Did you ever have the feeling that the universe was just messing with your head? Is there some sort of practical joke being pulled? Your reaction ranges from “come on now” to “you're actually serious” to “now I have seen it all.” I get this feeling on a regular basis when I read the news. You too? 


For example, I was perusing an issue of Architectural Digest (may have been the swimsuit edition) when I came across an item about the world's most expensive home – $340 million. It took six-hundred workers eight years to build. 


What do you get for that price tag? It's on a 105,000 square-foot lot surrounded by a moat. “There are 42 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms, a 5,500-square-foot master suite, a 30-car garage gallery with two car-display turntables, a four-lane bowling alley, a spa level, a 30-seat movie theater, a wing (with a capacity of 200) for charity galas with floating pods overlooking Los Angeles, a 10,000-square-foot sky deck, and five swimming pools.” This may be the only home where every guest is assigned a Sherpa guide. (https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/the-worlds-largest-and-priciest-home-is-ready-for-its-close-up)


A house that large may seem a bit much for most people, but other news on the housing front may be even more eye popping. What about a whole city that stretches from (roughly) Cadillac to Saginaw? “Saudi Arabia has launched an ambitious plan to construct a zero-carbon city built in a 170km straight line, the first major construction project for the $500bn futuristic megacity Neom.” Called “The Line,” this city will have “no cars or roads and will be populated by one million residents from around the world.”


So what's this skinny city going to be like? “It will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. Residents of NEOM will embody an international ethos and embrace a culture of exploration, risk-taking and diversity.” Neom may be the only city where the Zip Code is 106 miles long and  a quarter-mile wide. (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hrh-prince-mohammed-bin-salman-announces-the-line-at-neom-30120)


If a $340 million house or a $500 billion city is a bit too much for your brain to comprehend, perhaps just settling down in your recliner with an inexpensive snack might be more your speed. There is good news on this front. Yellow mealworm has been declared safe for human consumption. “Yellow mealworm when dried is said to taste like peanuts. Yellow mealworm finger foods, smoothies, biscuits, pasta and burgers could soon be mass produced.” 


There is one proviso. “The delicacies may not be advisable for everyone. Those with dustmite allergies are likely to suffer a reaction to the Tenebrio molitor larvae, whether eaten in powder form as part of a recipe or as a crunchy snack, perhaps dipped in chocolate.” You know, I think I just developed a dustmite allergy. You too? 



Rather than sitting around waiting for Amazon to deliver your mealworm order, perhaps you'd rather go outdoors just to clear your head. Hunting is popular in Michigan, but for a truly unique hunting experience you will have to travel to Oklahoma. “A state lawmaker has filed a bill directing the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Division to establish a Bigfoot hunting season. Republican Rep. Justin Humphrey wants the season to coincide with the annual Bigfoot festival in Honobia.” 


Even if you don't see Bigfoot, just having the license would be a cool to show your hunting buddies. “The overall goal is to get people to our area to enjoy the natural beauty and to have a great time, and if they find Bigfoot while they’re at it, well hey, that’s just an even bigger prize. The final version of the bill will state that people are encouraged to trap the mythical creature, possibly with a $25,000 bounty.” (https://www.newser.com/story/301618/lawmaker-files-bill-for-bigfoot-hunting-season.html)


Speaking of being out in the woods, have you ever spotted some wildlife while snowmobiling, cross country skiing or snowshoeing? Sightings are pretty common during these activities, but I downhill ski and other than the random deer about the only “wildlife” I see are out-of-control skiers. However, knowing our area is home to a population of bears, I will be on guard from now on.


Why? A skier in Romania was recently chased down a ski slope by a bear. “Chairlift riders alerted the skier to the pursuit, and the skier threw his backpack on the ground, which succeeded in distracting the bear for long enough to allow the man to escape. Three emergency calls came in about the bear being spotted in various locations at the resort.” You can watch this harrowing escape at: https://youtu.be/VKkPAc4XM0I


So, after reading about all of these things, you and I can at least take comfort in the fact we are not alone. The universe messes with all of us at some point. As the late, great comedian George Gobel once said: “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”


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