Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 05, 2010

WeirdNewsIt’s something like a holy war on haircuts . Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has issued a directive banning ‘decadent’ hairstyles for men, restricting barber shops to only certain kinds of cuts. The primary target: spiky, gelled hairdos associated with rebellious youths, corrupted by Western influence.  ***MARLAR: Oh, good – apparently I can still have my Knight Elf Mohawk!

The next time you ignore a call from your kid’s teacher who is trying to schedule some time to “talk”… consider this.   A Detroit-area prosecutor wants lawmakers to pass an ordinance that could jail parents for up to three days for repeatedly missing scheduled parent-teacher conferences.  Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says such an ordinance is aimed at making parents responsible for their children’s education, which may keep more young people out of trouble.  ***MARLAR: But could keep the three people still working in Detroit out of work.

An appeals court has ruled that two elementary school principals in Texas can be held liable for restricting religious speech of students. The “Candy Cane” case, as it has come to be known, began in 2001. It involves several students in the Plano Independent School District outside Dallas and includes a student who, as a third grader, was barred from giving candy cane pens with a religious message to his classmates at the class “winter” party. It also deals with a class that was prohibited from writing “Merry Christmas” on the holiday cards it was sending to American troops overseas.  But now, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the two principals can be held liable for engaging in religious speech discrimination.  ***MARLAR: But say a prayer before a football game and you’ll still be burned alive.

A motivation day organized by an Italian estate agency backfired when nine staff had to be taken to hospital after walking on hot coals.  Motivational trainer Alessandro Di Priamo says, “Firewalking helps people overcome their fears, seek new challenges and understand that most of what they see as their limits are self-inflicted.,” Di Priamo said the hotel near Rome where the exercise was held used the wrong kind of wood and some artificial coal without him knowing.  Doctors said the injuries could take up to 10 days to heal.  ***MARLAR: A bit longer for the lawsuit.

Can’t get illegals to help out? How about criminals instead? Colorado farmers are complaining the crackdown on illegal immigrants has left them short-handed in the fields.  So, state officials are considering a proposal to allow prison inmates to pick crops. Officials of the Colorado Department of Corrections say the details still need to be worked out, but a pilot program will likely begin by the time the growing season starts in the spring. Prison officials say aside from giving farmers a hand, the program could also teach the inmates new skills.  ***MARLAR: There was a huge interest from the inmates until they were informed they would be picking CROPS… not LOCKS.

“Rent-a-Wife” Dawn Haney says there’s nothing dirty about her cleaning service. The Grants Pass, Oregon, woman does those chores single guys can’t or won’t do for themselves. The “Rent-a-Wife” will take care of everything from the laundry to hosting a party. She says she’s not interested in cleaning for women, either. Haney says she likes working for single men because females are too picky.  ***MARLAR: While men are just happy to be informed that their apartment has carpeting.

A recent study estimates 30 out of every (m) million 100-dollar bills is a fake. So to overcome those increasingly creative counterfeiters, the National Research Council has some suggestions.  They’re calling on the government to use plastic for low-denomination notes. They also recommend using complex starburst patterns that copiers can’t reproduce.  Other ideas include using inks that change color according to temperature, and varying the feel of the paper or other material that notes are printed on.  The Council’s report warns that within ten years, even low-skill amateurs will be able to duplicate almost any two-dimensional image.  ***MARLAR: Just like Hollywood!

Stopping driver’s license fraud is no laughing matter: Four states are ordering people to wipe the grins off their faces in their license photos.”Neutral facial expressions” are required at departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) in Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia. That means you can’t smile, or smile very much. Other states may follow.  ***MARLAR: Police don’t want you to smile because they want to make sure you look exactly as you’ll look when they hand you a ticket.

First thing in the morning after breakfast, what do you do… you look for the weather, right? Now you won’t have to! A college kid has designed a toaster that will burn your forecast directly into your toast!  The toaster connects to the Internet, downloads information, and then changes the burn pattern on your toast depending on what the forecast is… rain, sun, clouds, snow, etc.  ***MARLAR: I understand the internet toast tastes a lot like SPAM.

A postcard sent from a Stetson, Florida, home to a man in Riverside, California, was returned with a “return to sender” stamp — and its 1956 postmark. Mack McCormick didn’t send the postcard, but he lives in the home where the postcard originated. It was delivered back to his mailbox. He used the Internet to track down the author of the note, 64-year-old George Hitz, who now lives in Massachusetts. Hitz is a former ham radio operator and the postcard had been sent to a man he’d made contact with in February, 1956.  ***MARLAR: No wonder the price of stamps keeps going up – it takes the U.S. Postal Service fifty years to mail a postcard!

Grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park apparently no longer need federal protection.  The federal government says the area had an estimated 136 to 312 grizzlies when the species was listed as threatened in 1975, but now it has more than 500 of the bears.  ***MARLAR: The exact number of missing picnic baskets.

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