Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: January 25, 2011

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NEW NEWS…

A reporter tagged in a Facebook image that mocked the Palestinian president said Saturday he faces trial for insulting a public figure, raising concerns about freedom of speech in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.  ***MARLAR: Here in American, insulting a public figure is known as TUESDAY.

The U.S. Justice Department went into a public high school this week with a message for students: If you’re “different,” if you’re gay, and if you’re being bullied – don’t feel alone, don’t be ashamed, and don’t hesitate to call on the federal government for help if your school doesn’t stop the bullying.  ***MARLAR: If, on the other hand, you’re being picked on because you believe in God – well, tough, you’re on your own.

Another one of California’s largest health insurers has stunned individual policyholders with news of huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers beginning March 1st.  ***MARLAR: Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to lower health insurance rates?

Great Neck village, on Long Island, New York’s “gold coast” is banning smoking on public sidewalks in front of businesses. Violators could face a $1,000 fine.  The ban was enacted after officials got complaints about smokers standing outside stores in the village. The law apparently has a loophole. It is not illegal to smoke in the street.  ***MARLAR: But then you’re given a ticket for jay walking.

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

Running on empty didn’t get some suspected crooks very far. Police in Cookeville, Tennessee, report the trio robbed a Goodwill store, but ran out of gas before making it out of the parking lot.  ***MARLAR: Ironically, they were robbing the store because they couldn’t afford to buy gas.

Researchers at the University of Texas report that people, mostly women, who sunbathe or use tanning beds a lot in defiance of health warnings may be addicted to ultra-violet light. They interviewed 145 beachgoers and gave them two different psychological tests for addiction. Under one test, 26 percent were classified as “ultra-violet light tanning dependent” and under the other test, it was 53 percent.  ***MARLAR: If this is really an addiction, shouldn’t somebody set up some kind of intervention for the entire population of Los Angeles – beginning with George Hamilton?

Tricia Cunningham used to be overweight. She has lost nearly half her weight in one pretty bizarre diet she calls “the backwards diet.”   Tricia says she dropped a whopping 172 pounds by eating breakfast foods for dinner and vice-versa.  Cunningham cooks salmon, cod, or any protein she wants in a marinade of orange juice every morning. For dinner — you guessed it — she eats breakfast. Usually she eats oatmeal with shredded wheat in orange juice, not milk.  On this backwards diet, Cunningham went from a size 22 to a size 1 in nine months. She has kept the weight off for more than five years.  ***MARLAR: So I thought I’d do my own backwards diet, and begin each meal with dessert.  (Check out the Reverse Diet Yahoo Group)

A giant lobster has been saved from a boiling pot of water and will live out its life at a New Brunswick aquarium. Dee-Dee, a 100-year-old, 22-pound lobster, spent a week at a Shediac, New Brunswick, fish shop while at the center of a cross-country bidding war between those who wanted to eat him and those who wanted to set him free. The store’s owner, Denis Breau, said he accepted a $1,000 bid from Vancouver resident Laura-Leah Shaw to save the lobster, despite receiving a $5,000 bid from an Ontario group that wanted Dee-Dee for a banquet. Dee-Dee will go to a conservation group’s aquarium, because releasing him back into the sea would probably be fatal. Shaw said she’s disappointed that Dee-Dee might not return to his natural habitat, but is hoping the push to set the lobster free will prevent fishermen from seeking older, bigger lobsters.  ***MARLAR: This lobster has been alive since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series!  How depressing is that?

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