With Labor Day almost upon us and the football tailgating season just beginning, many of us will gather with friends and family. There are a zillion and one conversation topics at our disposal. If you eliminate politics that still leaves a zillion. 


The important thing at these events is to have cordial fun and do nothing to make others depart in a huff. To that end, here are some topics that could perhaps fill the chit-chat void. Sure, you may consider these flapdoodle and balderdash, but with these at your disposal, you can entrance the throng with your keen insights.  


For instance, a safe topic might be at your feet. If you plan to travel on a plane,  it's a good idea to keep your shoes on. Why? According to flight attendants: “Footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information. During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way towards the exit, as well as outside the aircraft.  If your feet aren’t properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.”


You might have tough tootsies, but that may not be enough. “Imagine destroying your bare feet as your run down the aisle covered with broken glass , fires and metal shards. A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.” (https://www.quora.com/What-should-be-worn-during-take-off)


Still on the subject of feet, something strange has been afoot on the West Coast. “At least twenty human feet have washed up on the coastline from Canada's British Columbia to the US State of Washington since August 2007.” Stranger still, all the feet are in footwear. 


The reasons for this happening has engendered some speculation. “Conspiracy theorists have suggested that the grisly discoveries could have been the victims of a serial killer with a foot fetish or the mafia disposing of bodies.” Interesting, but probably not true. 


There is a simpler explanation and it's related to the human anatomy and to footwear designs. “"When a human corpse falls to the ocean floor, it's quickly set upon by scavengers. Some of the softest parts of the human body are the tissues and ligaments around the ankles. When scavengers chow down on this, the foot will detach pretty quickly from the rest of the body. The buoyancy of modern sneakers is what makes them float and, eventually, wash up on the shores of the Pacific Northwest. Sneakers made in the last decade often have gas-filled pockets in their soles that makes them particularly unsinkable.” (https://www.insider.com/watch-doctor-explains-human-feet-keep-washing-up-beaches-2021-8)


Everyone is interested in making some quick money. There may be some potential cash hiding in those boxes of old books stored in the basement. Specifically, look for old computer manuals because there may be a golden goose. “An Apple II computer manual signed by company co-founder Steve Jobs sold for $787,484, a Boston-based auction house announced.”

The manual might be geek to you, but who cares if you can sell it for big dough? “The 196-page manual features the technical specifications and operations instructions for the Apple II computer.” The winning bidder was Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts.” (https://www.arcamax.com/entertainment/weirdnews/s-2557114)


For the more mature in the peanut gallery, any party will probably involve some libation of adult beverages. It sure would be the case with one German nun. “Sister Doris Engelhard, a 72-year-old Franciscan nun, claims to be the world's last nun brewmeister.” 


Whatever you do, don't argue with Sister Doris about beer. “Sister Doris has strong opinions about her beer and when people should drink it. In short: Always, especially during the forty-day penance period leading up to Easter. 'During Lent, eating one meal a day is tough. But beer is liquid — it doesn't count as food when you fast. A strong beer gives me strength!'”


The brewing by nuns has a long history. “For fifty years, Sister Doris has been master brewer at the Mallersdorf Abbey brewery in northeastern Bavaria. The cloisters were founded in the twelfth century and are home to four-hundred nuns. In the late nineteenth century, the nuns were caring for hundreds of poor children and they decided to open the brewery in 1881 to raise money to help fund their mission.”


These days, Sister Doris is pretty specific about her brewing. “She brews two types of beer: bock, a stronger kind of lager, and a lighter lager known as helles. When asked about other varieties, she waves the idea away with a flick of her hand. 'I only brew beer that I drink myself, so if the other sisters want to drink a wheat beer, they'll have to buy it themselves.'" (https://www.npr.org/2021/08/23/1026707774/a-pilgrimage-to-meet-germanys-last-beer-brewing-nun)


Finally, all this flapdoodle and balderdash could suggest some words you don't often hear. Some words have fallen into disuse, but deserve to be reintroduced into daily life. An recent article listed, “Seven English words that nobody uses anymore (but totally should).” (https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/7-english-words-that-nobody-uses-anymore/


The seven words are: Facetious, Henceforth, Ostentatious, Morrow, Crapulous, Kerfuffle, and Obsequious. There's nothing like a fancy word to better show off your brilliance. 


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