THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MARCH 12, 2022
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. Usually we begin with an item from Rob's stomping grounds of Flint, but this time around we'll report from nearby Saginaw Bay.
Wind whipping at fifty miles per hour became problematic for some ice fishermen last weekend. They had to be rescued after their shanty blew roughly a mile across the Saginaw Bay ice. “Police say the men were aware of the windstorm and were making arrangements to start heading in when the incident occurred.”
Apparently, they were not fast enough. One of the men was probably the most embarrassed by the incident. “He was using the bathroom of the shanty when it took off on the ice out of control.” I guess you could say the wind caught him with his pants down. (https://nbc25news.com/news/local/sheriff-3-fishermen-safe-after-shanty-blows-nearly-a-mile-across-the-saginaw-bay-ice)
Chasing a runaway shanty was a challenge for police, but help may be on the way in the future. Four companies are pioneering what they call a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. A company named ZEVA is touting its Zero, a VTOL that is literally a one-person flying saucer.
“The aircraft is aimed at first responders, but the company also wants a ZEVA Zero in every residential garage. The passenger stands during take-off and landing, and can see through the glass.” It has a range of fifty miles and can reach speeds of one hundred sixty miles per hour. Wow, you could leave Cadillac and be in downtown Meauwataka in about ten seconds. (https://thenextweb.com/news/we-rate-four-cool-vtols-that-want-to-fly-you-away)
Flying cars are exciting for the future, but there's a new activity that's thrilling people right now. “Gellyball is like a low impact paintballI. t’s just as much fun as paintball but it hurts way less. Gellyball is a game where teams of five stand on opposite ends and shoot tiny UV biodegradable water beads at each other out of automatic toy blasters.” Check it out at: https://nbc25news.com/news/local/theres-a-new-family-friendly-activity-in-saginaw-called-gellyball.
If Gellyball isn't your thing, perhaps going out into the great outdoors is more your speed. If so, beware of the Giant Joro spider. “A massive species of spider from Asia has been colonizing large chunks of the southeastern United States over the last few years, and wildlife experts say there’s little that can be done to stop the Joro spider from spreading.” They are easy to spot. “In some parts, thousands of the spiders have been reported, weaving giant, three-dimensional webs that are a golden color and have been reported as deep as ten feet.”
Hey, don't worry though. “The Joro spider is venomous, but the venom isn’t believed to be a threat to humans, since the spiders have very small fangs.” Experts say: “People should try to learn to live with them.” Gee, doesn't that make you feel better?
By the way, they are on the move and scientists say they are “ particularly suited to cold weather” and they “are often spotted flying through the air on silk strands.” What an interesting addition to Michigan winters – giant flying spiders.
Giant spiders are pretty creepy, but not as yucky as what was stolen in Denver recently. “A thief broke into a freight truck and made out with some macabre cargo: a box of human heads. The unknown suspect stole a dolly and a box labeled 'Exempt Human Specimen.' The box was full of human heads meant to be used for medical research.”
No one knows what the thief did with the box upon opening it and discovering what was inside. “Should someone find the box containing human heads discarded or abandoned, authorities are asking that they immediately call the Denver Police Department.” Makes you wonder about that box that was just delivered to your house, doesn't it? (https://www.arcamax.com/entertainment/weirdnews/s-2643402)
Spiders and heads not creepy enough for you? How about this item? “Mechanical engineer Donald Scruggs received a patent for a hermetically sealed coffin that can be screwed into the ground.”
It's a space saver, apparently. It's like “a big large carrot shaped thing with threads around it and you screw it into the ground.” The inventor says: “Burying someone in his coffin is no more trouble than putting a fence post in.” See the coffin in a video at: https://kottke.org/22/03/the-inventor-of-the-screw-in-coffin.
Not so creepy, but odd nonetheless, is a chart containing the “Trendiest Baby Names Every Year Since 1930, in the U.S.” The key word here is “trendiest.” Flowing Data.com observes: “Baby names gain sudden popularity for various reasons. Maybe a celebrity with a unique name gains traction, or a character in a movie strikes a chord with audiences. Maybe an athlete reaches the peak of fame, and expecting parents have similar dreams.” Whatever, the list is at: https://flowingdata.com/2022/02/17/trendiest-baby-name-every-year-since-1930-in-the-u-s/.
For your information, the trendiest female names in 1930 were: Marlene, Harlene, and Sharleen. In 2020 they were: Tatiyana, Alita, and Teresita. On the male side in 1930 were: Marcelo, Delano, Kelvin. By 2020 they were: Tyshon, Ermias, and Hazel.
Also linked to this article were “The Most Trendy Names in US History” and “The Most Trendy Regional Names in US History.”
The fun continues with an interactive activity that guesses your name at: https://flowingdata.com/2020/01/21/name-guess/. It nailed my name on the first try. I'm just happy that my parents didn't saddle me with one of the male monikers that was trendy when I was born – Denise or Tammy .