Have you ever read or heard something that caused you to react with surprise?  Your response might even border on shock. “Say what? Are you kidding me?” Recently, I have had several “say what” moments. 


EIGHT-LEGGED ROCK AND ROLL? Warmer weather means there is more spider activity. Don't squish that creepy crawler, though, because it may be on its way to band practice. “A new science study headed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology translated a spider web into a piece of music — an achievement that experts believe could help humans communicate with the arachnids.”


Apparently, spiders are quite musical. “We're trying to generate synthetic signals to basically speak the language of the spider. The scientists recorded web vibrations that were created as spiders crafted a web. The team was able to classify various sounds and assign them to different strands, which were used to create a 3D reconstruction of the web. Eventually, the team created musical notes based on the web's structure and combined them into patterns to create the musical piece.”


So, if you hear a tiny “Rock and Roll All Nite” playing in your house, it may be coming from a spider web. (




HEAVENLY BILL COLLECTION? Speaking of creepy things, how about a guy who paid his bills for a decade, even though he was dead? A man in Norway passed away in 2011, but no one noticed and his bills continued to be covered. “The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration halted the man's pension checks in 2018 after being unable to make contact with him. But his bills continued to be paid automatically from his bank account. " 


In a bit of an understatement, neighbors said the man kept to himself. For a decade? Aren't you glad you don't have “caring” neighbors like this guy?  (


THINGS ARE TOUGH ALL UNDER? Only one percent of Switzerland's military are women. They want to raise that ratio to ten percent. The key to achieve this? Underwear. “One big idea to boost military recruitment involves women's underwear. The country has never provided women's underwear to military recruits. All members of the armed services, regardless of sex, are provided with men's underwear (awkward-fitting and often too large).” 


Who knew that Fruit of the Loom could be an important military recruitment enticement? It gives new life to the “boxers or briefs” debate. (


POTATO POLITICS? You probably know that over the years there have been proposals to make Michigan's upper peninsula its own state – Superior. Now, out West, a similar proposal is being made by some Idaho politicians, the creation of “Greater Idaho.” 


“Millions of Americans now living in Oregon, California, and Washington state could end up in their own Greater Idaho if a proposal submitted to Idaho lawmakers. The plan would involve Idaho expanding its border to the Pacific Ocean, could grow Idaho's population by fifty percent and make it the nation's third-largest state in terms of area.” The plan calls for around three-quarters of Oregon becoming part of Idaho, along with sections of southeast Washington and northern California. 


Well, this might be good for Idaho, but it might not be so easy to convince the other states to go along. “A former speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, told Idaho lawmakers that 'a lot of details' would need to be worked out.” Hmmmm...politicians of four different states working on details? Yep, that's going to be no problem at all. Right? (


CLEANING GONE WRONG? Before Idaho annexes northern California, they may want to think long and hard. You know, strange things often happen on the Left Coast. 


For instance, what occurred when police responded to a 911 call. “Yana Sydnor said she and her two-year-old daughter were sleeping at their Natomas home when she was awakened by a sound she thought was an intruder in her home.” 

She then did the “logical” thing, hid in the bathroom and texted her friends. “I  was like, 'Hey, someone is in my house,' and they were like, 'Call the police.' I was like, 'Oh yeah, yeah, call the police.'"


So, she then called the police. “The police broke down the front door and stormed the house to find the suspected burglar was actually the owner's robot vacuum.” No word on if the robot did any jail time, but the word on the street is that the jailhouse floors have never been so clean. (


CORN CONTROVERSY? There's a debate happening on the Food Network Facebook page. A blogger called a particular dish “a Midwestern classic” and also said “you would often find it in a church basement pot luck.” The dish is Popcorn Salad, a combination of carrots, snap peas, celery, and popcorn folded together with mayonnaise.


Here's the problem. Many Midwesterners claim they have never heard of this “classic.” Count me in that group. I have lived in the Midwest my whole life, have visited most of the Midwest states, and have never encountered Popcorn Salad. I must have led a sheltered culinary life. (


BOWLED OVER? Finally, some “say what” fun. Bowling is popular in Michigan, so a recent feat on the professional circuit is cool to see. “Professional bowler Anthony Neuer became the first competitor in the sport to convert a 7-10 split (two pins left standing on opposite sides of the lane) during a televised match in thirty years.”



Neuer, known as the Ginger Assassin, was competing in the U.S. Open semifinal match at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada. The video of this historic shot is at: Are you kidding me?  


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