Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 26, 2010

A 78-year-old man rode a Pittsburgh-area roller coaster 90 times in one day – bringing his lifetime total to 4,000 rides.  Vic Kleman (KLEE’-man) spent about five hours on the Jack Rabbit roller coaster at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin.  ***MARLAR: It was unintentional though – the old man kept forgetting he’d just ridden it.

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says China is improving its oversight of its exporters following a slew of scandals over bogus or substandard drugs and foods ranging from vaccines and infant formula to dog chow.  FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said that Chinese officials she spoke with during her first visit to China since she was appointed were pursuing a “common agenda” to improve manufacturing practices and regulation of complex supply chains for the food and drug industries.  ***MARLAR: Children’s toys, however, will still continue to contain lead.

Paying bills usually stinks, but gas bills from a utility in Washington state will include something truly odorous this month: the stench of rotten eggs.  As part of a safety campaign, Puget Sound Energy is including a scratch-and-sniff pamphlet with its billing statements to remind customers of what leaking gas smells like.  Natural gas is odorless, but providers add a chemical to the gas that has a distinctive, sulfur-like aroma similar to rotten eggs so leaks can be detected.  ***MARLAR: However, if you only smell gas when you open the fridge, it might just be time to toss out the egg carton.

Fido’s food may be making kids sick, a government report warns, detailing the first known salmonella outbreak in humans, mostly young children, linked to pet food.  The outbreak sickened 79 people in 21 mostly eastern states, between 2006 and 2008. Almost half of the victims were children aged 2 and younger.  ***MARLAR: The moral of the story?  Don’t serve your kids pet food.

Officials in Danbury, Connecticut, received notice that they are being sued by 15-year-old student Vinicios Robacher, whose teacher woke him up in class. He claims she slapped her hand down on his desk to make a loud noise and startle him awake. He says the noise caused him to suffer pain and “very severe injuries to his left eardrum,” so he will be seeking monetary damages. ***MARLAR: On the bright side, the ringing in his ear keeps him awake in class.

Residents of Toledo, Ohio, are complaining that they received $25 tickets for parking their vehicles in their own driveways.  Mayor Carty Finkbeiner says he stands by the citations handed out by the Division of Streets, Bridges and Harbor. He says the tickets were issued under a city law against parking on unpaved surfaces, including gravel driveways. During a news conference, Finkbeiner ignored a reporter’s question of whether the crackdown and fines were related to the city’s budget crisis.  The three-term mayor faces a recall vote in November.  ***MARLAR: Gee… ya think he’ll stay in office?

Some Maryland bird lovers are happy to see Grumpy. Grumpy is a mute swan who lives in a dog house by a Carroll County pond. The big bird is an unofficial mascot of the local Humane Society. But staffers were worried about Grumpy after he disappeared a month ago. This week, Grumpy returned, dirty but unharmed. Society Executive Director Nicky Ratliff says Grumpy swam across the pond when they called his name. The bird is called Grumpy because his former owner said he didn’t get along with the other swans.  ***MARLAR: If the swan is mute, shouldn’t it be named after Dopey?

What’s new? How about a giant omelet from emu eggs? Ann Merkel sells huge green emu eggs at her table at the Lawrence, Kan., Farmers’ Market. The eggs go for four bucks apiece.  They weigh up to two pounds and are the equivalent of about a dozen chicken eggs. She has eight pairs of breeding birds on her Sundance Emu Ranch. Her husband Bill is especially fond of scrambled Emu egg. But he tells the Journal-World newspaper one egg is enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  ***MARLAR: Or for me, a light breakfast… and maybe a muffin.

A New Jersey man has eaten a medium pizza and four diet cokes from Domino’s Pizza almost every day for five years. Mike Uris estimates he’s eaten 2,000 eight-slice pizzas in the five years, starting each day with six slices for lunch. He drinks two of the cokes with lunch and then has one each with a slice of pizza for dinner at 6pm and supper at 11pm. ***MARLAR: Mike’s now been asked to be a spokesman… for Lipitor.

Blind people could one day use their tongues to help them “see”. Scientists have developed a device which transfers visual cues from a video camera to the brain through electrodes in the mouth. A map of the outside world is sent to a postage stamp-sized “tongue display unit” made of 144 electrodes which stimulates the highly sensitive tongue. ***MARLAR: So if someone sticks their tongue out at you, they may just be sight-seeing!

A new British study found that young people who adopt the “Goth” lifestyle of dark clothes and introspective music are more likely to commit self-harm or attempt suicide than other youths.  ***MARLAR: Unfortunately, the study couldn’t be completed because the Goth kids filling out the forms stole all of the staples and paper clips to use as body-piercings.

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