THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- AUGUST 21, 2021
During the dog days of August it's a perfect time to roll down the car windows and cruise around. If you have no plan, you never know what you'll encounter. That's the point.
What brought cruising to my attention is the ongoing battle between Ford and GM over the term “cruise.” The legal fight is over whether or not "cruise" is a generic term.
Ford wants the U.S. Patent Office to rescind GM trademarks the terms "Cruise" and "Super Cruise." GM is suing Ford over its use of "Blue Cruise" for an automated driving system. “GM filed a federal suit against Ford on July 24, accusing Ford of violating GM trademarks by using the name "Blue Cruise" for a system that enables hands-free driving. GM had previously trademarked "Super Cruise" for its hands-free, partially automated driving technology.” (https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/ford-counterattacks-cruise-dispute-with-gm-2021-08-14/)
I don't know about you, but I don't give a hoot about how either company uses “cruise.” When it comes to automated driving, I just want it to work. When I tell the car to take me to Milwaukee, I don't want it to take the direct route across Lake Michigan.
Cruising in an automated car might not be an option for many folks anyway. You have to be able to afford the contraption. “It might take more money than you think to reach the middle class income tier. The Pew Research Center defines middle class as those with incomes that are two-thirds to double the U.S. median household income.”
They did a state-by-state calculation of what would be considered middle class in each location. For Michigan, the two-person family middle-class income range is $41,073.68 to $122,608. A three-person family needs $49,233.61 to $146,966 to be middle class. If you have a four-person family you have to generate $60,088.28 to $179,368. See the stats for all the states at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/income-level-considered-middle-class-230000794.html.
So, just for fun, let's assume you have a vehicle of some sort and you want to go cruising. A place to start could be to cruise on over to New Jersey to the first-ever Oreo Cafe. “It vows to offer a new, immersive and personalized way for all fans and cookie lovers to experience Oreo in person.”
The Oreo Cafe offers many treats you probably won't find anywhere else. “It's a first-of-its-kind treats bar packed with customizable Oreo creations, including: waffle sundae with baked-in Oreo pieces, Oreo Cookies and Cream Cheesecake layered with Oreo cookie mousse, and drizzled chocolate ganache and milk chocolate rosettes.” You can even get Oreo-scented candles in the gift shop. (https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/news/first-oreo-cafe-american-dream-new-jersey)
If you want to cruise to something closer to home, motor to the Fed Community restaurant in Clarkston, Michigan. Here's the surprise, though. Don't go for the food; go for the restroom. That's because their restroom is among the finalists for the title of “America's Best Restroom.”
The Cintas company has identified the ten best public lavatories in the country based on hygiene and aesthetics. “The Fed Community wanted to go all out in an unexpected space and make its restrooms a conversation piece. Mixing unexpected colors, patterns and texture, the restrooms are bright and airy. They also feature affirmations to make patrons feel good. The space is a fun surprise for whomever opens the door.” (https://www.cintas.com/news/press-releases/cintas-selects-the-2021-americas-best-restroom-contest-finalists/)
Many people like to cruise around looking at houses for sale. If this is your predilection, sashay to Boston and check out the “Skinny House” that's for sale for a mere $1.2 million. The good news is it's four stories high. The odd news is that those stories are just 9.25 feet wide. If you're seven feet tall and weigh one hundred pounds, this may be your dream home. (https://www.newser.cohttps://www.newser.com/story/309838/bostons-skinny-house-hits-market-for-12m.htmlm/story/309838/bostons-skinny-house-hits-market-for-12m.html)
So maybe driving is not for you. After all, cruising on a plane at ten thousand feet is a faster way to get from point A to point B. Ah, but a smooth ride can be interrupted by one lout in the cabin. If you fly on United Airlines, the crew will not be asking to borrow your duct tape (to remedy the situation).
“United Airlines has asked its employees to not use duct tape to restrain unruly passengers. “United flight attendants were urged to please remember that there are designated items onboard that may be used in difficult situations, and alternative measures such as tape should never be used. Employees should resort to standard de-escalation measures, including using the huddle process … which involves discussing the situation with the captain, customer service representative and ground security coordinator for evaluation and solutions.” (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/aug/17/united-airlines-flight-crews-duct-tape-unruly-passengers)
I guess “passengers” don't fall into a category governed by the Standard Rules of Maintenance. “If it moves, you duct tape it. If it doesn't move, you WD-40 it. If it requires a hammer, you have an electrical problem.”
Finally, this is the time of year when you may be getting tired of having the kids under your feet. I have a solution – parcel post.
See, there was a point in our history when mailing your children somewhere else was legal. “Regulations about what you could and couldn’t send through the mail were vague when post offices began accepting parcels over four pounds on January 1, 1913. People immediately started testing its limits by mailing eggs, bricks, snakes and other unusual packages. So were people allowed to mail their children? Technically, there was no postal regulation against it.”
In fact, there were seven instances of people mailing children between 1913 and 1915.” It was cheaper to buy the stamps required to mail a child than to buy a ticket on a passenger train.
The greatest distance someone actually mailed a child was 720 miles. A woman mailed her six-year-old daughter from her home in Florida to her father’s home in Virginia.” The trip cost fifteen cents in stamps. (https://www.history.com/news/mailing-children-post-office)
You can no longer send your kids on a cruise through the postal system, but maybe they don't know that. If they get out of line just wave a roll of stamps at them. It might be worth a try.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.