Labor Day is signals the end of summer. The days are getting shorter and the temps cooler. This Labor Day is also a touchstone for me because it marks Neff Zone column number 800. So, onward with the holiday festivities!


It's important for me to celebrate because this might be my last Labor Day. See, according to the Center for Near Earth Objects Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “we have an asteroid zooming toward us.” It is due to arrive on November 2.


This is of no concern for most of you. “Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approximately 6.5 feet, and poses no threat to Earth. The chance of it hitting us is just 0.41percent. “Ah, but that seemingly minuscule chance is significant to me. I am a bald guy. As any bald guy will tell you, it there is even an infinitesimal of something falling from anywhere it seek out a bald head like a magnet. (All the bald guys out there are shaking their heads in agreement right now.) If you see me wearing a helmet on November 2 you'll know I am just trying to survive. (


Now, if you're looking for something to do this Labor Day, you might want to fill out an application to do a digital detox for money. “A satellite internet service provider is offering to pay someone $1,000 to digitally detox in nature without any electronic devices. One randomly selected applicant for the 'Digital Detox Challenge' will receive $1,000 in exchange for spending 48 hours living out of an RV at a U.S. national park without any Internet or phone service.”


The contest is open to those over age 25 with a valid driver's license and eligibility to work in the United States. A winner will be announced September 23. You can apply at:


If you cannot do a digital detox because you've had your phone surgically attached to your hand, you may be interested in doing something with the other hand. How about doing a Rubik's Cube one-handed? Want to make it tougher? Add in a hula hoop. “An Ontario 11-year-old broke a Guinness World Record when she solved thirty Rubik's cubes one-handed while hula hooping.” You can beat that – right? (


If cubes and hoops are beyond your athletic skills, surely you can eat a cookie in less than 8.8 seconds. Here's the fun part. You have to balance the cookie on your forehead and transfer it to your mouth using only the muscles in your face (no hands).

See a guy do this at:


Perhaps excitement like this is too much for your Labor Day. If you'd rather do something boring, a new video game is just the ticket. “Airplane Mode is billed as the only flight simulation game where players can experience being an economy class passenger on a long-haul flight. The game allows player's to simulate the experience with available activities including rifling through an in-flight magazine, completing Sudoku puzzles, watching movies from the 1930s and looking out the window. The players are also treated to experiences including in-flight meals, turbulence and WiFi outages.” As a wild card, the company says: “A crying baby is not guaranteed on every flight.” Or, and this is my suggestion, just go into your garage, grab a hammer, and bonk yourself in the head. ( and


Of course, most of us will just stay home and be content with a backyard picnic. If you want to shake up the mundane, consider trying a hot 2020 trend – watermelon burgers. “Nothing has sparked controversy quite like the rising 2020 trend of the watermelon burger — a slab of sweet summer fruit, cooked until it turns mahogany, and dressed in cheese and other condiments. Sometimes it’s just grilled naked with a little salt and pepper, just until a char has formed but a little crispness in the center remains. Other times, every cell of the watermelon undergoes a transformation thanks to a combination of curing, fermenting, smoking and frying, coming out beautiful and alien.”


Whatever the outcome, one food critic notes: “To be honest, serving up a piece of seared, smoky watermelon is one of the easiest ways to surprise your friends and family at dinner.” It will be a surprise alright. You eat yours first; I'll hold your beer.



Finally, a common Labor Day picnic chit-chat topic is the weather. Winter is just around the corner and the almanacs have made their predictions.


The Farmer's Almanac says: “Our long-range forecast is calling for a cold winter with normal to below-normal temperatures in areas from the Great Lakes and Midwest, westward through the Northern and Central Plains, and Rockies.” See the full forecast and map at:


Last year they were pretty accurate. “We suggested that it would be a Polar Coaster Winter, filled with so many ups and downs on the thermometer that you might feel as if you were on a roller coaster. Well, last winter was quite a ride, especially in the Northeast, Rockies, and parts of the Great Lakes.”


As for the Old Farmer's Almanac: “We’re predicting a light winter for most of us, with warmer-than-normal temperatures in the forecast for a large part of the country. Snowfall will be greater than normal in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Minnesota and northern Michigan. The snowiest periods will be in late December, early and late January, late February, and early March.” See the full forecast at:


Last winter was a good one for their predictions. “Our overall accuracy rate came out to 80.5 percent, which is just above our traditional average rate of 80 percent.


Now, onward to Labor Day 2021...unless the asteroid gets me.


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