Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: December 24, 2010

DARREN’S DAILY DOSE OF WEIRD NEWS – GET THE AUDIO VERSION AT HTTP://MARLAR.PODOMATIC.COM!

NEW NEWS…

It seems as though in Austria, the popular yodel is an insult to Muslims.  An Austrian court has recently fined a citizen for yodeling while mowing his lawn, according to a report in The Kronen Zeitung newspaper.  The citizen, 63-year-old Helmut G., was told by the court that his yodeling offended his next-door Muslim neighbors, who accused him of trying to mock and imitate the call of the Muezzin.  In Muslim tradition, the Muezzin is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque’s minarets.  ***MARLAR: In retaliation, Austrians are now charging anyone singing a Muezzin as mocking their pig calls.

As many as 75 percent of American children consume caffeine daily, which is leading to sleep problems among the biggest consumers of caffeine, according to a study just published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The research, carried out by doctors at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, found that children between eight and 12 consume an average of 109 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is the equivalent of about three cans of caffeinated soda.  Children as young as five are consuming the equivalent of a can of caffeinated soda daily. Lead researcher, William Warzak, said the intake of caffeine appears to interfere with children’s sleep, with sleep disruptions increasing as kids consume more caffeine.  ***MARLAR: If caffeine keeps kids awake, why are we banning soda machines in schools?

Whatever you think about using grating words, at the end of the day it’s actually better not to say whatever, if you know what I mean.  For the second consecutive year “whatever” topped a Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English language.  Nearly 39 percent of 1,000 Americans questioned in the survey deemed it the most irritating word, followed by “like” with 28 percent and the phrase “you know what I mean” at 15 percent.  ***MARLAR: Like, that is the dumbest survey ever – you know what I mean?  Whatever.

How would you respond?- A suburban Philadelphia woman is suing credit card company Capital One after she received a bill for just less than $300 million.   Patrice Perry sued the company,  saying she endured months of harassment before receiving the massive bill in August. Perry says the $286,651,237 bill was accompanied by letter threatening legal action if she did not submit her payment in the included envelope.   Perry’s attorney says his client received a bill last year claiming she owed about $4,800. She received further bills with greater or lesser amounts but no reasons given for the changes. Then came the whopping August bill.   Capital One tells the Philadelphia Daily News that human error sometimes leads to inaccurate billing letters. The company says it is working to resolve the issue.  ***MARLAR: Personally, I just want to know how I can get a credit card with $300-million spending limit.

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

Is Santa too unhealthy? In your home do you leave Santa carrots instead of cookies? Green tea instead of a glass of whole milk? Public health expert Nathan Grills of Monash University in Australia says that Santa should ditch his sleigh and start biking or walking to lose his belly. He also says, “Santa promotes a message that obesity is synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality.”  ***MARLAR: Of course he’s jovial; he has all-you-can-eat cookies and milk!

Charles McKinley, 25, sealed himself in a crate and had himself shipped home from New York to the Dallas suburb of DeSoto for Christmas. After 17 hours inside, he used a crowbar to pry open the box, popped out on his parents’ doorstep, shook the hand of the shocked delivery man, and walked away. The delivery man called police, who arrested him on some outstanding warrants. He also sparked an FBI investigation to find out how airports can have such tight security on passengers but miss people sealed in crates. ***MARLAR: When asked why he chose this unusual method of travel, the man said it was roomier than flying coach, and that he’d rather have the TSA think he’s a package than inspect his package.

A California couple is suing their next-door neighbor over her cigarette and cigar smoke, which they say constantly wafts into their backyard and seeps into their home. Donna and Richard Ganguet, who live in a gated senior community in El Dorado Hills, Calif., say residents and visitors at Florence Solone’s house smoke all hours of the day and night, leaving them with a “low fog” of second-hand smoke hanging over their backyard, the story said. The smoke is so bothersome, they say they don’t sit on the patio anymore, and they only swim in their pool in between their neighbor’s smoking sessions.  ***MARLAR: And since it’s California, there is now a bill being proposed to ban wafting smoke.

A town that doesn’t exist has shown up on Google maps, and neither locals, Google nor their map data provider have any idea how it happened. No one can explain why “Argleton” appears on the map as a town in Lancashire, where locals say there should just be green, empty fields. Despite the fact that Argleton doesn’t exist, an Internet search lists homes, jobs, services and business in the area. The businesses, people and services are real, the story said, but are located in the same ZIP code as the “ghost town.”  ***MARLAR: M. Night Shyamalan was unavailable for comment.

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