Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – July 22, 2010

A European Union lawmaker urged member governments Tuesday to open their secret files on UFOs, saying people need to know about close encounters of the third kind.  Mario Borghezio, an Italian member of the European Parliament, told The Associated Press in an e-mail Tuesday that the EU needs its own “X Files” archive where anyone can see information on UFOs – including data gathered by the military. Borghezio said all European governments should go public and stop what he called a “systematic cover-up.”  ***MARLAR: Al Gore could not be reached for comment.

Buy those Forever stamps now. The cost of mailing a letter is going up again.  Fighting to survive a deepening financial crisis, the Postal Service said Tuesday it wants to increase the price of first-class stamps by 2 cents – to 46 cents – starting in January. Other postage costs would rise as well.  The agency’s persisting problem: ever-declining mail volume as people and businesses shift to the Internet and the declining economy reduces advertising mail.  “The Postal Service faces a serious risk of financial insolvency,” postal vice president Stephen M. Kearney said, an indication that without significant changes a time could come when the agency would be unable to pay its bills.  The post office lost $3.8 billion last year, despite cutting 40,000 full-time positions and making other reductions, and Kearney said it is facing a $7 billion loss for this year and the same for fiscal 2011, which begins in October. The rate increase would bring in $2.5 billion, meaning there still would be a large loss for next year.  ***MARLAR: Not to worry though, management of the U.S. Postal Service will still be able to get yearly bonuses in the millions-of-dollars.  (How about we knock mail delivery down to just Mondays?)

The washing machine cycle takes about 45 minutes – and George Washington comes out much cleaner in the Zimbabwe-style laundering of dirty money.  Low-denomination U.S bank notes change hands until they fall apart here in Africa, and the bills are routinely carried in underwear and shoes through crime-ridden slums.  Some have become almost too smelly to handle, so Zimbabweans have taken to putting their $1 bills through the spin cycle and hanging them up to dry with clothes pins alongside sheets and items of clothing.  ***MARLAR: If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a Zimbabwean, try a wallet.  Or maybe Snuggle fabric softener.

State prison officials are investigating reports that a fundraiser at the Nevada State Prison featured scantily clad female band members and a motorcycle that was brought into the yard for inmate pictures.  Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Suzanne Pardee says the agency’s inspector general’s office is interviewing staff to find out what happened during the June 26 barbecue and fundraiser hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America. It was unclear what the event was raising money for, and a message left Sunday at the Vietnam Veterans of America state headquarters wasn’t immediately returned.  A copy of the minutes from a Tuesday prison staff meeting referred to the barbecue as a “fiasco.” The minutes say the band members wore appropriate attire to enter the prison but later changed.  ***MARLAR: Admission to the prison fundraiser was only ten cigarettes apiece.

Unfortunately, bullet wounds are not that uncommon to doctors. However, in Barbastro, Spain, 88-year-old Faustino Olivera was treated for a bullet wound you definitely don’t see every day. He had a bullet removed from his shoulder — a bullet he got during the Spanish Civil War!! It had been there almost seven decades and was only discovered after he recently started complaining of a painful lump in his left shoulder. Mr. Olivera remembers the moment he was shot during the Battle of the Ebro on Nov 11, 1938. He said, “I took a shot but always thought the bullet had come out the other side.”  ***MARLAR: You’d think the lack of an exit hole would’ve clued him in.

A study by the journal Science found that if you want a large family, marry a distant relative. Icelandic researchers examined the nation’s genetic records going back over 200 years and found that people who married their third and fourth cousins had more children than couples who were more distantly related. They think it might be that distant cousins are more biologically compatible. But they found no advantages in marrying your first cousin.  ***MARLAR: When cousins marry, they have more in common, like the same traditions, the same tastes, the same grandparents. . .

A cosmetics line called “Looking Good For Jesus” has been pulled from department store shelves in Singapore after local Christians protested the marketing gimmick as blasphemous. The makeup line included items like “Virtuous vanilla” lip balm and a “Get Tight with Christ” hand and body cream. Resident Grace Ong said, “Why would anyone use religious figures to promote vanity products? It’s very disrespectful and distasteful.”  ***MARLAR: He said as he walked away wearing his Christian t-shirt, three-nails necklace, and WWJD bracelet.

A local zoning dispute in Naugatuck (NAW’-gah-tuck), Connecticut, has become, for some, a battle of good versus evil. The owner of a photo store put signs outside her store urging passing motorists to “Beep for Christ.” But then the owner of a neighboring tattoo store put out a sign urging motorists to honk twice for Satan.  Town officials responded by ordering the signs removed.  ***MARLAR: And put up their own signs saying, “Honk if you hate being told to honk.”

There are more than 1,000 chemicals in a cup of coffee. Of these, less than 100 have been tested, and approximately 14 chemicals so far have caused cancer in rats.  ***MARLAR: I should be dead by now.

A new prototype dress is designed to light up when the wearer’s mobile telephone rings. British fashion student Georgie Davis dreamed up the knee-length sleeveless white dress as part of a school project with mobile phone-maker Sony Ericsson to figure out ways of incorporating new technology into fashion. ***MARLAR: As if we’re looking for a new way to make cell phones more irritating.


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