Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 31, 2010

American Airlines is now charging between $19 and $39 for “Express Seats” – those spots in the first few rows of coach that include bulkhead seats.  American said the price of the seats includes getting on the plane in the first “general boarding” group of passengers. The seats that will cost extra are in the first two or three rows of the coach cabin, depending on the size of the plane.  Also, AirTran raised its fee for the first checked bag by $5 to $20 for travel starting in September. ***MARLAR: Give it a few more months and they’ll start charging to use the in-flight bathroom, and charging extra for you to leave the plane. It might be cheaper now to drive around the world.

More than 2 million out-of-work Americans are faced with dropping into unemployment obscurity by the end of the year.   Though Congress last month passed a jobless benefits extension, the boost only lasts until Nov. 30 — that means a backlog of recipients will drop off those benefits all at once come December. Between the end of August and the end of the calendar year, approximately 2.37 million Americans will stop getting unemployment checks.  ***MARLAR: Wait a minute… didn’t we pass TWO stimulus packages to keep this from happening?

A Northern California appeals court has struck down a shopping mall’s policy barring people from approaching strangers to chitchat.  The 3rd District Court of Appeal this week said the rules at Roseville’s Westfield Galleria violate the California Constitution’s free speech guarantee.  The mall prohibited people in its common areas from approaching people they didn’t know to talk unless the conversation was about business involving the mall or its tenants. The case arose after mall officials issued a citizen’s arrest of a 27-year-old pastor who tried to talk about his faith.  ***MARLAR: Unfortunately, NOW it stops people from approaching strangers at the food court and saying, “Hey, are you going to eat that?”

A beauty salon owner in in north Mississippi blamed an unexpected power cutoff for a customer’s partial baldness. Tessa Mingo, owner of People’s Choice Hair Salon in Bruce, says she paid her electric bill July 19. But when a customer came in recently to get her hair colored, the electricity shut down.  Mingo said there was no way to wash the chemicals off the woman’s hair because the salon’s electric water heater wasn’t working. The customer was left mostly bald on the top half of her head.  Mingo said she believes the power company mistakenly credited her home account rather than her business account.  A Pontotoc Electric Power Association manager told media he can’t publicly discuss a customer’s bills.  ***MARLAR: But would love to see pictures of the bald lady.

Starbucks has recalled half a million coffee grinders because of a “laceration hazard” — the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Starbucks have received 176 reports of the Starbucks Barista Blade Grinder and Seattle’s Best Coffee Blade Grinder failing to turn off, or to turn on unexpectedly. Only in three cases was there an injury. The units were sold between 2002 and 2009 for about $30 each.  ***MARLAR: Some people like to put a little of themselves into the coffee they make.

A Belgian teenager fell asleep while getting her face tattooed and woke up to 56 stars on her face. Now, she’s suing the tattoo artist, claiming he misunderstood her. The artist counters that Starface is only peeved because her boyfriend dumped her after seeing the permanent artwork.  ***MARLAR: How do you fall asleep while a needle is puncturing your face thousands of time a minute?  Unless of course you’re drunk – at which point you shouldn’t be allowed to get a tattoo.

Washington County’s “Bunny Lady” is in trouble after violating a court order banning her from owning animals for five years. Miriam Sakewitz was arrested at a hotel in the near Portland after an employee reported finding rabbits hopping around in her room. Problems for Sakewitz started three years ago when police found and confiscated nearly 250 rabbits in her home, including about 100 dead ones in freezers and refrigerators.  ***MARLAR: Apparently having over 1,000 rabbit’s feet in the house still isn’t good luck.

A number of Pizza Hut restaurants are changing their name to,”The Hut.” The streamlining of the name is meant to appeal to younger customers. The chain dates back half a century to 1958, when Dan and Frank Carney founded it in Kansas. The two former Wichita State University students borrowed $600 to open their first store; in 1977, the chain was sold to PepsiCo. for $300,000,000. With more than 12,000 locations worldwide.  ***MARLAR: When asked about the name change to just “The Hut”, Jabba was not pleased.

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