Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News

(Get another “Dose of Darren” at http://marlar.podomatic.com!)

The son of a well-known Alcoa, Tennessee pastor has taken out an order of protection against his father, claiming he was threatened with a gun during an argument at a church over his lack of church attendance.  The younger man told police his father pulled out a handgun when they met at the church to discuss church attendance. He told officers his father pointed the gun at him and threatened to kill him, his wife and family.  ***MARLAR: Is this an example of the argument “it’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion”?

A chicken playing chicken? That’s what’s happening on a busy Glendale, California street where a black hen has been dodging cars, captors and coyotes for two months. Officials say the bird has been darting into traffic outside Glendale Community College since it was first reported Nov. 20. The chicken has drawn a growing crowd of photographers and journalists as animal control officers struggle to catch it.  ***MARLAR: Darting in and out of traffic and dodging coyotes?  Are they sure this isn’t a road runner?

A burglar who broke into a Medford pharmacy had the right letter, but not the right drugs. Police said someone broke out a window Saturday night at the West Main Pharmacy and grabbed the prescriptions in the “O” section. The Mail Tribune in Medford said investigators think the burglar was after the narcotic oxycodone – but the drugs in that section were filed alphabetically by customers’ last names.  No arrests have been made. ***MARLAR: Police are looking for anyone who might have overdosed on Ora-Gel.

Wanted: non-hairy humans willing to take the heat of a jellyfish burn.  A new sun screen tries to protect against jellyfish and their toxin-filled tentacles and Norwegian researchers are putting it to the test.  The scientists are hunting for people willing to bear a sting on each arm. One arm will be coated in regular sun block, the other the ant-jellyfish cream.  Five people so far have taken the researchers up on their offer.  Before you start booking a flight to Oslo, beware, participants have to be over 18 and have hair-free inner arms. The smoother the skin, the better the burn.  Asthmatics, pregnant women or people with allergies or skin diseases need not apply.  For their pain, participants will get three free bottles of the anti-jellyfish sun screen.  ***MARLAR: Which, if you’re feeling pain, obviously doesn’t work.

“You have nice eyes.” That’s one compliment people are hearing on a busy street in the nation’s capital. Artist Tom Greaves has created what he calls “The Compliment Machine.”  It’s a bright red-and-white-striped box that automatically says nice things about people as they walk past.  ***MARLAR: Our General Manager bought one last week – he had it modified to agree with every idea he comes up with.

What if a drug could help you gain some of the benefits of exercise without working up a sweat?  In a study, sedentary mice that took the drug (AICAR) for four weeks burned more calories and had less fat than untreated mice.  And when tested on a treadmill, they could run about 44 percent farther and 23 percent longer than untreated mice.  Just how well those results might translate to people is an open question. But researchers say someday such a drug might help treat obesity, diabetes and people with medical conditions that keep them from exercising.  The scientists also report that in mice that did exercise training, a second drug — GW1516 — made their workout much more effective at boosting endurance.  The research is published online by the journal Cell.  ***MARLAR: Finally – I can get in my cardio just by running my mouth off!

Prof. Timothy Holy of Washington University discovered that male mice sing to attract female mice. Using ultrasound technology, he recorded the mice singing in high-pitched chirps similar to birdsongs. He said it’s not clear whether singing helps the male mouse attract females. ***MARLAR: Singing like mice worked for the Bee Gees!

In Davenport, Iowa, a suspected bomb found in a house turned out to belong to an ex-tenant who said it was just a device made by an astrologer friend that emits vibrations to scare away underground space aliens.  ***MARLAR: See, there’s a simple explanation for everything!

Firefighters headquartered at the Arundel Fire Station in West Sussex, England, are looking for a new home. As you might guess by now, the building and a fire engine were destroyed in a blaze at the station. Fire chief Neil Odin says, “Unfortunately, we had severe damage to our fire station, which is embarrassing.” He also said, unlike the old building, the new station would have a smoke alarm.  ***MARLAR: That’s a good question, who DO you call if your reporting a fire at a fire station?

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