Humans are an eccentric bunch. You can prove this by tossing a peculiarity into any conversation. Then you can just stand back and enjoy the puzzled reactions. It's quite entertaining. 


For instance, one of the hottest food trends for 2023 is the humble pistachio. “It’s all about the flavor of pistachio, which is earning a ton of buzz as it’s being stirred into cocktails, scenting candles, a $200 bottle of perfume, and working its way into the hearts of all who love its indulgent nuttiness.” 


Apparently, pistachios are a notch above other nuts. “There’s something about pistachios that makes them seem fancier than other nuts. A pistachio has more pizazz than a boring peanut and more visual appeal than a pale cashew.” Who knew? (https://www.eater.com/23587824/pistachio-flavor-trend-popularity-lattes-perfume-2023


Another flavor will be coming your way this spring. A major coffee shop chain will begin offering olive oil-infused drinks. This is already a hit in Italy. “Olive oil's unexpected, velvety, buttery flavor enhances the coffee and lingers beautifully on the palate." You go first. I'll hold your latte. (https://www.bbc.com/news/business-64727626)


Speaking of olives, Michigan has a distinction in this realm. “The olive burger is an American burger variety originating from Michigan. It’s made with a combination of ground beef, oil, white buns, mayonnaise, and pitted green olives. In order to prepare it, the meat patties are fried, topped with a mixture of olives and mayonnaise, then placed in a burger bun with no other condiments.” 


I grew up on these at Kewpee's (later Halo Burger) in downtown Flint. They are distinct and delicious. TasteAtlas.com has a list of the “Best Olive Burgers in the World” and Michigan has the top nine spots (restaurants). Number one is the Cottage Bar in Grand Rapids and you can see the rest of the list at: https://www.tasteatlas.com/olive-burger


Well, if you're going to consume an olive burger you need a good set of choppers. The obvious question is what is the value of the average tooth? For that, we need to consult the Tooth Fairy. 


“The Tooth Fairy isn’t immune to inflation: The value of a single lost tooth is at a record high, with the average gift reaching $6.23. That's a whopping 379 percent increase from 1998 when a lost tooth fetched $1.30 on average.”


Delta Dental keeps track of this trend. “Delta Dental’s 2023 annual poll found the average amount parents are doling out for single lost tooth is up sixteen percent over last year. The South had the highest value of a lost tooth at $6.59. The average in the West was $6.25. The Northeast’s value dropped to $6.14. The Midwest had the lowest value of a lost tooth at $5.63. Delta Dental predicts that by 2048 the Tooth Fairy could be leaving $30 under the pillow for a single tooth.” (https://www.axios.com/2023/02/27/tooth-fairy-day-lost-tooth-value)


If you have a bright, toothy smile you might be tempted to plant a smooch on your significant other. Thanks to a new invention, it's now easier to throw kisses even if you're miles away. “A Chinese company is selling a remote kissing device designed to allow long-distance lovers to share their smooches via a cellphone app. The Remote Kiss device uses a set of silicon lips to replicate the pressure, movement and temperature of a kiss that is then replicated by a corresponding device via a smartphone app.” 


There is a bit of a twist that may or may not appeal to everyone. “The $41 device also has an option in the app to share kisses with anonymous strangers.” You kiss a stranger first. I'll hold your lip balm. (https://www.arcamax.com/entertainment/weirdnews/s-2790318


It might be more appealing to you to actually know the person receiving your kiss. If you're traveling a distance to meet that special someone, you may as well travel comfortably. A travel expert has a nifty suggestion. 


“Laura Coleman, a structural kinesiologist and personal trainer, shares a tip to avoiding back pain on a long-haul drive. Take two tennis balls, put them in a sock. Take that sock, put it in the middle of your back. It doesn’t really matter where on your back as long as it’s between the bottom of your shoulder blade to the top of the hip. This tip can also work on your next long-haul flight too. This tip works thanks to the magic of acupressure.” (https://www.travelandleisure.com/two-tennis-balls-sock-travel-hack-7112299)


Finally, it's always fun to utilize new words in any conversation. You can be on the cutting edge thanks to 313 new words that have just been added to Dicionary.com. These are in various categories at: https://www.dictionary.com/e/new-dictionary-words-winter-2023/


I glommed on to one new word in particular – northpaw. The reason this caught my attention involves a brief story. When I was growing up in Flint, this was the time of year my best friend , Ron, and I would monitor the sidewalks in front of our houses. When the snow receded enough, we'd break out our baseball gloves and start practicing for the summer baseball games at our local park. Ron was a pitcher and I was a catcher, so we were a perfect combo. 


Now, Ron was (and still is) left handed, so he had a cool word to describe this natural alignment – southpaw. As a mere right-hander, I always envied that. Now I have my own special descriptive – northpaw. It only took about seventy years to happen, but better late than never. 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews