THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MARCH 18, 2023
Well kidlings, on occasion we play a 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. This time we're putting a little twist on the game. There is a lot of reality that is just plain reality.
For instance, when you're out riding your snowmobile it's wise to avoid encounters with a cantankerous moose. “A man snowmobiling in Idaho jumped off his vehicle just in time to avoid being trampled by a charging moose. Jeremiah Bigelow went snowmobiling with friends when the moose suddenly ran out between them. He thought he could outrun the moose on his snowmobile, but the engine died. A video shows Bigelow jump from the vehicle just as the moose collides with it.”
The good news is that both the snowmobiler and the moose were not injured. However, if you want to see what an angry moose can do to a snowmobile, check out the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp16GexHrUM.
The men's and women's NCAA March Madness basketball tournaments are happening right now. According to some health experts, some men are using this time to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak).
Says Jim Dupree, M.D., associate professor of urology at Michigan Medicine: "Major sporting events are a popular time for men to schedule a vasectomy because we advise them to take it easy for two to three days after the procedure. For most men, this means sitting on the couch in front of their television, and sporting events offer them something to watch while resting."
This phenomenon is sort of a sports story. “Urologists have reported increases of as much as fifty percent in the number of vasectomies scheduled around the tournament, according to ESPN.” (https://www.michiganmedicine.org/health-lab/why-more-men-get-vasectomies-during-march-madness and https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2022/03/18/vasectomies-increase-during-ncaa-tournament/)
If you're glued to the sofa, having some munchies close by during the games is a good idea. AllRecipes.com has a unique suggestion. “M&M's are the perfect candy to drop into a hot bucket of freshly popped popcorn without fears of a melty mess.”
This makes sense if you consider why the candy was invented in the first place. “Hershey's was supplying chocolate to soldiers and it needed a way to keep it from melting in tropical climates during World War II. M&M's patented the candy coating. The candy became a hit with soldiers for their convenience and mobility.” (https://www.allrecipes.com/why-m-and-ms-were-invented-7252887)
M&M's are pretty common, but perhaps you want to taste test some newer treats coming into the marketplace as we speak. For example, why not start your day with a new cereal? “KitKat announced that it would launch a brand-new breakfast cereal inspired by the candy bar. KitKat Cereal features crispy cereal squares and a milk chocolate flavored-coating. This exciting new cereal caters to consumers who are looking for an indulgent breakfast option that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.” (https://www.eatthis.com/nestle-launching-kitkat-cereal/)
Lovers of vegan options may want to try a new option for a long-time favorite. “The Hershey Co. said that Reese’s Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups, which go on sale this month, will be its first vegan chocolates sold nationally. A second plant-based offering, Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt, will follow in April. The chocolates are made with oats instead of milk.” (https://apnews.com/article/hershey-vegan-plantbased-reeses-7726f67dc493f6db479fab014ce9d95f)
If candy is not your thing, how about a big bowl if ice cream? A new flavor may surprise you. “An ice cream hitting store shelves this spring will likely have some people going nuts and others looking the other way. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream announced that it will be partnering with Hidden Valley to release a ranch flavored ice cream that will be available for a limited time. It will be available at 3,500 Walmart stores nationwide from March 20 through May 28.” (https://www.mlive.com/news/2023/03/hidden-valley-ranch-ice-cream-coming-to-walmart-stores-this-spring.html)
If you want to try a ranch ice cream cone, a product invented by some elementary school students may be just what you need. “Drip Drop has solved the biggest conundrum of eating an ice cream cone on a hot summer day – how to avoid sticky hands. Their product is a plastic cup that can be put on an ice cream cone to catch dripping ice cream. It creates a bowl around the cone and even touts a small straw so you can drink the melted ice cream.”
This thing is among several innovative ideas from Michigan students. “The invention was one of one-hundred different innovations that third through eighth graders across Genesee County presented at the Young Innovators Fair hosted by Kettering University (in Flint).” (https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2023/03/18-inventions-from-michigan-students-that-would-make-a-childs-life-easier.html)
Cyclists will like another cool concept – the Sticky Pedal. The reason for the product is the dreaded shin shot. This happens “...when you are riding your bike too fast and your foot slips off and the pedal hits your shin.” No more! “The Sticky Pedal is a cap to put on both bike pedals that increases the grip on your shoe.”
Finally, when it comes to amazing reality, it's tough to top Mother Nature. “The transition from winter to spring has a special treat in store for stargazers: An eerie celestial glow known as 'zodiacal light' may be visible in our darkest night skies during the coming weeks.”
According to EarthSky.org: “The phenomenon looks like a hazy pyramid or cone of light that can appear above the sunrise or sunset point on the horizon, almost like seeing the glow of a distant town. Zodiacal light may be seen in the evening just above the sunset point about ninety minutes after the sun has gone down. (https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-zodiacal-light-or-false-dawn/ and https://www.mlive.com/news/2023/03/eerie-zodiacal-light-will-shine-in-our-night-sky-this-month-heres-how-to-see-it.html)
This coming Tuesday could be the prime opportunity to witness this. “A great time to try to see zodiacal light this month would be on the nights leading up to the new moon on March 21, the day after the spring equinox.”
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.