Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 17, 2009

A man armed with a pistol held up a clothes shop in eastern Germany demanding a bag load of tights and underwear. Police said the man, who burst into the Clothes Chest store shortly before closing time Tuesday, then demanded cash but was told by the owner the till was empty. He escaped with underwear worth about $188.  ***MARLAR: If caught, he’ll receive a brief sentence.

Researchers at Tulane University could have the inside scoop on beating the energy crisis — zoo poop. The scientists are studying droppings from hippos, giraffes and other plant-eating animals. The zoo doo contains bacteria that helps turn plant waste into butanol, a type of alcohol that can fuel engines.  Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, says scientists scooping up zoo poop might look funny. But he tells New Orleans CityBusiness that animals have been turning plants into energy long before people ever thought about doing it.  ***MARLAR: The tough part will be getting the lions to use a gas tank instead of the kitty-litter box. 

Seattle gardeners are curbing their appetites. The city is encouraging the green-thumb set to plant veggies on parking strips. Those are the strips of grass between the sidewalk and the curb. The city has lifted the requirement for a permit for a strip garden. Gardener Jake Harris couldn’t wait to get his veggies in the ground. He tells The Seattle Times his mantra is “eat your yard.”  ***MARLAR: Do you really want a plentiful bounty of vegetables raised on exhaust fumes?

Police say they have arrested a suspected car thief who they caught napping at the wheel of a stolen car.  South Australia Police say the 30-year-old man drove the Audi convertible into an automatic car wash and apparently fell asleep. A service station attendant called the police at 3 a.m. when he noticed the car hadn’t moved for an hour.  The police said in a statement that the car has two different license plates and that police discovered it had been reported stolen in July. They woke the man and arrested him on charges of illegal use and theft of the car.  He has been released on bail and will face court in September.  ***MARLAR: He was planning a clean getaway. (Apparently a cat burglar isn’t any good without a cat nap.)

MySpace is entering the news business.  The popular networking site has launched a feature that lets its users determine what items other members see.  MySpace scans thousands of news sites and web journals and makes the results available in different categories.  ***MARLAR: But you’re not allowed to use the service unless Tom is in your Top 4 Friends.

Just call it the port-a-potty prom.  Plumbing problems almost flushed prom plans down the drain for Arkansas’ Magnolia High School.  The school was notified that the National Guard armory where the prom was held had sewer problems.  But rather than call off the big night, portable facilities were placed outside the armory.  Promo coordinator Whitney Whitelaw says the students reacted well.  She says some even posed for snapshots outside the prom port-a-potties.  ***MARLAR: “So, what was the theme for your senior prom this year?” “It was ‘Tidy Bowl!’”

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