Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: April 04, 2011

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A Jewish Minnesota lawmaker is asking Senate leaders to allow only nondenominational prayers to open sessions, after feeling “highly uncomfortable” when a Baptist pastor repeatedly mentioned Jesus Christ and Christianity in one of the invocations.  Democratic Sen. Terri Bonoff says she wants Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to change the letter submitted to all visiting chaplains to say they are “required,” rather than “requested,” to make prayers nondenominational.  ***MARLAR: Removing the name of Jesus in your prayers… isn’t that like sending God a letter addressed to “current occupant”?

Omaha, Nebraska Mayor Jim Suttle is flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.  Among the items on his brainstorming list: a proposal for a 10-cent federal tax on every roll of toilet paper you buy.  The mayor says Omaha needs help with the metro area’s $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements.  ***MARLAR: If the TP tax doesn’t fly, he also suggests a tax of a buck-a-flush.

Bill Thompson has a unique pick-up line, “Want to play a game of Hungry Hippos?” The Iraq War veteran is a regular at PlayDate. It’s a monthly singles event that features grownups playing kids’ games. Connect Four is big at PlayDate. And Twister is a sure-fire ice breaker. Rudy Jamison is one of the organizers of PlayDate in Jacksonville, Florida. He says all the games are old school, the lights don’t get too dim, and the music doesn’t get too loud. He tells The Florida Times-Union PlayDate is designed to be an alternative to nightclubs and it seems to be working. ***MARLAR: How ironic is that?  You’re with other single women playing games like Old Maid.

Scientists at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia have cloned fruit flies, in the first successful cloning of insects.  ***MARLAR: Thank goodness, because what the world truly needs is more fruit flies.


Fire department officials said an out-of-control inflatable gorilla was blamed for a rooftop blaze at a Houston shopping center. No injuries were reported in the fire early Thursday. The remnants of the inflatable gorilla were seen at the site.  District Chief Fred Hooker said some type of a “blowup doll” was on the roof, the item deflated and landed on some lights, leading to the fire.  ***MARLAR: Sometimes it’s not the best idea to use guerilla marketing.

Police in Colorado arrested a 28-year-old man accused of passing out in a McDonald’s play area and telling his two children to bite the officers who were trying to arrest him. Colorado Springs police said officers had to use a Taser on Joshua Alger to subdue him Wednesday after he allegedly passed out drunk at the fast-food restaurant.  Police said Alger refused officers’ orders and at one point told his children to “bite the officers’ faces off.”  ***MARLAR: Which is more like an “UN-happy Meal.”

Chinese archaeologists digging in Inner Mongolia have discovered what may be the world’s oldest pair of earrings. They’re jade earrings measuring 2.5 to 6 centimeters in diameter, and from 7,500 to 8,200 years old. One scientist said we can tell from the near-identical match that people then could do amazing work without modern tools; and from their size, we can tell that the wearer needed large holes pierced in the ears, so they must’ve known how to fight inflammation. ***MARLAR: Do you think parents were the same back then?  “Getting your ears pierced?  I don’t think so – not until you’re sixteen young lady!  Now here’s a spear – go help your dad kill a boar for dinner.  Don’t poke your eye out!”

Businesses are looking for some big-time losers, when it comes to weight. A growing number of companies are starting fitness programs and competitions to encourage their workers to be healthier. Stacey Barich took part in a 12-week contest sponsored by her employer, Agora Incorporated, a newsletter publishing company in Baltimore. She lost 15 pounds and had a chance to win a-thousand dollars. When the contest ended, more than 80 employees had lost a total of a-half ton, with two people losing 40 pounds each. Marci Campbell of the University of Northern Carolina says companies want to cut back on the costs associated with having fat workers.  ***MARLAR: Well, there goes MY job security.

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