Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – February 23, 2010

A police officer’s badge may have saved his life when it stopped a bullet during an exchange of gunfire in North Las Vegas.  Police say the 31-year-old officer was patrolling just before 10 p.m. Saturday when he heard shots being fired in an apartment complex.  While investigating, the officer came upon a person with a gun and opened fire. The officer returned fire and was hit. But the bullet hit the badge, and the officer suffered only minor injuries.  ***MARLAR: The toughest part for the officer is carrying around a 5ft-wide badge everywhere he goes.

A three-legged pitbull mix that played in a game of doggie baseball has won “Best in Show” at a talent competition held by one of New York City’s largest animal shelters.  Nine dogs competed in Friday’s contest at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But it was Prince who impressed the judging panel the most with his feat of catching three baseballs.  The nearly 2-year-old dog lost one of his legs and had a pin inserted in another after being struck by a car.  The ASPCA’s senior vice president of the adoption center says Prince’s disability doesn’t hold him back.  ***MARLAR: And added that Prince was the perfect winner, as the trophy cost the ASPCA an arm and a leg.

Researchers at the University of California say they are a step closer to developing materials that could actually render people invisible. They’ve developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects making them “disappear”. Currently this is all being done on a nano scale, measured in billionths of a meter, but the team says the principles could one day be scaled up to make invisibility cloaks large enough to hide people.  ***MARLAR: This would really come in handy for the military, law enforcement, and whenever you need to avoid the boss when he’s looking for someone to work on Saturday.

Alabama, No. 3 on the list of most obese states, is cracking down on state workers who are overweight. The state has given its 37,527 employees one year to get fit – or pay $25 a month for insurance that is otherwise free. Alabama will be the first state to charge overweight workers who don’t slim down. Alabama already charges workers who smoke. Workers will be charged starting in January 2010 if they don’t slim down.  ***MARLAR: Hey, look at who’s not moving to Alabama!

Police say a 48-year-old woman allegedly attacked her husband in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, with a knife and several tomatoes. Deputies said when they arrived at the home of Katherine Kranz and her husband Russell, they found the man hiding at a neighbor’s home. Russell told police his wife went berserk after he complained about a drink she made for him, lashing out with a knife and pummeling him with tomatoes. The woman claimed her husband hurt his head by falling off of a chair while intoxicated. Katherine Kranz was being held on $5,000 cash bail and is facing charges ranging from first-degree reckless endangerment to disorderly conduct.  ***MARLAR: They dropped the “assault with a deadly weapon” charges because tomatoes have been deemed “safe” now.

If you miss a deadline and you need a really good excuse, the experts say there’s nothing more reliable than that old standby: “My grandmother died.” A survey of 175 undergrads and 106 instructors at Southern Illinois University shows that the grandma routine was the excuse most often used by students for late papers and missed exams. More importantly, perhaps, it was also the excuse most often accepted by professors. One of the instructors responding to the survey said, “In my 27 years, I have never had a dead grandfather – only grandmothers.” ***MARLAR: Sounds to me like homework is placing grandmothers in mortal danger.

A Chicago mail carrier was shot in the thigh for delivering the mail too late.  He will be okay according to doctors.  ***MARLAR: And I’m sure he’ll deliver it a lot faster on one leg.

An Australian National University study found that people think more creatively when they’re lying down.  ***MARLAR: Which means that some of the best thinkers in America are guys after Thanksgiving dinner snoozing away in La-Z-Boys.

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