Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 14, 2009

McDonalds @ DawnCreative Commons License photo credit: A. Wong Photography

It’s fast food — but a long career. Marlene Wickerink and Janet Chapman are both saying goodbye to the Golden Arches. Wickerink and Chapman are retiring from the McDonald’s in North Muskegon, Mich. Between the two, they have more than four decades of experience with Happy Meals, Quarter Pounders and Big Macs. The franchise owner (Mark Dahlke) tells The Muskegon Chronicle the women were great examples for their fellow workers.  Chapman was the voice of the drive-though lane. She says she’ll miss McDonald’s. She adds she used to be shy before starting under the Golden Arches in 1988. 
***MARLAR: Actually, they don’t call it “retirement” at McDonald’s though – they call it “walking away from the heat lamp”. 
***MARLAR: Instead of retiring and getting a gold watch, these ladies received large orders of golden fries. 
***MARLAR: When asked why it took so long for them to leave their McDonald’s jobs, one of them said it took that long for the retirement package to get super-sized. 
When Eric Hagen started Recession Ride Taxi in Essex, Vt., he took more questions than fares.  Everyone wanted to know if the sign reading “Pay What You Want!” on the back of his taxi was for real. It is, and Hagen says he hasn’t been shortchanged yet.  He offers pay-what-you-can bottles of water, Gatorade and soda and a free ride after six paid fares. He tells the Burlington Free Press that business has been good.  Most of his transactions are in cash. But he’s also gotten a CD from a musician and a $10 supermarket card.  Hagen has been offering his taxi service Thursday through Sunday nights since June. When he’s not a taxi driver, the 46-year-old Hagen works full time for the American Red Cross.  ***MARLAR: His fares are more-than-fare. 

A newspaper says that Britain’s military is so worried by increasingly overweight soldiers it has demanded that commanders refocus on fitness.  The Observer newspaper quotes from a leaked memo sent to British army units this month saying the army needs to “reinvigorate a warrior ethos and a culture of being fit.”  The memo is quoted as saying operational effectiveness is being undermined and lives put at risk by obese soldiers.  The Ministry of Defense offered no comment on the newspaper’s Sunday report but it did not dispute its accuracy.  It says in a brief statement that military commanders were recently told to ensure all units followed the army’s fitness policy.  ***MARLAR: Although they do admit that nowadays Britain’s Navy is a lot more buoyant. 

A British private school will begin offering a course on happiness.  ***MARLAR: So those that say, “Money can’t buy happiness” simply don’t know what course to take.

A Malaysian man was a bit suspicious after he received his latest telephone bill and it seemed a bit steep. He could be correct, since the bill totaled $218 TRILLION. ***MARLAR: Either a mistake, or he was calling people who were not in his Top Five Friends plan.

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