Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: February 04, 2011

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Drug smugglers are using an ancient invention as a new way to move marijuana across the border from Mexico to Arizona.  The discovery of two “drug catapults” in the Mexican state of Sonora marks the latest twist in the cat-and-mouse game traffickers play with authorities.  U.S. National Guard troops operating a remote surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the fence late last week.  A Mexican army officer says the 3-yard (3-meter) tall catapult was found about 20 yards (20 meters) from the U.S. border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle.  ***MARLAR: They used to have Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, to throw the drugs over the fence – but it kept getting intercepted.

A national snow sculpting contest will be held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin this week.  The U.S. National Snow Sculpting Championship began Wednesday with judging set for Saturday morning along Geneva Lake.  ***MARLAR: Gee, if only we knew where we could get some snow…

A Milwaukee restaurant is cashing in on B.J. Raji, after the sensational touchdown he made during the NFC Championship game.  Stubby’s Pub & Grub created a mega burger in his honor.  It’s a two pound burger, Italian sausages, beer-battered fries, Stubby’s signature coleslaw, 12 slices of cheese and top it off with habenero peppers and a pickle.  If folks finish the entire thing, along with a side of choice, they get their meal for free and a Stubby’s sweatshirt. ***MARLAR: Also, if you finish the whole thing, you’ll be as fat as B.J. Raji.

With Super Bowl Sunday fast approaching, more people than ever will celebrate the big game. According to a new survey, the average consumer is expected to spend $59.33 on game-related merchandise, apparel and snacks, up from $52.63 last year. Total Super Bowl spending is expected to reach $10.1 billion this year and 171 million are expected to watch the game this Sunday.  Nearly 34.9 million (15.0%) are planning to throw their own party, up from last year’s 31.6 million, and another 61.2 million (26.3%) plan to attend a party, also up from the 58.8 million who said they would go to a party last year.  ***MARLAR: I can understand the increased interest – especially with our economy.  Going to a Super Bowl party is cheaper than going to a movie, it kills three times as much time, and you don’t have to fork out four bucks for tiny box of Milk Duds.  Plus, you can talk during the show as much as you want to, you have numerous opportunities to go to the bathroom or get a refill on the popcorn without missing any of the action… yet you still get all of the violence of an action movie with men hitting each other, tackling each other… and that’s just to get the last slice of pepperoni pizza.


You’ve heard the one about the dog eating the homework. But how about the computer eating the grade? Officials of Pennsylvania’s Hollidaysburg Area School District say a computer crash has led to the permanent loss of fourth-quarter grades for more than three-thousand students. But they’ll still be getting report cards. District officials say some information from the fourth quarter will be combined with the grades from the first three quarters to determine the final grades. ***MARLAR: That would not have been beneficial at all for me in high school.  The average would still be the same if all three school quarters had the same grade of D-minus.

Perhaps you remember the 2006 story of Tony Alleyne of Leicestershire, England. He’s the guy who was having trouble selling his small apartment that he had meticulously remodeled to the exact specifications of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek fame. However, after getting no buyers, he then redesigned the place as the flight deck of the Starship Voyager and has indeed found a buyer willing to pay $840,000 for the place– roughly five times the value of a comparable apartment in that same neighborhood.  ***MARLAR: You have to wonder if the guy will actually get paid though, because they don’t use money in the Star Trek universe.

With over two-thirds of Americans and more than half of Canadians overweight, makers of bathroom scales are having to ratchet up the high end of their scales’ capacity. The industry standard limit was 270 to 300 pounds, but Health-O-Meter is now introducing scales with a top limit of 330 to 400 pounds. A spokesman said, “400 seemed a reasonable number,” but if consumers need a higher capacity, “we have the technology to do it.”  ***MARLAR: Why bother?  When you reach 400 pounds, there ain’t no way you’re see through your gut to see the numbers on the scale.

Police in the San Francisco area are trying to hunt down a prankster who has phoned in nearly 2,000 fake emergency calls to 911.  Authorities say the man who identifies himself as “Nomar” has reported being a victim of everything from a drug overdose and a possible heart attack to robbery and attempted suicide. A police spokesman says because they can’t determine it’s a false call, they send people out. The fake calls have tied up dispatchers and sent police and firefighters on wild goose chases.  Police have determined the phone originated with a company in Oklahoma that donated old employee cell phones to an organization that distributes them to the homeless. The phone has no service carrier, which has prevented investigators from discovering any further personal information about the caller.  Investigators are documenting all the calls in hopes of eventually prosecuting the man.  ***MARLAR: At which point he’ll be punished by his phone number being given to all of the world’s telemarketers.

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