Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: December 09, 2010


A 5-year-old West Virginia boy has donated his life savings – nearly $46 in change – to help rebuild a volunteer fire station that burned down in an Oct. 1 electrical fire.  The Charleston Gazette reported Saturday that Joshua Shaffer donated $45.85 from his piggy bank to help rebuild the main station of the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department north of Charleston.  Tom Miller, with the fire department’s board of directors, says the donation underscores community support for rebuilding. ***MARLAR: The fire department plans to use the $46 in change to buy a “Please Give Us Money” change jar.

An annual Christmas mystery is playing itself out again along a busy New Jersey highway.  A secret Santa is once again surreptitiously hanging ornaments from a large pine tree by the side of the Garden State Parkway in the dead of night.  A gold star was hanging from the boughs of the tree Tuesday morning. It’s the fourth year in a row that the ornaments have shown up on the same tree in the southbound lanes in a sparsely populated area of Little Egg Harbor Township. No one has come forward and acknowledged decorating the tree. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which maintains the road, has said it isn’t responsible. The ornaments appear gradually, starting with one or two, and eventually growing to about a dozen by Christmas. ***MARLAR: The New Jersey Turnpike Authority says they’d love to find out who the mysterious Santa is… because he’s wanted for defacing government property and violating the separation of church and state.

A bunch of Brooklyn bees have been coming home looking flushed. New York City beekeeper Cerise (seh-REEZ’) Mayo was puzzled when her bees started showing up with mysterious red coloring. Their honey also turned as red as cough syrup. She tells The New York Times a friend joked that the bees were imbibing the runoff at Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Company, in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. Mayo – whose first name means “cherry” in French – raises bees in that neighborhood and across the water on Governor’s Island.  Tests confirmed the bees were riddled with Red Dye No. 40 – the same food coloring found in the cherry juice. Bee expert Andrew Cote tells the newspaper that bees had been creating a big nuisance at the factory. The solution? Put up screens or provide a closer source of sweet nectar.  ***MARLAR: Or how about selling cherry-flavored honey?

Mexican authorities have given Madonna’s fitness club the green light to open after saying the gym was in danger of being shut down because it lacked several permits.  Authorities in the Miguel Hidalgo district, where the gym is located, said Wednesday that the legal representatives of the singer’s Hard Candy Fitness had presented all the missing documents and the gym is free to begin operating.  ***MARLAR: The tough part is working out on the treadmill while being required to “strike a pose” every few seconds.


45-year-old William C. Caldwell III was arrested after he told a mall Santa Claus that he was carrying dynamite. And oh yeah — Caldwell was dressed as an elf at the time. Police say Southlake Mall in suburban Atlanta was evacuated but no explosives were found and Caldwell was not part of the mall’s Christmas staff. But — again, dressed as an elf — he did get in line to have his picture taken with Santa. When he got to the front of the line, Caldwell allegedly told Santa he had dynamite in his bag. Santa called mall security and Caldwell was arrested.  ***MARLAR: He’s now packing up coal in the North Pole’s Elf Prison System.

Britain’s National Archives has released two secret files from World War II that show Hitler had a nefarious but goofy plan to attack Britain with exploding chocolate. In 1940, three spies were arrested in Ireland, and the file contains their plans for creating small bombs disguised as household items, including cough drops, soap, pencils, canned plums and chocolate bars.  One historian said the Germans’ sabotage plans “achieved the coveted title of 100 percent incompetence.”  ***MARLAR: Then again, “death by chocolate” is coveted by most chocolate lovers…

Reaching a captive audience has long been a top priority for advertisers. But, a recent plan to sell advertising space on visitation video monitors at a Florida jail has some wondering whether such marketing efforts have gone too far.  The Charlotte County, Fla. Sheriff’s Office hopes to bring in about $77,000 a year by selling ad space to the likes of attorneys or other companies providing services that might appeal to inmates or their visitors, making it perhaps the first jailhouse advertising program in the U.S.  ***MARLAR: I’m okay with this so long as payment to the lawyers comes in the form of jailhouse food.

A Malaysian state government says it plans to offer free honeymoons to save the marriages of couples who are on the brink of divorce. Ashaari Idris, a government official in northern Terengganu state, says troubled couples will be allowed to spend two nights at the state’s scenic islands or beach resorts to help them rekindle their romance under a “Second Honeymoon” program.  ***MARLAR: Expect the number of “troubled marriages” to skyrocket if couple can get a free vacation out of it.

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