A reader gave me a compliment last week. “I enjoy the five minutes of unusable information you dispense each week.” This may not seem like kudos to you, but to me it is music to my ears. There are plenty of columns dealing with the important issues of the day, but my goal is to provide you with a brief respite from all that. 


This fits in with an opinion often expressed by members of my family. “You are a font of useless information.” After 822 columns, it's probably too late for me to change directions. So, I may not be able to identify the seven countries that end with the suffix “stan,” but I can quote whole lines of dialog from “The Andy Griffith Show.” Or, as Sgt. Preston would say to his trusty dog Yukon King: “This case is closed.”  Onward to the useless!


We just had a presidential election, so you might wonder what a president gets in yearly salary. The answer is $400,000 and past presidents receive $219,000. 


The best compensation deal of all the presidents went to George Washington. “America’s first president actually got a much sweeter deal. Lawmakers awarded George Washington a $25,000 annual salary ($728,000 in today’s money) which represented 2 percent of the total US budget in 1789. Washington retired rolling in the dough.”


The president who retired with the least money in the bank was Harry Truman. “Truman’s primary source of income after he was president was the $112.56/month he received as compensation for his military service. To help out Harry, Congress passed the Former Presidents Act, which grants a yearly stipend to past presidents.” 



Another burning question in your mind is probably twofold: “Which country music singer sings about pickup trucks the most, and which truck brand is number one?” Of course, I have the useless information for you. “, a British website comparing prices for financial services, ran the numbers.”


The stats are interesting. “Analyzing over 16,000 country songs, across five decades, we found that trucks were featured in just over four percent of all country songs. There’s roughly 660 country songs dedicated to trucking, which would take you around 2,600 minutes or 43 hours of non-stop listening, to hear them all. In 2019, eleven percent of all country songs released had a 4x4 reference. Male country singers love their trucks more than twice as much as female singers.”


As far as brands go: “Chevy and Ford reign supreme, referenced roughly the same amount as each other, but left the competition in the dirt, as both brands were more than twice as likely to be sung about than others.” (


Also on the transportation front (sort of) is a new product Nike will roll out later this year – the Flyease shoe. It's a hands-free shoe and will cost about $120. 


This idea is not as odd as it sounds. Think about it. If you're a pregnant woman, a senior with arthritic hands, a person with a broken arm, or anyone who has trouble tying their shoes, these could be a nice option. 


How does the Flyease work? “it’s a neoprene-like clog, tilted at around thirty degrees. That tilt is a bistable hinge that’s part of the shoe’s outsole. When the shoe sits at your door, its hinge props that clog up for you to easily slide into it. But once you step into the shoe, the hinge automatically snaps shut, and so the shoe grasps onto your foot. The casual clog is instantly upgraded to a cushioned sneaker.” Plus, it looks really cool. See it at:


Trucks and feet are fine, but you may want to look up. It won't be long before drones are whizzing over your head. The problem is the states are pretty much unprepared for regulating the commercial uses of these. You know, issues like how many to allow, how far above people and roadways should they fly, and should they be allowed at night need to be considered. A George Mason University study indicated the Michigan ranks twenty-ninth in readiness for the commercial drone industry. (


The FAA has concerns. “With the technology maturing, the commercial drone industry is growing quickly around the world and in the U.S. — even faster than the FAA’s optimistic predictions a few years ago. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of commercial drones registered in America alone, and a global race has begun.”


Drone “highways” is one thing under review. Well, if you've ever stood on a downtown Cadillac street corner and watched the rampant running of red lights, you can only imagine what a drone falling from an overhead highway might add to the excitement during your daily walk. (


You could even get bonked on the noggin by a pineapple. What? It could happen. “Malaysian researchers have developed a method to transform the fibre found in pineapple leaves to make a strong material that can be used to build the frames for drones.”


Don't worry, though, because even if it crushes your skull the pineapple drone  is biodegradable, so it's environmentally friendly. “If the drone was damaged, the frame could be buried in the ground and would degrade within two weeks.”



So there you have it, about five minutes worth of useless news that you probably will not use. It's a wonderful thing. 


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