It's spring. Really! The Tigers are playing real games, Bell's Oberon beer is on store shelves and the geese are back on Lake Cadillac. Luckily, there are some “springy” things in the news just perfect to fling your way. 


A sure sign of spring is college basketball's March Madness. “March Madness could be the largest sports-betting activity all year, with the American Gaming Association predicting 47 million people will bet a combined $8.5 billion, or 40 percent more than the public wagered on the Super Bowl.” 


About half of that is in informal pools, which makes it tough to tax and why states are moving fast to get in on the betting action. “Eight states have authorized and implemented sports betting, it has been approved but isn't operational yet in three other states and the District of Columbia, (and) sports betting is under consideration in 23 other states.”  (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/24/march-madness-betting-how-deduct-gambling-loses-taxes/3261139002/)


If you're watching those games on TV this spring you might want to think ahead to next spring. The next big thing in television displays is called MicroLED. Scientific jargon aside, MicroLED is touted to be four to ten times clearer than what is available now and according to Popular Science magazine “displays snap together like floor tiles” to fit any space. So far, the largest one exhibited at electronics shows has been a 219 inch beauty covering an entire wall. Get your living room ready! (https://www.whathifi.com/features/what-is-micro-led-tv-and-is-it-any-good and https://www.cnet.com/news/microled-oled-screen-technology-samsung-the-wall/.)   


Along with March Madness another rite of spring is spring cleaning. Getting rid of winter grime probably will entail using a vacuum cleaner which will inevitably cause your dog to hide under the bed. Have you ever wondered why dogs hate vacuum cleaners? According to PetMD, there are three reasons for this. First is the most obvious: “Dogs will feel sound phobia when they are exposed to noises they aren’t familiar with.” Added to that: “While the vacuum runs back and forth on your carpet and floors, certain types of scents could be kicked up into the air that the dog may not be particularly used to.” Finally, they hate the suction. “Typically, a dog will use its nose to learn about a new territory or another animal. Since the vacuum is also sniffing like a dog...the dog may find this to be intimidating.” (https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/scary-sounds-understanding-noise-phobia-dogs?page=3)


Now that the weather is nicer (and we can finally see the sidewalks), it's probably better to take your dog outside anyway. Dogs actually really need the exercise. “The majority of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese – 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs. Even more troubling: The percentage of pets that are obese is on the rise. In 2018, 18.9 percent of dogs and 33.8 percent of cats were obese.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/03/12/pet-obesity-majority-us-cats-and-dogs-obese-overweight/3129342002/)


While a remedy for dog obesity is for owners to walk their dogs more, doing the same for a cat might be more problematic. With this in mind, a new invention may not get the job done. “Enter the backpack. There are a few models, including some like 'The Fat Cat' created specifically for very large cats. One is from U-Pet (it makes) the cat look he is in a space capsule and it comes in a pleasing shade of bright yellow.” You have to see these to get the picture: https://www.ozy.com/good-sht/the-better-way-to-carry-your-cat-on-your-back/92424. My guess is that cats will not be pleased with this innovation. 


Whether walking your dog or carrying your cat, being a pedestrian these days is a dangerous undertaking, particularly in some states. GasBuddy says there are ten states with the most aggressive drivers: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona. “Hard braking is the most frequent aggressive driving event, making up 67 percent of total events, followed by speeding (25 percent) and acceleration (8 percent). (https://www.gasbuddy.com/NewsRoom/PressRelease/599?fvm=1&_ga=2.24336634.1714734164.1553700550-18205721.1553266155)


Finally, if you do venture out this spring you might want to make sure your phone is fully charged. Popular Science, (April issue) recommends a way to do this – the Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 and 2 (https://www.anker.com/deals/powerport_atom) . Simply put, the little brick that comes with a phone has a 5 watt output while the Anker PowerPort puts out 30 watts. This charges a phone about 2.5 times faster. The magazine called this “the little charger of the future.” Could be worth a look. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews