Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: January 31, 2011

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NEW NEWS…

Workers at a Ukrainian aquarium didn’t believe it when a visitor said a crocodile swallowed her phone. Then the reptile started ringing.  The accident sounds a bit like “Peter Pan,” in which a crocodile happily went “tick-tock” after gulping down an alarm clock.  But Gena, the 14-year-old croc who swallowed the phone, has hardly been living a fairy tale; he hasn’t eaten or had a bowel movement in four weeks and appears depressed and in pain.  ***MARLAR: Of course he’s depressed and in pain.  YOU try passing a big Nokia phone when it’s still on vibrate mode!

200 tasters were guinea pigs for a group of Dutch scientists doing groundbreaking research into insects replacing animal meat as a healthier, more environmentally friendly source of protein.  Taste treats include: Thai marinated grasshopper spring rolls, buffalo worm chocolate gnache, and a seemingly innocent pastry “just like a quiche lorraine, but with meal worms instead of bacon or ham”, according to chef Henk van Gurp. ***MARLAR: And now we know where Taco Bell gets the rest of the stuff they use in their “meat”.

Say, isn’t that the president with a gun in his hand? Actually, no, but it sure looks like it.  Austrian authorities are searching for a bank robber who uses an unusual disguise: He wears a Barack Obama mask during his holdups.  Police say the man, nicknamed the “Obama Robber” by local media, is wanted for six heists since 2008. The most recent took place January 20th in the hamlet of Handenberg, where the Obama-resembling suspect made off with an undisclosed amount of money after threatening bank employees with a gun.  ***MARLAR: Republicans in America say the robber is only being true to the character he is portraying.

A Tucson taco restaurant already has served up python, alligator, elk, kangaroo, rattlesnake and turtle.  What’s next? Lion meat.  Boca Tacos y Tequila says it’s accepting prepaid orders for African lion tacos, to be served starting Feb. 16. Orders must be placed by Feb. 7 and owner Bryan Mazon says there are already a few reservations from curious customers.  Mazon says his restaurant started offering exotic tacos on its menu every Wednesday about six months ago and has tried “just about anything we can get our hands on.”  According to the Food and Drug Administration, lion and other game meat can be sold as long as the species isn’t endangered.  The Arizona Daily Star says most of Boca’s exotic tacos range between $3 and $4. The lion tacos will cost $8.75 apiece.  ***MARLAR: They take pride in their lion tacos, but I hear the tacos bite back.

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

According to a study reported in the journal Circulation, heavy, long-term coffee drinking does not raise the risk of heart attacks for most people.  ***MARLAR: But reading the price board at Starbuck’s does.

Americans are getting bigger – and wider – and heavier.  According to new statistics, obesity rates in all 50 of the United States went up over the past year.  ***MARLAR: So if California falls into the ocean, it may not be an earthquake that causes it.

Researchers have found a fossil of what may have been one of the world’s first plants. ***MARLAR: It may also be evidence of man’s first clothing, as it was stamped with “Fig of the Loom”.

Madison County, Illinois, has earned the nickname “The Promised Land” by some trial lawyers because of the county’s incredibly lawsuit friendly verdicts. Case in point; a Madison County judge recently awarded $311,700 to Amanda Verett for a long series of painful injuries that her courtroom-veteran chiropractor has been treating. It seems Amanda was holding a door open at a Pizza Hut when an employee yanked it open farther. As a result she claims she’s suffered horrible shoulder, arm and hand injuries.  ***MARLAR: Yet her arm worked perfectly in the courtroom when she had to place it on a bible.

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