I have an affliction when it comes to the news. I am drawn to items containing lists as if they are magnetized. Luckily, contained in those lists are usually some knowledge nuggets, so I come away with information that is always interesting and sometimes even useful. 


For instance, I recently came across a list of the most popular pizza styles in each state. “With a new regional style seemingly popping up daily, it would appear as though distinctly different pies stretch from sea to shining sea.”


Of course, Michigan's unique pie is the Detroit style pizza. “It’s legitimately Detroit in just about every way. This is a thick, crustless, focaccia-like pizza cooked in an automotive drip tray. For the Motor City to have its signature pizza be cooked in a car accessory is the kind of beautiful poetry these other states should be striving for.”


There are some surprises on this list, like Hawaii is not the origin of pineapple on pizza. “Topped with ham and pineapple, Hawaiian Pizza can be traced back to Canada, where a Greek-born pizza chef began selling it at his Ontario restaurant.” Also, five states have no pizza style of their own: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, and North Dakota. See the pizza list at:


Needless to say, a popular beverage that goes along with pizza is beer. Americans consume a lot of brews. “With the abundance of choice American consumers have, beer remains a nationwide favorite. According to Beer Serves America, the beer industry alone contributed over $331 billion to the GDP in 2020, the equivalent  of almost two percent generated by the United States that year. Americans drank on average almost twenty-six gallons of beer per adult.”


Michigan beer aficionados were a bit under the national average at 23.6 gallons. The leaders in the consumption derby were New Hampshire at 41.5 followed by Montana at 41.1. See a map at:


Sometimes pizza and beer are a reward for a job well done. Such is often the case with the completion of a home improvement project. When it comes to exteriors, some projects pay off better than others. “The National Association of Realtors released its 2022 Remodeling Impact report ranking the exterior projects that gave homeowners that added curb appeal. Survey results measured how satisfied consumers were with projects, the cost of the projects and the resale value.” 


Two items in the trio were tied for value. One was roofing. “A new roof can be a costly project but one that pays off in dividends. This project had a one-hundred percent recovered value.” The other was new garage doors. “Remodelers estimated one-hundred percent of that value was recovered.” 


The third project that paid off was new siding. “Vinyl siding was estimated to recover eighty-two percent of the cost, while fiber cement siding recovered eighty-six percent of its cost.” (


On occasion all it takes is a bit of elbow grease to improve your surroundings. BuzzFeed compiled a list of “Fifteen Places You Should Probably Clean And Definitely Haven't.” 


Some of the items are eye-openers. On the list: “Windowsill and sliding door bases. Ew!” Other culprits included: “Car vents and keyboards, both have an alarming amount of debris trapped inside. The fancy water bottle you use every day but have cleaned, oh, maybe once. The appliance responsible for deep cleaning the cutlery you put in your mouth every day — the dishwasher.” See the whole litany at:


Picnics are popular this time of year, so avoiding disaster in such an enterprise is certainly a prime goal. “An empty propane tank has ruined many an outdoor gathering. There's a simple way to check how much propane is in your tank.


According to, Bob Vila, simply heat up some water (hot, but not boiling) and then pour it down the side of the tank, which must be cool and turned off. Then, slide your hand down the outside of the tank, testing for temperature. Where it is warm, there's no propane. Where the tank feels cool, that's where there is still propane.” There are other handy grilling tips on a list at:


Finally, whenever I start a list of my own anything containing the word “free” goes right to the top. Such a thing is something your kids can get for free. “Youth and teens who wear a life jacket while boating could receive free McDonald’s ice cream. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to increase boater safety awareness and encourage youth and teens to wear their life jackets while on the water.” (


This began on Memorial Day and continues through Labor Day. “Conservation officers will pass out vouchers to youth and teens seen appropriately wearing a life jacket while boating. The vouchers are valid for a free ice cream cone or apple slice package at participating McDonald’s of Michigan locations.” 


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