Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: December 06, 2010

NEW NEWS…

Firefighters who were called to rescue someone from the Los Angeles River found themselves retrieving a real dummy.  Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott says a 911 call sent firefighters to a section of the concrete channel in the San Fernando Valley on Wednesday morning.  But rescuers didn’t find a flailing swimmer. They actually spotted a mannequin similar to those used as CPR training devices.  Scott says a helicopter and a swift-water rescue team were dispatched. The chopper wasn’t needed but the firefighters waded into the water and retrieved the dummy so it wouldn’t prompt other calls.  ***MARLAR: Funeral services for the mannequin will be held at an OLD NAVY store near you.

Police in New York City say thieves held up the owners of a pizzeria and then fled.  Police say Salvatore LaRosa was charged with robbery after surrendering to police.  According to court papers, LaRosa and an accomplice followed the owners of Brothers Pizzeria on Staten Island. After donning masks, the papers say, they pointed guns and demanded the men turn over a bag they believed held the day’s proceeds. But instead, the bag was full of pizza dough.  ***MARLAR: If you’re going to rob someone because you need the dough, you need to be more specific.

Some people lay flowers or notes at gravesites. A woman in South Carolina left a handgun. Police in the northwestern county of Spartanburg say a 28-year-old woman who hadn’t been feeling well consulted a spiritual adviser, who told her she needed to return something that was given to her to cleanse her soul. So the woman left a .45-caliber handgun in a box at a man’s grave at Good Shepherd Memorial Gardens. She told police the man had given her the weapon about 12 years ago and she hoped by returning it that she would feel better.  ***MARLAR: After watching AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, I think the last place I’d leave behind a gun would be in a graveyard.

More turkey, less white bread and mashed potatoes. Just in time for holiday feasting, a large study found that diets higher in protein (like turkey) and lower in carbohydrates (like stuffing) can help overweight adults who managed to drop some weight keep it off.  ***MARLAR: Really?  If eating turkey is going to keep me from packing on the pounds, why are turkeys so fat?

RETRO NEWS: FORMERLY NEW, NOW NOT NEW, BUT STILL ENTERTAINING…

Tsumoto Tosaka isn’t your average older man. At 74, he’s in such amazing shape that he recently took the top spot in the Japan Masters Bodybuilding Championship (held, fittingly, just a day before Japan’s Respect for the Aged Day). And just in case you’re thinking that the only way to create a body like Tosaka’s is to start lifting at an early age, know this — Tosaka didn’t begin weightlifting until he was in his 40s!  ***MARLAR: He began training by lifting 10 pound rice bags… then 20 pound rice bags… eventually working up to 100 pound rice bags.  Then he started putting rice in the bags…

According to the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation an estimated 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the United States are believed to have compulsive hoarding syndrome, a sub-condition of obsessive-compulsive disorder. That’s a condition where a person saves and piles up almost everything much of which is on no value at all.  ***MARLAR: That might explain the McDonald’s wrappers on my car’s floorboard.

According to research from the University of Chicago and the University of California at Santa Barbara, women who are seeking a long-term relationship prefer men who like children, and they are able to discern which men want to become fathers just by looking at their face.  ***MARLAR: You can expect to see a lot more plastic surgeons passing out business cards to men now.

They say only two things are certain — death and taxes. In Cecil Smith’s case, it’s dead bugs and taxes. Smith is an entomologist at the University of Georgia who appraises the bugs that people are claiming as tax deductions. Each year about a dozen people will donate bug collections to the university and try to take a tax write-off. It’s up to Smith to decide how much the dead bugs are worth. He says just any old dead bug is valued at about a nickel. But the price rises with the way the creatures are labeled and mounted. Smith says the average collection donated to the university is worth a deductible of 5 thousand dollars. ***MARLAR: How sad is it that you can get a larger tax deduction from the roaches in your kitchen than for your own kids?

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