THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- OCTOBER 29, 2022
There's a lot happening on the national scene. Given that, it's a good time to take a tour of the states to see what's going on. We wouldn't want to miss out on anything important.
Halloween is upon us and that means we better be ready for trick-or-treaters. “According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween candy spending should hit a whopping $3.1 Billion this year! That's a new all time high.”
It's a good idea to stock up on munchkin favorites. CandyStore.com says the top five choices nationally are: Reese's cups, Skittles, M&M's, Starburst, and Hot Tamales. In Michigan, it's Starburst, candy corn, and Butterfinger. To see the preferences in every state, go to: https://www.candystore.com/blogs/facts-trivia/halloween-candy-map-popular.
Of course, the proper costume is a key element if you want to score prime trick-or-treat goodies. FrightGeist tells us that the most popular costumes nationwide this year are: Witch, Spiderman, Dinosaur, Stranger Things and Fairy. Tops in Michigan are: Witch, Joker, Pirate, Dinosaur, and Darth Vader. See a list of the 99 most popular outfits at: https://frightgeist.withgoogle.com/costumes#top-costumes.
You never know what you're going to encounter when going door-to-door, but it pays to avoid homes that are haunted. “Each state has its collection of urban legends, haunted houses, and other creepy attractions.” Home Advisor has discovered “states that have the highest concentration of hauntings.” You have a thirty percent chance of buying a house that is haunted in New Jersey, but only an eight percent chance in Michigan.
Michigan also ranks at the bottom of the “Creepy U.S. States” list. Our state is the sixth least creepy. “Wyoming rightfully claims the number one spot. Wyoming is known for its rich history of outlaws and urban legends like The Sundance Kid.” (https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/probability-of-buying-haunted-houses-in-the-us/)
As you drive from haunted house to haunted house, it might be appropriate to check out some related oddities – ridiculously weird roadside attractions. “Every state in the country is dotted with random nonsense. These are the true gems of off-highway kitsch and wonder.” For example, Alaska has a museum devoted to hammers. Indiana has the world's biggest ball of paint. Minnesota has a Spam Museum.
Michigan is not to be upstaged, however. We have “Da Yoopers Tourist Trap” in Ishpeming. “Da Yoopers Tourist Trap is an ode to both UP life and tacky, slightly funny stuff. There's a ton of folk art, including the world's largest working chainsaw, a tableau of beer-drinking deer hanging out in a man-hunting lodge, and lots of outhouses. There's nothing quite like it, which is probably a good thing.” (https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/weird-roadside-attractions-strangest-road-trip-sights)
On your road trip you may want a snack. For this, how about something that is tasty, good for the economy, and even a bit patriotic? Simple. Eat some cheese. “As of August 2022, the U.S. had 1.5 billion pounds of cheese in cold storage across the country. That’s around $3.4 billion worth of cheese.”
Why this much cheese? “Over the last 30 years, milk production in the U.S. has increased by fifty percent. Yet, while milk production has climbed, milk consumption has declined. In response to this predicament, the U.S. government and dairy companies have been purchasing the extra milk and storing it (all over the country) as cheese for years.” (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/us-cheese-stockpile/)
This tells me that putting extra cheese on Nachos or a few more slices on a sloppy cheese burger is the right thing to do for every American. With citizenship comes much responsibility. We must all do our part.
Finally, while Halloween is an exciting time for the kidlings, let's not forget about those with a few more miles on their personal odometers. According to multiple sources: “The number of Americans ages 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. The number of adults ages 85 and older will nearly quadruple by 2040. Michigan has the 14th highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older out of all the states nationwide.”
So, the question is obvious. “How do you know if you arr old?” Luckily, BuzzFeed has the answer at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/how-to-tell-if-youre-old-list. Here, you'll find a selection of photos and “If You Recognize Any Of These 32 Pictures You Are Officially Old.”
For instance, one of the picture captions says: “If you've ever watched TV on a big hulkin' piece of wood, you are old.” Another notes, “If you've ever had to use a can opener to drink Hawaiian Punch, you are old.” Or this, “If you ever answered a phone having zero idea who was on the other end, you are old.”
Full disclosure. I got all 32 of these right. Luckily, I can drown my sorrows by plunging into one of those 255-piece bags of Halloween candy. Those whippersnapper trick-or-treaters are on their own.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com or NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.
(Point to a state to see the favorites.)