest artifacts of the Viking era. The chess piece is expected to bring between $670,000 and $1.26 million at an auction next month. The Lewis Chessmen are intricate, expressive chess pieces in the form of Norse warriors, carved from walrus ivory in the 12th century.” (


Check mate, eh? Treasures may be lurking at the back of a drawer in your house. You know, behind those 500 keys (that open who knows what). 


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