Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 17, 2010

WeirdNewsA town on New York’s Long Island is using Google Earth to find backyard pools that don’t have the proper permits.  So far they’ve found about 250 pools whose owners never filled out the required paperwork.  Violators were told to get the permits or face hefty fines. So far about $75,000 in fees has been collected.  ***MARLAR: I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my new product now on sale… camouflage swimming pool covers.

Teen drivers often understand that shooting a quick text message, playing with their radio, or eating while driving is dangerous. However, the overwhelming majority of teen drivers engage in distracted driving behaviors anyway, according to a recent survey by AAA and Seventeen magazine. Almost nine in 10 teenage drivers (86 percent) have driven while distracted, even though 84 percent of teen drivers know it’s dangerous. Seventeen magazine and AAA set out to discover what risky behaviors teen drivers were engaging in while behind the wheel—and how they justify this dangerous behavior.  Of those surveyed, 73 percent have adjusted their radio/CD/MP3 player, 61 percent have eaten food, and 60 percent have talked on a cell phone while driving. The reasons teen drivers think it’s fine to engage in these distractions are varied: 41 percent think their action will only take a split second; 35 percent don’t think they’ll get hurt; 34 percent said they’re used to multitasking; and 32 percent don’t think that anything bad will happen to them.  ***MARLAR: I’d respond to this, but I can’t type while a Big Mac is in my left hand.

The more Americans engage in one of their favorite pastimes — sitting around — the shorter their average life span, a new study suggests. The effect remained even after researchers factored out obesity or the level of daily physical activity people were engaged in, according to a study of more than 120,000 American adults.  ***MARLAR: If the study is accurate, it means I died three years ago.

Two paramedics have been suspended over claims they failed to respond to an emergency call on time after arguing it was not their turn.  It is alleged that the pair argued with the dispatcher who had sent them to attend a category “A” incident.  All emergency calls in the U.K. are graded A, B or C, with A being the most serious call-out.  Paramedics are required to arrive at a category A 999 call (the U.K.’s version of a 911 call) within seven minutes and 59 seconds.  The two paramedics arrived at the scene 12 minutes after the call was made.  A spokesman for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance service said: “I can confirm that two members of the Trust have been suspended from full duties and we are currently holding an internal investigation.”  ***MARLAR: So, essentially, until they figure out what happened, they’re cutting staff?   Yeah – that should reeeeeeally help improve response time.

Nathaniel Skiles is a good citizen, but the five-year-old Kirkland, Washington, boy isn’t ready for jury duty. Still, he’s been summoned three times in two years. His mother says she has sent back the notices, noting her son’s age. She says she may have to take him to the courthouse so officials can see for themselves. The problem apparently originated when the family applied for a state identification card and his birth date was listed incorrectly. ***MARLAR: Sadly, at the age of 18 months he also had to register for selective service.

A United Kingdom directory services company is teaming with the charity Living Streets to put padding on lampposts to protect people who walk into them while sending text messages. They say studies show one in 10 people have hurt themselves by texting while walking and not looking where they were going. Sponsors say if that reduces accidents, they’ll start padding lampposts in other cities. ***MARLAR: They also plan to place advertising on the lampposts saying, “You could’ve had a V8.”

Get ready for Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam – but no Monty Python. The makers of Spam have launched a radio and TV ad blitz. Hormel is trying to spiff-up the image of the canned meat and offer it as a tight times alternative. Sales of canned foods have been rising as the economy slumps. Hormel is also promoting new Spam recipes, including Spamaroni and Spam Lettuce Wraps.  ***MARLAR: And Spamcakes, and Spamonade…  (audio clip)

All Americans owe a debt to Native Americans for their contributions to American culture. For example, squash, corn, and chili peppers all came from the Indians. ***MARLAR: It’s our own lack of imagination that these have not yet become part of the 31 flavors at Baskin’ Robbins Ice Cream.

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.  Prom 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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