Labor Day traditionally signals the end of summer. It's a holiday that generates all sorts of soirees, picnics, and tailgates. The trick to surviving these is to have some schmooze ready topics at your disposal. 


Many of these gatherings feature food. Tasting Table asked respondents to answer a simple question. “How do you like your steak cooked?” Your fellow party patrons may be interested in the results.  


“The steak temperature that garnered the most votes was medium rare, with nearly thirty-six percent. The next favorite was medium, with twenty-five percent. Medium well came next with nineteen percent followed by well-done with fifteen percent. The least favorite cooking temperature for steak was rare, which received only five percent.” (


Another food that is often served at these shindigs is the common pickle. Did you know there is a pickle craze is sweeping the nation? “Dill pickle toppings and seasonings are in such high demand that they’re appearing on popcorn, chewing gum, seeds and nuts. The pickle obsessed can now order a pickle pizza with a side of pickle potato chips and wash it down with a pickle beer. Need dessert? Choose from pickle cotton candy, pickle ice cream and pickle marshmallows.” 


Why is this happening? “Pickle-flavored foods are everywhere because the profile works well with almost anything.” There is a caveat. “If you want to avoid offending your friends with your pickle breath, you might want to avoid the pickle flavored mints after dinner.” (


Speaking of dessert, ask your buddies at the bash if they would like to munch on a recycled wind turbine. This option could in your future. 


“The next generation of wind turbine blades could be recycled into gummy bears at the end of their service. Researchers at Michigan State University have made a composite resin for the blades by combining glass fibres with a plant-derived polymer and a synthetic one. Once the blades have reached the end of their lifespan the materials can be broken down and recycled to make new products including chewy sweets.” (


Sports are always a safe and popular discussion genre, so what's happening on the Olympic front might be worthy of some banter. Consider this. “The pandemic-delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo added five sports: baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sports climbing, and surfing. The upcoming 2024 Games in Paris have already done away with karate and baseball/softball.”


Now, one sport has been added. I will guess that not many will be able to name the new sport. It's breakdancing. Ah, this is not your father's Olympic sport. “It will debut not on a mat in a gym, but on a high-production dance floor. It will be the Olympic debut of a spectacle.”  (


There will probably be more golfers than breakdancers at your function. Those folks might like to consider a new golf product that may be the ultimate in game improvement. The PowerGolf Club is the world's first piston powered club. In essence, it's a swingless golf club. 


The inventors offer some description. “The PowerGolf Club lets you control the distance. Propel golf balls from 50 to over 200 yards! No swing required. Just Ready-Aim-Fire. Game On!” 


It works like this. You set a driver-like clubhead behind your golf ball, pull a trigger, and a piston explodes from the club into the ball and sends the ball down the fairway. This is something that's difficult to describe, so you'll have to see the video for yourself at:


There's something everyone in the crowd has done that could lead to a hilarious competition – playing air guitar. (Don't bother denying it. You've all done this.  Admit it.) This is such a popular activity that this week in Finland the Air Guitar World Championships are being held. 


This event is nothing but fun. "You're on stage, people are watching you and you've got nothing between you and them. You have no drum set or mic stand even to stand behind or lean on, it's just you.”


Plus, the goal behind the event is nothing less than world peace. “According to the competition ideology, wars will end, climate change will stop and all bad things will vanish when all the people in the world play the air guitar.” (


Finally, here's a game to play at your clambake. Let's call it “No Reason Irritant.”  Everyone has something that irritates them for no logical reason. It Just does. The only rule of the game is that the irritant has to be non-controversial and possibly humorous. 


For instance, I have something that drives me to distraction – major league baseball players who wear neck jewelry during games. The chains and baubles are constantly in need of attention. Throw a ball. Tuck in the chain. Swing a bat. Tuck in the chain. Run to a base. Tuck in the chain. You get the drift. The length of games could be reduced by an hour if neck jewelry was banned. 


Besides, is this a baseball game or a fashion show? We know you're rich. We don't need constant proof. “The average earnings of an MLB player in 2022 is $4.41million. This means that baseball players earning millions are counterbalanced by players on lower wages. Those at the bottom of the league earn $700,000.” (


So, there you have it. Go forth and schmooze. Have a safe and comfortable Labor Day holiday. 


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