Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: February 09, 2011

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Gil Meche hasn’t been great since signing a big contract with the Kansas City Royals. But not many players would feel so badly about their performance that they would walk away from a guaranteed $12 million.  Meche in announcing his retirement said he just didn’t like the idea of not earning his keep.  “When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” but once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”  ***MARLAR: Stepping down from their jobs because they weren’t worth what they were being paid.  How many of us would love to see our bosses do this?

A grand piano recently showed up on a sandbar in Miami’s Biscayne Bay, about 200 yards from condominiums on the shore.  The piano, which weighs at least 650 pounds, was placed at the highest spot along the sandbar so it doesn’t get underwater during high tide.  While officials aren’t sure how it got there, they know it won’t be going anywhere unless it becomes a hazard to wildlife or boaters.  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino says the agency is not responsible for moving such items. And, he adds, unless it becomes a navigational hazard, the U.S. Coast Guard won’t get involved.  ***MARLAR: It’s actually a player piano, and only plays tunes from the Beach Boys.

Thousands of curious onlookers are flocking to central Indonesia to look at a “crop circle” in a rice field following rumors it was formed by a UFO.  Though clearly sculptured by humans – it looks like an intricately designed flower – the 70-yard-wide (70-meter-wide) circle has drawn so much attention that police have blocked off the area with yellow tape.  Villagers have started charging entrance fees.  Among those turning out and offering opinions were officials from Indonesia’s space agency, well-respected astronomers and nuclear agency officials. All agree it was not left by space aliens.  ***MARLAR: Because spacemen would find a more exciting place to land than a rice paddy.

Animal services officers often get calls reporting “huge,” monstrous reptiles, only to arrive and find an itty-bitty garden snake.  The 5-foot Monitor lizard wandering around a condo complex in the city of Riverside was way bigger than animal control officer Jenny Selter could have imagined.  She said she saw it and almost jumped back in her truck.  The residents were freaking out because here’s the Godzilla-like creature walking down the sidewalk.  Selter managed to get a catch pole – a long pole with a loop at the end that’s used to handle vicious dogs – around the animal’s neck. It was docile at first, but then it started hissing.  A police officer grabbed the lizard’s body while Selter held onto its sharp, lashing tail, and together they put it in a compartment of her truck that’s usually used for large dogs.  Black-throated Monitor lizards are carnivorous, legal to own in California and native to the African grasslands and parts of Asia. Juveniles go for about $100 in pet stores, but they grow large.  Back at the shelter, staff found the reptile was well-behaved for a Monitor lizard.  “The last one we had was nasty. But this one doesn’t hiss and we were able to walk it around. It was investigating and didn’t snap at anyone,” Selter said.  ***MARLAR: Probably because it was still full from the all-you-can-eat buffet of California residents.


In Hornell, New York, The City’s Common Council has approved a ban on smoking in all city parks but with a weird stipulation. Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan said while the move makes sense and that more and more cities are doing it, local police will not be enforcing the ban but rather it will be left up to peer enforcement.  ***MARLAR: That’s right, New York is now legislating peer-pressure.

46-year-old Christopher Garcia of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was recently turned down for unemployment benefits because the judge in the case found that he was indeed properly fired by a convenience store for misconduct. In this case, the misconduct was that he would not stop “air drumming” while on duty. He would do this using real drumsticks by the way, causing some customers to complain of feeling threatened.  ***MARLAR: But now he has a lot of extra time to start that air rock band he’s been fantasizing about!

Folks in the Lakewood, Ohio area just love the locally famous grilled cheese sandwiches served up at the Melt Bar & Grilled Restaurant. The question is how much? The restaurant has teamed up with Voodoo Monkey Tattoo and are offering any patron with a tattoo of their classic sandwich a 25% discount. John Forgus of Voodoo Monkey says he’s been getting creative like giving one person a tattoo of Popeye holding a grilled cheese sandwich instead of a spinach can.  ***MARLAR: For a grilled cheese sandwich?  Really?  I mean, I would understand if you were getting 25% off your Starbucks… but a grilled cheese sandwich?

In China, Lo Wung’s taekwondo monkeys have become a regular feature and a crowd favorite outside a major shopping center in Enshi, Hubei province. The spider monkeys have been trained by Lo to demonstrate their martial arts skills on each other. But things got ugly the other day when the monkeys decided to turn on their trainer and put some Kung-Fu moves on him. One monkey gave Lo a perfect flying kick to the head. Then another punched him in the eye while another grabbed his ear. One witness who caught the incident on video said, “They were leaping and jumping all over the place! It was better than a Bruce Lee film.” At one point the monkey trainer grabbed a stick to control the monkeys.  ***MARLAR: The moral of the story… walk softly, carry a big stick, and don’t teach your monkeys karate.

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