THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MAY 13, 2023
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. As usual, we begin with an item from Rob's stomping grounds of Flint.
Negative news is business as usual when it deals with Flint, so it's refreshing to hear about something positive. Residents are banding together to make Flint a better place. “Sixty-six groups have pledged to maintain 3,600 vacant properties across Flint and Genesee County. Each property will get a visit every three weeks from now through September, which is something that makes residents in the neighborhoods happy.“ Kudos to the volunteers! (https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2023/05/66-flint-groups-sign-up-to-keep-3600-vacant-properties-clean-and-green.html)
Moving on, there seems to be an influx of noodles in the news. First up is a strange occurrence in New Jersey. “Public works employees in a New Jersey town cleaned up an estimated five hundred pounds of cooked pasta dumped near a river basin. Photos show cooked spaghetti, elbow macaroni and ziti dumped in mounds across a 25-foot area. The origins of the derelict pasta piles were unknown.” I couldn't find any reports of a giant vat of Marinara sauce located upstream. (https://www.arcamax.com/entertainment/weirdnews/s-2819921?)
A waste of pasta is a terrible thing, but it pales to what's happening in Italy. “Italy calls crisis meeting over surging pasta prices” screams the headline. The situation is serious. “Italy's Industry Minister Adolfo Urso called for a crisis meeting over prices for pasta, the country's favorite staple, after they jumped by more than double the national inflation rate.”
However, something isn't right here. “The cost of spaghetti and other pasta products rose 17.5 percent in March despite a drop in wheat prices.” This situation could have more twists than a plate of rotini. (https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/italys-government-calls-crisis-meeting-over-surging-pasta-prices-2023-05-04/)
As if all this was not enough, there's also a cheese dispute going on. “Sliced mozzarella cheese produced in Austria by a Chinese company and wrapped in packaging featuring images of a gondola and the leaning Tower of Pisa has been branded an insult to Italian food excellence.”
Authorities are outraged. ““Combining the symbols of Veneto with products of dubious origin is a serious matter, and yet another insult to Italian agri-food excellence. What will be next? Enough is enough.” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/may/08/italians-condemn-insult-of-austrian-chinese-european-mozzarella)
Closer to home, if you attend a Major League Baseball game you may want to partake of a hot dog and a beer. USA TODAY obtained hot dog and beer prices at MLB stadiums, highlighting which stadiums have the cheapest and most expensive options.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2023/05/05/mlb-beer-hot-dog-prices-by-stadium-team-2023/11738342002/)
The hot dog prices have a wide range. The most expensive hot dog is at the Baltimore Orioles stadium at $8.25, while the cheapest is at a Miami Marlins game for $3.00. Detroit is in the middle at $6.29.
Beer is priced per ounce. At an LA Dodgers contest you'll pay ninety-nine cents for every ounce of brew, but at the Seattle Mariners park it's a bargain at just thirty-three cents. Detroit is tied for the second highest price at sixty-nine cents per ounce.
Speaking of baseball games, an interesting factoid applies to the sport. “Almost all Americans have heard the baseball phrase 'tie goes to the runner' at some point in their lives. It means that if a runner and the ball arrive at the base at the exact same time, then it is ruled that the runner wins, and is safe. It's cited as gospel at every level in the sport, from children playing sandlot baseball, to ex-MLB players announcing games as broadcasters.” The problem is there is no such rule.
Here's the official explanation. “In the Official Baseball Rules, the rule for a play at first base , 5.09(a)(1), 5.09(a)(10), says that 'a batter is out when' … 'after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base.'" Plus: “Rule 5.06(a) says, 'A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out.'"
According to Former Major League umpire Tim McLellan: “That is exactly right. There are no ties and there is no rule that says the tie goes to the runner.” (https://boingboing.net/2023/05/07/tie-doesnt-go-to-the-runner-there-are-no-ties.html)
Staying with the “runner” theme, some dumb crooks in Peru are probably hopping mad regarding their haul of sneakers. “Thieves who broke into a shoe shop in Peru made off with sneakers worth an estimated $13,000—but they're unlikely to make any money from the crime unless they have some one-legged buyers lined up. Authorities say the three people who broke into the store in Huyasco took around two-hundred sneakers, all of them for the right foot.” (https://www.newser.com/story/334838/they-stole-200-new-sneakers-one-problem.html)
Finally, the student newspaper at Michigan State University (The State News) has come up with a playlist for falling in love during the summer. “The playlist contains songs that encapsulate the beaming feelings of spending time with the person you are becoming attached to.” (https://statenews.com/article/2023/04/a-playlist-for-falling-in-love-during-the-summer)
The list includes everything from classics (Sinatra) to new (Swift), but the song mentioned first in the article will bring back fond memories for those who have a few miles on their personal odometers – “I Only Have Eyes for You” by The Flamingos. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrzusdilnKQ)
At number eleven on the 1958 charts, the song has pretty basic lyrics and is just over three minutes long. “The song consists of lyrics that surround the idea of a man who completely falls in love with a woman and can not stop thinking of her.” Sometimes the oldies really are the goodies.
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.
July 11, 1959 -- They created a winter setting and had to wear coats for this song. It was July 11th in New York City. It was probably 90 degrees outside. Yikes. Those poor Flamingos. But still a true classic song.
The Flamingos are a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Doo-Wop group from the United States, most popular in the mid to late 1950s and best known for their 1959 cover version of "I Only Have Eyes for You". Billboard magazine wrote: "Universally hailed as one of the finest and most influential vocal groups in pop music history, the Flamingos defined doo wop at its most elegant and sophisticated.