Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – July 31, 2010

DailyDoseNewsA mechanic from Great Britain has changed his name to Buzz Lightyear, to celebrate the release of Toy Story 3.  26 year old Steve Bolton, said: “I’m a massive fan of Toy Story and Buzz is a great name.  “My girlfriend is going to love telling people she’s going out with Buzz Lightyear.  ***MARLAR: He sounds like a real space case to me.

The manager of an Idaho thrift store is seeking the return of her laptop computer, which was accidentally sold for $5.  Sandra Bechthold says she was shocked when she learned her 2-year-old Dell Inspiron and case were sold on July 12.  Bechthold had to do some work offsite that day, leaving the Women’s Center Thrift Store in the hands of one staffer and a group of volunteers. The Coeur d’Alene Press reports Bechthold doesn’t know how her laptop ended up in the donation receiving room.  A volunteer said she decided on a $5 sale price because she once saw a laptop with no software sold for that amount.  Bechthold has placed a classified ad offering to buy the computer back.  ***MARLAR: How lame must your computer be if someone sells it for just five bucks?  Heck, you got more than that on the rebate, didn’t you?

Indonesia’s top Islamic body declared that Muslims can drink civet coffee – the world’s most expensive coffee, which is extracted from the dung of civet cats.  A preacher recently suggested the beverage might not be “halal” – or religiously approved – because its provenance makes it unclean. But after a long discussion, the influential Indonesian Ulema Council said that the coffee, known locally as Kopi Luwak, could be consumed as long as the beans were washed.  Kopi Luwak, which takes it name from the Indonesian word for civets, is made from hard beans that have been eaten by the nocturnal critters and then fermented in their stomachs before being pooped out and roasted.  ***MARLAR: Yet this type of coffee is the only one deemed clean enough to consume by Muslims?

New York City’s bouquet bandit has a green thumb.  Police said Tuesday that a man wanted for robbing a Manhattan bank while armed with a bouquet of flowers has struck before – using a potted plant.  On Monday, police released a security photo of a man holding fresh flowers that were neatly bundled in pink tissue paper and plastic. Hidden inside the arrangement was a note demanding $50 and $100 bills and a message for the teller, “Don’t be a hero.” On July 10, police say the same man appeared at another Manhattan bank, holding a threatening note under a leafy plant and handing it to a teller. He reached over the counter grabbed the cash before he fled, leaving the plant behind.  He is still at large.  ***MARLAR: And possibly hiding behind a fichus.

Massachusetts has unveiled the toughest restaurant menu labeling rules in the United States, requiring fast-food chains to list how many calories are in the food they sell in a bid to combat obesity.  ***MARLAR: Who battles obesity by stepping into a fast food store?

US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System could begin to deteriorate as early as this year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures – or even dishing out inaccurate directions to millions of people worldwide. The warning zeros in on the network of GPS satellites that constantly orbit the planet and beam signals back to the ground that help pinpoint your position on the Earth’s surface. The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s. According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO), mismanagement and a lack of investment means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year.  ***MARLAR: This is NOT good news for me.  I could get lost on a one-way dirt road with an Eagle-Scout duct-taped to my forehead.  I’m so bad, I have to use my GPS to find Wal-Mart.

Water is supposed to help put out fires – not cause them. But officials in Washington state are blaming water for starting a fire that charred the back of a home. The water in this case was in a glass bowl left out for a dog. Investigators say rays from the sun caused the bowl of water to act like a magnifying glass and start a fire on the home’s wooden deck. Authorities say they did manage to rule out any other possible causes, like electrical wiring or some other issue. The homeowners were away and the family dog was rescued after neighbors noticed the smoke and flames. Damage to the home is estimated at $215,000.  ***MARLAR: Hot dog!

It’s a bitter dispute over sweet confections. Brothers from an Ohio candy-making family are opening shops 100 feet apart from each other. George and Socrates Goumas (GOO’-muhs) plan to open separate candy outlets in Granville. The bonbon battle began when their mother put eldest brother George in charge of the family’s Candyland business and its two stores, located in central Ohio. That embittered Socrates, who used to run the family business while George was in Florida. The upshot is that Socrates and Greg have opened their own shop and plan one in Granville, right near their brother’s shop. Each side claims to be using the original candy recipes handed down from their grandfather, who first opened a restaurant in Ohio in 1911.  ***MARLAR: Congratulations to everyone in Granville, Ohio – you’re about to see chocolate prices plummet!

In Springfield, Massachusetts, a baby shower erupted into a brawl when a man got into a fight with another man who’s dating his ex-girlfriend, and the first man was shot.  ***MARLAR: The most shocking part of the story though… two men were at a baby shower.

A physics professor at the University of Connecticut claims to have designed a working time machine. ***MARLAR: He says all he needs to finish is a case of plutonium and a Delorian.

An interesting trend among campgrounds across the country: lots of them are now offering free high-speed wireless internet.  ***MARLAR:  Because who wants to go out camping if you can’t update your status on Facebook? “Rufin it in d woods, bit by snake, myt die.” (And then right under that you read… “Karl ‘likes’ this.”)

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