This is the Fourth of July weekend and the temperatures are going to be firecracker hot. What better time to sit under that shade tree in the backyard and  beat the heat with a frosty beverage in hand and random thoughts about nothing in general. You know, sometimes you just need to pause life and check the picture on the box. 


For example, Fathers Day just went by and asked readers to chime in on an interesting question: “Which TV Dad Do You Wish Was Your Own?” There were sixteen dads who made the list. Number one will probably not be a surprise, Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show). 


Some of the other names on the list, though, may cause you to raise an eyebrow.  Finishing two through sixteen were: Philip Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Tim Taylor (Home Improvement), Charles Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie), Phil Dunphy (Modern Family), Howard Cunningham (Happy Days), Hal (Malcolm in the Middle), Danny Tanner (Full House), Red Forman (That '70s Show), Dan Conner (Roseanne), Herman Munster (The Munsters), Peter Griffin (Family Guy), Carl Winslow (Family Matters), Gomez Addams (The Addams Family), John Walton (The Waltons), and Jed Clampett (The Beverly Hillbillies). 



During the lockdown, television viewing has risen so you may have watched some of these old shows. However, a new viewing trend has emerged that might surprise you. People have become obsessed with watching sourdough-related content (on YouTube). “This may sound oddly specific, but CNET reports that between mid-March and the end of May, the average number of daily views of videos related to all things sourdough rose more than 400 percent.” Now you know why you smell bread baking as you sit under that shade tree.  You realize, of course, that if you encounter a slice of fresh bread you are obligated to slather it with peanut butter and consume same. It may be a state law (or at least a city ordinance). 



That bread consumption may get you thinking about getting some exercise. Good news! Lululemon, makers of high-end workout clothing, is acquiring the in-home fitness company Mirror. Lululemon is betting “...that more people are going to be pivoting to exercise at their homes.”


Mirror “offers live classes weekly through its wall-mounted mirror device and on-demand workouts.” The Mirror retails for $1,495 and subscribers pay $39 per month to stream the classes. “Lululemon detailed its three-fold vision to be a brand that doesn’t just sell clothes like leggings and sports bras, but that encourages people to sweat more.” LuLulemon primarily sells to the female market, so they might like to know what the nuns at Flint St, Michael high school always told us: “Ladies don't sweat, they perspire.” (


All that sweating could lead to overheating, so something to cool you off would be good, especially if you could set a world record in the bargain. Try smacking wet sponges in your face. An Idaho man set a Guinness World Record taking 92 hits to the face from wet sponges. David Rush had  help from neighbor Jonathan Hannon. “Hannon threw 106 sponges in the one minute time frame, and 96 of them made contact with Rush's face to break the record, which previously stood at 76.” Rush said: “It is difficult to figure out the timing of when you can open your eyes to reposition your face in between sponge hits.” 



If wet sponges are not your thing, Rush set another record that I'm sure you could top. Plus, this is something that dovetails nicely with sitting under that tree and makes use of that glass holding the frosty beverage. Rush “added another title to his name by bouncing 16 Ping-Pong balls into a pint glass in one minute.” For you, breaking this record will be a piece of cake (or sourdough bread as the case might be). 


Finally, on the holiday on which we celebrate liberty and freedom, it's comforting to know that our tax dollars are being wisely spent to protect these values. Sort of. There is one protection system that the Pentagon can only use if the weather is nice. According to the Defense News, there is a meteorological condition that prevents the use of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. You can see this coming, can't you? Wait for it. You guessed it! The F-35 LIGHTNING can't fly if there is any LIGHTNING nearby.

Says the News: “For a plane nicknamed “Lightning II,” the F-35′s lightning protection systems have, ironically, become an embarrassing problem issue for the jet. The most widely used variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is currently unable to fly in thunderstorms.”


Lockheed, the manufacturer, advises: “As a safety precaution, the JPO recommended to unit commanders that they implement a lightning flight restriction for the F-35A, which restricts flying within 25 miles of lightning or thunderstorms.” 



The F-35 Lightning may be the only plane in the U.S. arsenal that requires clearance from Jim Cantore at the Weather Channel before it can be deployed. 


Enjoy your holiday. 


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

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