With the new school year underway, it's always good to know about things that could make the lives of students and parents go a bit smoother. Sometimes, it's the little things that can make life more enjoyable. 


For example, what exemplifies back-to-school better than filling a lunch box with flavorful treats? Luckily, this is not a problem this time of year because we are beginning the pumpkin spice season. Everywhere you turn is pumpkin spice – candy bars, salsa, peanut butter, cereal, you name it.


Now coming onto the pumpkin spice scene (debuting on September 23) is Pumpkin Spice SPAM. Says the press release: “Pumpkin Spice combines deliciousness with creativity, allowing the latest variety to be incorporated into a number of dishes, from on-trend brunch recipes to an easy, pick me-up snack.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/08/15/pumpkin-spice-2019-spams-ham-can-getting-new-seasonal-flavor/2017057001/)


By the way, in case you did not know this, Pumpkin Spice is just one of a dozen flavors offered by SPAM. Among others are: Hot and Spicy, Jalapeño, Teriyaki, and Garlic. (https://www.spam.com/varieties)


Students will need all the snacks they can carry if the weather prediction for this winter holds true. This winter is being touted as a “polar coaster.” According to the Farmer's Almanac: “ Winter is expected to be full of more ups and downs, twists and turns than a Michigan’s Adventure thrill ride. Michiganders (should) get out their sweaters and coats; tune up — or buy — a snowblowers; and book a vacation to someplace warm in January.” (https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/08/27/winter-weather-prediction-michigan/2130801001/)


Heading to warmer climes may be good advice, but not of much use to students and parents in the middle of a school year. The key thing here is to make sure you're dressed for the elements, right down to your underwear. This seems like simple logic, however when it comes to underwear apparently there may be some underlying factors. 


According to a study by Tommy John (an underwear company): “Forty-five percent admitted to having worn the same pair of underwear for two or more days, while thirteen percent claimed to have worn the same pair for a week or more. Men are the ones skimping on changing their skivvies — they’re 2.5 times as likely as women to wear their underwear for a week or more. A recent study found that clean underwear can contain up to 10,000 living bacteria — even after being washed.”



Assuming students are clad in clean “unmentionables” and parents are trying to get them to school in the midst of a polar coaster morning, one thing to be avoided is being pulled over for a speeding ticket. One way to mitigate this possibility is to drive a vehicle less likely to be spotted speeding. The ten vehicles with the most speeding tickets are: Subaru WRX, Scion FR-S, Volkswagen GTI, Hyundai Genesis coupe, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Ram 2500, Dodge Dart, Infiniti G37, Subaru Impreza, and Hyundai Veloster. The ten vehicles that garner the least amount of speeding tickets are: Chevrolet Astro, Chevrolet C2500, Mazda MPV, KIA Rondo, Smart Fortwo, Ford Windstar, Dodge Caravan, Chevrolet Venture, and Audi Q7. (https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/mark-phelan/2019/08/17/vehicles-cars-most-tickets/2016498001/)


 While parents ferrying their students, inevitably they will proffer some advice, like “study hard if you want to get a good job.” That's only semi-true, however. I think I have found the best job in the entire world and to do it you never have to get out of of your jammies – Mick Jagger's mattress technician.


“Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger's ask when checking into a hotel is a dream for anyone who's ever been uneasy about the cleanliness of their room. Hotels must begin preparing for Jagger's arrival at least a day before he gets in. Mick always asks for a new mattress in his room, no matter how posh the hotel. He insists the plastic wrapping stays on while someone sleeps for one night on the mattress to break it in.” 


The reason for this makes sense, given that Jagger is a tad long in the tooth. “Jagger knows the importance of a good night sleep and simply wants to ensure that he's at his best for every performance.” Still, being his mattress tester is pretty cushy employment eh? (https://www.iheart.com/content/2019-08-19-mick-jagger-gets-a-brand-new-mattress-broken-in-for-him-at-every-hotel/)


Well, once the kidlings are delivered to school, parents might want to take advantage of the break in the action. One way is to watch a movie. In bygone days, this meant going to a theater. Today, $9.11 is the average price of a movie ticket. That compares to 42 cents in 1946. To see what movie tickets cost from 1946 on, just get on that Internet thingy and check out “The cost of a movie ticket the year you were born” at: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/08/29/cost-of-a-movie-ticket-the-year-you-were-born/39998123/


If parents would rather relax by watching a televised sports event rather than a movie, a bit of sports broadcast trivia might be of interest. Question: “What was the first game broadcast by ESPN?” Answer: “Sports enthusiasts may be surprised to know that first ESPN game broadcast on Sept. 7, 1979, emanated from Joecks Field in Lannon, Wisconsin. It was Game 1 of the American Professional Slowpitch Softball League World Series, a best-of-nine endeavor, between the Milwaukee Schlitz and Kentucky Bourbons.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2019/08/28/espn-commemorates-first-broadcast-wisconsin-softball-game/2139268001/)


Finally, some wisdom that all parents can impart to the students in their charge. “Respect your parents. They passed school without Google.”


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