Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: December 10, 2010

NEW NEWS…

Librarians in Anniston, Ala., said they knew someone was stealing thousands of dollars worth of books, and now they believe they know who did it: A jobless woman who likes to read.  Anniston police say 42-year-old Regina M. Smith was arrested Wednesday on a felony theft charge after officials at the local library reported that a woman was seen stealing two books.  Police said they determined Smith had taken 222 books valued at $5,432 over the past couple of years – mainly crime novels, mysteries and vampire stories.  ***MARLAR: Too bad she didn’t steal a book on how to find a job.

Robbers, beware of clerks wielding pastries.  Police in Deming, New Mexico say a clerk foiled a robbery when she hit the culprit on the back of the head with a package of empanadas, a type of Latin American pastry.  Police say the masked man didn’t say a word when he grabbed the cash register at Amigo’s Mexican Food and tried to flee.  Deming police Capt. Brandon Gigante says the man dropped the register when the clerk threw the pastries and hit him.  The store owner says the man was covering his head as he ran away.  ***MARLAR: That’s not blood gushing from my head, officer… it’s jelly filling.

There probably won’t be any squeeze tests involved, but Iowa prisons could soon be stocking prison-made toilet paper to save taxpayers money and provide jobs to inmates.  The Des Moines Register reported on Thursday that inmates at two Iowa prisons are testing a single-ply tissue processed at a Missouri prison. Roger Baysden, director of Iowa Prison Industries, says Iowa inmates could start processing their own toilet paper next year – if the Legislature supports the idea. Iowa prisons use about 900,000 rolls of toilet paper annually. Processing it in-house would save about $100,000 a year and would create jobs for about 50 inmates.  ***MARLAR: So unemployment is up to nearly 10% around the nation, but we’re creating jobs for inmates?

Everyone knows hybrids get better fuel economy and emit less CO2 than their conventional counterparts, but they also cost more because of the added technology. And that makes them a lousy value because you won’t recoup that added cost in fuel savings.  So say the car gurus at CarGurus.com, who repeat a common argument against hybrids but back it up with some stats. They examined the purchase price and operating costs of 45 popular hybrid models and discovered the average gas-electric automobiles costs 25 percent more to own and operate than its gasoline-only sibling. ***MARLAR: So, we’re slowly being forced to pay more for something we don’t actually want or need in the first place, all thanks to a tiny minority of folks who seem to think a few more miles to the gallon is going to save the planet from ultimate destruction.  Now, here’s my plan… I’m going to buy a regular old gas-guzzler, and take the money I save to buy light bulbs that are now more expensive thanks to this same minority.  Thank you, liberalism.

New evidence shows that drinking is bad for your image even if you don’t open your mouth.  According to a working paper from the University of Michigan’s Scott Rick and the University of Pennsylvania’s Maurice Schweitzer, just holding a glass of alcohol makes you look stupid. It does not matter if you’re male or female, or whether you drink beer or wine — if people see you drinking, they think you’re dumber than you’d otherwise appear.”  ***MARLAR: And if you’re drunk while listening to this, you’re a complete moron.

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

The European Space Agency’s chief scientist has suggested that we build a “Noah’s Ark” on the moon, so if the Earth is destroyed by an asteroid or nuclear holocaust, every species of plant and animal will survive.  ***MARLAR: Yeah, but they’d be stuck on the MOON… and the moon doesn’t get cable.

If your boss can’t give you a raise, what’s the next best thing? How about a new job title?  A new survey says that almost 70% of most office workers would be willing to give up a pay raise in return for a more professional sounding job title.  Filing clerks could be called “data storage specialists”. Janitors could become “Custodial Engineers.” ***MARLAR: They did this to me too.  Instead of a raise, I’m now an “On Air Personality” – which is a drastic improvement from my old job title of “Monkey Boy Button Pusher”.

In Modesto, California, an 8-year-old boy swiped his teacher’s car keys and took her minivan for a joyride, cruising safely home and into the record books as the city’s youngest auto thief. The third-grader told officers he “just wanted to drive around for a while” when he left the school. Nothing was damaged and no one was hurt and police said they wouldn’t charge him with a crime, though he was suspended from school.  ***MARLAR: He’s also been asked to teach the student driving program for the summer.

While some people are still a little bit shy about Internet dating, it’s been around longer than you think. Chicago’s Chris and Pam Dunn claim to be the first couple to be married after meeting online. Chris Dunn met Pam Jensen on a CompuServe CB Simulator program that linked computer users nationwide in an early version of a chat room. That was back in 1982! After a few months of virtual chatting, Chris booked a flight from New York to Chicago to meet Pam face-to-face. They married a year later and last month celebrated yet another wedding anniversary.  ***MARLAR: They celebrated by sending each other an e-Card.

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