Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – June 29, 2010

Here’s something for teenagers and their parents to think about heading into the summer job season.  The first national study to interview teens about on-the-job dangers finds that, in some cases, federal laws are being broken.  Many teens tell researchers they’ve operated hazardous equipment, received no safety training and worked alone after dark.  Thirty-seven percent of teens under 16 said they had worked after seven p-m on a school night. That’s a violation of federal rules.  ***MARLAR: But parents aren’t complaining; anything to have some peace and quiet at home…

It seems that people love to eat where President Obama eats! For example, at the bustling Pi pizza restaurant in St. Louis, the staff has come up with a new mantra: “It’s just pizza!” Just pizza, and yet still, they marvel, customers are happy to wait well upward of two hours at peak time for a table. That is, ever since news came out that Barack Obama loved this pizza so much during a campaign stop, the owners were invited to recreate it in the White House ovens. It seems wherever Obama eats, business goes up. ***MARLAR: I guess this is Obama’s plan to create jobs – one eatery at a time.

Inmates at a prison in Pennsylvania apparently have been flushing towels, sneakers and other debris down toilets, causing problems for operators of the local sewage treatment plant.  County commissioners on Wednesday approved spending $225,000 to install a large filter in the prison’s sewer main to catch debris that shouldn’t be there before it reaches Lancaster’s sewer system. The items mess up motors and grinders in the system.  ***MARLAR: How about spending zero dollars and just make the prisoners clean up the sewers?

If you’re feeling bummed out, you might want to try working out. A recent study found that just 30 minutes of brisk walking immediately boosted the mood of depressed patients and gave them the same quick boost they might otherwise have sought from cigarettes, caffeine or binge eating. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that depressed people who walked for 30 minutes reported feeling more vigorous and had a greater sense of psychological well-being.  ***MARLAR: Conversely, it also helps you feel good to tell people who are annoying you to take a hike.

Rev. Marcus Ramshaw of St. Edward King & Martyr Church in Cambridge, England, has a new idea for attracting young parishioners: Goth Eucharist services. The candlelit services have a specially-written liturgy, music by bands such as Joy Division and Depeche Mode, and the worshipers look as if they’re attending a showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Rev. Ramshaw, a Goth himself, said that Goths tend to focus on bad things and think that life is hopeless, but the service helps them know that “God is still there for you.” ***MARLAR: God is there for you, but to be sure He’ll recognize you, you might want to change your clothes and wash that goop off your face.

Taxi! You can hail a cab in New York or Washington. But not in L.A. — at least not very easily. For years, Los Angeles has discouraged cabbies from picking up passengers on busy streets. The drivers were often ticketed for tying up traffic.  Now, the city is easing those restrictions, but many cabbies aren’t changing their ways. Drivers say gas prices and the slumping economy make it too expensive for them to cruise for fares. So, the Hail-A-Taxi test is getting a flat tire. Officials had hope the experimental program would help ease traffic congestion.  ***MARLAR: So the solution to ease traffic congestion was to create more congestion by adding cabs with no passengers?  Yeah, that’s gonna work.

A middle school girl is going to court over her Winnie the Pooh-themed socks. Seventh-grader Toni Scott got in trouble for violating the dress code at the Redwood Middle School in Napa, California. The policy calls for students to wear solid colors only, in a handful of hues. The ACLU is suing on Toni’s behalf, and contends the dress code is illegal, because it denies the students’ right to self-expression. ***MARLAR: If the school has a dress code, so be it – but don’t try to make Winnie the Pooh socks a “free speech” issue.  Puh-leese… what’s that supposed to represent?  The right to BEAR arms?

The 4th of July is this Sunday – the day all of America celebrates its independence. ***MARLAR: With fireworks from Taiwan, flags from Hong Kong, barbecue grills imported from Japan…

In Northern parts of China it was once a common practice to shave pigs. When the evenings got cold the Chinese would take a pig to bed with them for warmth and found it more comfortable if the pig was clean-shaven. ***MARLAR: If the only solution you can think of to keep warm is to sleep with a pig, you have more problems than just being cold.

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