THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- JANUARY 22, 2022
There are plenty of odd things going on all around us. You don't even need to search very hard to find them. Sometimes you may have a question about the oddity. Odder still, there may actually be an odd answer. What are the odds of that?
For example, should using a restroom be a solitary undertaking or a group activity? A house for sale in Milwaukee provides both solutions. This six-bedroom, three-bath home is listed for $450,000. The home has features such as hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, a screened porch and an additional apartment in the rear of the main house. All pretty normal until you get to one of the bathrooms. It's a communal arrangement with four sinks and four commodes (minus stalls for privacy). That's going to be one huge flush during halftime of the Super Bowl. See the listing with photos on Zillow at: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/300-Hawthorne-Ave-South-Milwaukee-WI-53172/110725974_zpid/.
Sort of in the same genre, would you wear someone else's undies? If you get drafted into the Norwegian military you could be facing that situation. “Conscripts in Norway have been ordered to return their underwear, bras and socks after the end of their military service so that the next group of recruits can use them. The Norwegian military is struggling with dwindling supplies.” About eight thousand men and women enter the military each year. That's a lot of tighty whities or droopy drawers, depending what you're issued. (https://apnews.com/article/europe-denmark-norway-70bccd9ff65d47efb7b1cdbc04a334ec)
To drown your sorrows, would you consider alcohol infused broth? Luckily, you can now try this because Campbell’s has a new line of “brothtails.” The company notes: “ Want to shake up your usual cocktail experience? Why not try these deliciously drinkable cocktails you can only make with Campbell’s Broth?” You can get the recipes, check out food pairings, and see a video at: https://www.cookwithcampbells.ca/campbells-brothtails/.
While enjoying a brothtail, would you be playing on your phone at the same time? You probably would. “In 2021, people in the world's top ten mobile markets for Android spent a solid 4.8 hours browsing apps.” The U.S. average was 4.2 hours. Seven out of ten minutes were spent on social, photo, and video apps. That's every day, folks. Students thinking of medical school might want to consider “thumb surgeon” as a specialty. (https://mashable.com/article/mobile-phone-app-use-report)
Speaking of ways to use your spare time, what's the strangest museum you've ever visited? Perhaps the “Moist Towelette Museum” at Michigan State University might be a candidate. John French, the Abrams Planetarium’s production coordinator doubles as the founder and curator of the museum.” The collection features about one thousand towelettes from around the world and is tucked into a space of eight shelves in his office. Chuckle if you must, but the museum has been featured on television, including the Food Network program, “Unwrapped.” (https://michiganadvance.com/2021/12/31/tucked-in-an-msu-office-the-moist-towelette-museum-is-an-ode-to-quirk-and-connection/)
Another way to use time is reading comic books. What's the most you'd pay for one page of a comic book? “A single page from a 1984 Spider-Man comic book sold at auction for a record $3.36 million. Page twenty-five from Marvel Comics’ Secret Wars No. 8 brings the first appearance of Spidey’s black suit. The suit would eventually lead to the emergence of the character Venom.” Don't you wish you would have collected this instead of that stack of Richie Rich funnybooks? See the page at: https://apnews.com/article/spider-man-comic-auction-marvel-6a6ff0a2d43632d160866e9600b2295b.
Still about spiders, is it possible for Michigan spiders to survive in the snow? “According to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, while many species of spiders end their life cycles in the fall, some survive the winter. These over-wintering spiders can take shelter in leaf litter, logs and other natural nooks and crannies, coming out on warmer days to hunt.” I don't know about you, but knowing spiders are on the hunt in the snow takes some of the fun out of making snow angels. (https://www.mlive.com/news/2022/01/spiders-in-the-snow-its-possible-in-michigan.html)
If you're looking for a pet dog, would you be interested in a new variety? The AKC has recognized two new breeds. “The Mudi, a medium-sized herding dog, makes a great pet for an active family. The small, loving Russian Toy thrives on being close to its humans, making a wonderful companion for an owner who can be with the dog a great deal.” Get ready to say “Awwwww...” To see these new pups, go to: https://www.akc.org/press-releases/american-kennel-club-expands-pack-2022/.
Would you be interested in helping to settle Internet debates that have raged for too long? We're talking some of the major items that are driving people to distraction. Should a sandwich be cut diagonally or horizontally? Are hot dogs a sandwich? Toilet paper over or under? Should we get rid of daylight saving? Sock shoe sock shoe or sock sock shoe shoe? There are twenty-two of these burning questions. You can record your opinions and instantly see the results at: https://neal.fun/lets-settle-this/.
Finally, a question that seems hypothetical but is not. Would you risk your life for a bowl of guacamole? Demand for avocados is skyrocketing all over the world, so the largest avocado exporter in Africa is in crisis mode. In Kenya, raising avocados has become so lucrative that organized criminal gangs have begun to steal the “green gold” from the nation's farmers. Farmers have to guard their crops day and night and are hiring guards to aid in the fight. “It is dangerous work. It is either us or them and we have to protect ourselves,” say the farmers. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59989656)
So, why are farmers willing to take such risks? To put it into perspective consider this. “The fruit from just one tree can pay for the private education of a Kenyan secondary school student for a whole year.”
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.