Well kidlings, it's time for another round of "You Can't Make Up This Stuff," the game based on my brother Big Rob's theory that reality is stranger than any fiction. As usual,  when we play this game, we begin with an item from Big Rob's stomping grounds of Flint.


A pair of Flint drivers must have really wanted to take a train ride. That's why they moved road barriers for a construction zone and drove down the train tracks. “One driver only made it thirty feet down the tracks before becoming stuck. Another car sat several feet away from the crossing on the opposite side of the roadway.” This all happened at 4:30 AM, so they were too late for the Midnight Special to shine a light on them. (


Getting stranded on railroad tracks is not a good idea, but sometimes being in the wrong place at the right time works out okay for some people. Like the guy who called his wife and exclaimed: "You won’t believe it. Someone broke in our house and cleaned the entire thing."


There's an explanation for this occurrence. “A New Jersey man says that after cleaning what he thought was the home of a friend, he told the man he was playing with his cats while waiting for him to get back. The response: 'Louis, I don't have any cats.' The cleaner had accidentally broken into a stranger's home and thoroughly cleaned it.” I guess this is the one time in a million that being the victim of a crime is  desirable. (


It's one thing to have the inside of your house looking spiffy, but attention to the outside in important too. If you want to keep your grass trimmed, I have a deal for you – free goats. “Hawaii plans a special lottery to distribute some unusual prizes -- about seven hundred goats who live in a national park (where they are considered an invasive species).” Oh yeah, you may need a big boat too. The minimum number you can adopt is twenty. Get your goat application at:


If living on clean property is a priority for you, now is not the time to buy a beach house on the South China Sea. “Raw sewage discharged from more than two-hundred Chinese fishing vessels in the South China Sea is causing extensive damage to coral reefs.” It's so bad the mess is visible from space, as documented by a  US satellite imagery analysis firm.  Officials in the Philippines note: "China treating us as its toilet is a clear violation of both international and local environmental laws." 



While environmental threats are important to many nations, North Korea is focusing on what's really critical – mullets. “In the wake of a new law banning skinny jeans, mullets, music and other trends from Western culture, North Korea warned citizens against using slang from South Korea.” Violations are punishable by jail time or even death. 


If you go there don't flaunt your Netflix subscription either. “Anyone caught with large amounts of media from South Korea, the United States or Japan now faces the death penalty. Those caught watching it face prison camp for fifteen years.” 



Speaking of obsession over something in the media, how about the burning debate over one word in a Bruce Springsteen song? “The intense argument between Springsteen fans began on July third when a journalist tweeted the 'Thunder Road' opening lyric, 'A screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways.'”


That set off a Twitter storm. “Fans descended on the tweet, saying Mary’s dress doesn’t SWAYS, it WAVES.” The Los Angeles Times then ran a long article breaking down the heated debate taking place on social media. I am not telling you the answer because normal people probably don't give a hoot. Gee whiz, “Louie, Louie” would drive these debaters into apoplexy. (


The Boss is not the only musician in the news this week. James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, can finally rest easy even though he passed away fifteen years ago. “James Brown's heirs last Friday reached a settlement agreement. Brown's 2000 will largely left out his family, leaving the majority of his assets to a trust that would provide scholarships to poor kids in South Carolina and Georgia. The involved players in the ensuing estate battle included five children, the estate of another child, three grandkids, and a former backup singer who wed Brown while she was still married to someone else, and whose marriage to Brown was found to be illegal by the South Carolina Supreme Court.” Nothing complicated here, eh? 


The future rights for Brown's songs could add up to tens of millions. “His heirs have been seeking a share of the proceeds they'd get if they had control over his copyrights. The details of the settlement are not clear, but a trust will likely be funded to finance scholarships for poor children.” In the words of Brown, “I feel good, I knew that I would.” (


Finally, climate change is all over the news lately. Scientists have determined that climate has an influence on the body size of human beings. “The average body size of humans has fluctuated significantly over the last million years and is linked to a changing climate. A team of researchers gathered measurements of body size for more than three-hundred fossils. The team used this data, combined with a reconstruction of the Earth's regional climates from the last million years, and calculated the climate that would have been experienced by each fossil when it was a living human. Researchers found that climate -- particularly temperature -- has been the main driver of changes in body size for the past million years. Colder, harsher climates were linked to larger bodies, while warmer climates were linked to smaller bodies.” (


No data was in the report regarding my Bald Head Theory which speculates that baldness provides an individual with more solar power. 


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