Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – July 08, 2010

Are the toys in your child’s Happy Meal making him fat?  The Center for Science in the Public Interest says they are. The Washington-based consumer advocacy group threatened to file a lawsuit against McDonald’s Tuesday, charging that the fast food chain “unfairly and deceptively” markets the toys to children.  “McDonald’s marketing has the effect of conscripting America’s children into an unpaid drone army of word-of-mouth marketers, causing them to nag their parents to bring them to McDonald’s,” CSPI’s Stephen Gardner wrote to the heads of the chain in a letter announcing the lawsuit.  The center, which has filed dozens of lawsuits against food companies in recent years, is hoping the publicity and the threat of a lawsuit will force McDonald’s to negotiate with them on the issue. The group announced the lawsuit in the letter to McDonald’s 30 days before filing it with the hope that the company will agree to stop selling the toys before a suit is filed.  California’s Santa Clara County voted earlier this year to ban restaurants from giving away the toys and other freebies that often come with high-calorie meals aimed at kids.  ***MARLAR: How are toys making kids fat?  It’s not like the kids are eating the action figures instead of the hamburger.  In fact, the toys are the healthiest part of the meal.

Most U.S. adults should eat less than a teaspoon of salt each day, but a new government report says just 1 in 18 meet that goal.  ***MARLAR: Wow, I guess that makes me an above-average American!  Not only do I eat a teaspoon of salt each day – I exceed it!

Two vacuum salesmen didn’t exactly close the deal at a recent home demonstration in central New York. State police charged the Syracuse men with a misdemeanor after a $1,300 Sealy latex foam mattress was damaged. Trooper Andy Davis said the damage occurred during a demonstration Monday at a home in Richfield Springs. Davis wouldn’t elaborate on what was done to the mattress.  ***MARLAR: Well, if police and a mattress are involved, my guess is that someone ripped off a mattress tag.  Evil doers!

Smokers in Spain are getting new help in their bid to quit smoking from a more unlikely source – their mobile phones. An online messaging company there sends periodic messages of encouragement to smokers which include text messages like “Come on! You can do it” and “Lay off the cigarettes!” Now, any Spanish smoker with a mobile phone can receive the handy tips on their phones free of charge, sent at times when their willpower is most likely to be its weakest. ***MARLAR: But now they have a country full of cell phone addicts.

Willis Jack DesRosier never could resist a good joke, even for his tombstone. After Jack died he was buried beneath a gravestone reading, “Here lies Jack in the Box.” Mr. DesRosier told his family he wanted it that way, so he got it! Also, he was cremated and his ashes were set into an urn. In the urn went a plastic foam ball with a hat and smiley face from the Jack in the Box fast-food chain. In addition, the obituary in the local paper read: “Come see Jack in the Box.” ***MARLAR: They should’ve had the funeral in a drive-thru.

India’s Uttarakhand state has made a deal to buy 5,000 liters a day of cow urine. It’s used in an ancient type of herbal medicine and cosmetics called Ayurveda, which proponents claim can even cure cancer. To collect so much cow urine, they’ve put together a network of 1900 milk cooperatives to harvest urine from 26 species of mountain cows, because their urine has a “richer herbal residue” than that of cows from the plains.  ***MARLAR: I think I might rather stay sick.

A driving test center in Britain has closed because candidates are spending their exams stuck in traffic jams and examiners are frustrated at not being able to test candidates properly spending up to 30 minutes stuck in traffic of the 40 minute test. ***MARLAR: Are they kidding? If the driver can keep their patience that long without taking a hammer to somebody’s windshield they should be given their license immediately!

A Georgia couple win BIG. Chuck Hill won $5,000 in the state lottery, only to be outdone by his wife a week later. Karen Hill’s scratch-off ticket was worth a whopping $1 million. ***MARLAR: Local casinos have preemptively banned the Hill family for life.

A great parking spot is worth a ton of money to one driver in Boston. An unidentified buyer forks over $300,000 for a parking space in the city’s wealthy Back Bay section. The hefty sum is believed to be the highest price ever paid for a parking space in the city’s history.  ***MARLAR: Chicago residents only wish they had it so good.

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