Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: January 05, 2011

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NEW NEWS…

Sixty two percent of Britons, 58 percent of Canadians and 53 percent of Americans use artificial trees, while only about 16 percent of Americans and Canadians and 14 percent of Britons use fresh trees, according to poll done by Angus Reid Public Opinion.  ***MARLAR: I’m guessing that remaining sixteen percent of people using real trees never walk around their trees barefoot.

An Albuquerque, New Mexico mother is behind bars, accused of forcing her 5- and 10-year-old kids to shoplift. Kristi McKenzie, 30, hide a bottle of alcohol in her child’s car seat, then forced the kids to fill Walmart bags with merchandise.  Police said McKenzie has been ordered to stay out of other stores before because of similar problems.  ***MARLAR: I guess the tradition of teaching your kids a trade is over.

Beginning in January, all new stamps good for 1 ounce of domestic first-class mail will forgo a printed denomination and be acceptable for the typical letter regardless of the current postal rate.  That’s right they will be forever stamps!  ***MARLAR: If you’re looking to invest, stamps might be the way to go – because you know they’ll be raising the rates on those things every six months or so.  Buy them now and save!

Not only are more than one-fourth the number of potential military recruits too fat to join the military, but now a report says nearly one in four of the students who try to join the U.S. Army fail its entrance exam.   That report paints a grim picture of an education system that produces graduates who can’t answer basic math, science, and reading questions. It comes eight months after retired military officers appeared on Capitol Hill advocating for the passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that became law earlier this month. They told lawmakers then that weight problems were the leading medical reason that recruits are rejected, and thus jeopardized the military’s ability to fill its ranks. ***MARLAR: So they’re more concerned that the army isn’t overweight than making sure it has decent math, science, and reading skills?  I guess we’re good for any battle so long as we’re fighting against elementary school students.

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

A 16th-century, first edition of, “Heavenly Spheres,” the book in which Nicolaus Copernicus puts forth his theory that the sun – not the earth — is at the center of the universe has fetched more than 2 million dollars at a Christie’s auction.  ***MARLAR: The SUN?!?!  I thought Brad and Angelina were the center of the universe!

Armed citizens are taking to the streets of Santa Rosa, California. But these volunteers aren’t packing pistols, they are armed with radar guns and they’re going after speeders. Senior citizens Carl Holz and Joe McClelland are a couple of the volunteers. Former speeders themselves, they’re now trying to get other drivers to slow down. The volunteers clock the speeders and police later mail out warning letters. So far, nearly 800 letters have been sent. Police say most people react positively to a slow-down reminder. But authorities say some people are angry because they don’t know who their accusers are.  ***MARLAR: I don’t have a problem with senior citizens sending us warnings about driving too fast… as long as I can send them reminders about driving too slow or having their blinker on for 82 miles.  It’s only fair.

Eating milk chocolate can improve your brain activity. Scientists now say you should eat some milk chocolate before your next exam or big work project. ***MARLAR: I use chocolate in my coffee every single morning… and if this is how I am when my brain activity is improved, imagine what kind of an idiot I am before my first cup of joe!

Linda Bensel-Meyers, director of composition for the English department at the University of Tennessee, filed a report noting questionable school practices involving student athletes which include tutoring, grades, course selection and oversight. Bensel-Meyers called the athletic department’s manipulation of the athletes’ academic programs a “system tantamount to institutionalized slavery.”  ***MARLAR: Usually though, Linda, slaves aren’t allowed to turn pro at the end of four years for millions of dollars.

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