Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – April 03, 2010

It was a sticky – and potentially stinky – rescue for a Colorado wildlife officer who pried a peanut butter jar off a skunk’s head in Grand Junction.  The officer got a call that the animal was disoriented in someone’s front yard, its head stuck in a jar of peanut butter.  The skunk was freed without injury after about 10 minutes of pulling and then ran away.  ***MARLAR: Hey, if you smelled like that wouldn’t you be looking for somewhere else to stick your nose?  (In the distance a couple was heard arguing… “You got your skunk in my peanut butter!” “You got peanut butter on my skunk!”)

A burglar who spent about five hours on a store’s computer after breaking into the business gave police all the clues they needed to track him down.  Investigators say the 17-year-old logged into his MySpace account while at Bella Office Furniture and that made it easy for them to find him.  ***MARLAR: This story is totally unbelievable.  I mean, really… who has a MySpace account anymore?

New research suggests evidence of chocolate in what’s now New Mexico goes back as long as 1,000 years.  A report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says the evidence was found in Chaco Canyon and dated between A.D. 1000 and 1125.  Drinking chocolate was associated with a variety of rituals in ancient Central America, including weddings, but Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico says she’s not sure of its exact uses in her area.  And getting chocolate was much harder than going to the mall or searching the Web.  Crown says the nearest cacao plantation would have been more than 1,000 miles away, so importing the material would have been a major undertaking.  She also says chocolate probably tasted bitter compared with what is available today. Central Americans didn’t sweeten their chocolate and sometimes mixed in hot peppers. Crown said honey might have been available in what’s now New Mexico.  ***MARLAR: Sounds like people were cuckoo for cocoa before there were puffs!

Getting caught with pigeons in your pockets is serious business in Australia. Customs Service inspectors report finding a young man returning to Australia with two live pigeons stuffed in his pants pockets. Officials say he also had an undeclared eggplant, eggs and seeds. Australia has very strict quarantine regulations to protect the environment of the island nation.  Officials note charges of wildlife smuggling carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.  ***MARLAR: Look for Pigeon Pockets in your grocer’s freezer aisle.

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.

Firefighters in Stanwood, Washington say that a house cat started a house fire simply by walking across a push-button stove. While doing so, kitty turned on one of the burners and the fire began, causing an estimated $12,000 worth of damage before a former fire chief put it out with a garden hose. All the occupants – both human and feline – escaped without injury.  ***MARLAR: By my account that cat now has 7 lives left. He lost one in the fire and probably lost another one after its owners found out that the kitty caused $12,000 worth of damage to their home!

Scientists in the UK report they have grown a miniature human liver in the lab.  ***MARLAR: It will be transplanted into a man who says he only drinks a little.

Got milk? It turns out that vitamin D may act as pheromones to attract the opposite sex. It works in Iberian rock lizards at least.  ***MARLAR: Perfect for anyone wanting to ask an Iberian rock lizard to the prom.

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