Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: March 11, 2011

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The price of corn, which has doubled over the past six months, affects most food products in supermarkets. It’s used to feed the cattle, hogs and chickens that fill the meat aisles.  As a result, shoppers could see higher grocery bills as early as three months from now.  ***MARLAR: But not to worry – it’s also used for gasoline to make fuel prices go up too, so it evens out.

Scientists have created a real-life thinking cap which works by zapping electricity through the brain.  The weird-looking headwear has had extraordinary results and experts believe it could help people be more creative.  The device was dreamt up by the University of Sydney’s Centre for the Mind in Australia and suppresses the left side of the brain to encourage the more creative right side into action.  But Centre director Allan Snyder said students hoping to use it to swot up before exams would be disappointed.   He said: “You wouldn’t use this to study or to help your memory.  “You would use this if you wanted to look at a problem anew. ***MARLAR: Like figuring out why you can’t get dates because you look like a dork with a metal helmet on your head.

If your 7-year-old son comes home from school with flu, he probably caught it from another boy rather than one of the girls, says new research that sheds light on how the flu virus spreads. Scientists researching the spread of H1N1 in an elementary school classroom found that boys typically transmit the infection to other boys and girls pass it on to girls. In fact, grade-school guys are three times more likely to spread flu to classmates of the same sex than the opposite sex.  ***MARLAR: Well, yeah – of course.  If you get too close to the other sex you might get cooties!

Ex-convict Michael Ta’Bon is back in a prison of his own making. Literally. Ta’Bon, who served nearly a decade behind bars for armed robbery, says divine inspiration has led him to preach a gospel of nonviolence from a homemade, outdoor jail cell in Philadelphia. He has been living in the cell since Feb. 1 and plans to stay there throughout the month of February. “Instead of the young bucks going to jail to find out for themselves, I’m bringing the jail to the young bucks,” Ta’Bon said. Ta’Bon could be heard telling four high school students about the 19-cent hourly wage earned by prisoners, which might help them buy a 24-cent cup of instant noodles in the commissary.  ***MARLAR: Wait a minute… I can buy noodles for twenty-four cents?


The Wisconsin State Assembly has approved a bill to extend last call by an hour, but it will apply to just one night each year.  On daylight saving weekend, on Sunday morning, old state law mandated that bars had to close at 2:30 A-M. But that night, the clock jumps ahead from 2 to 3 A-M.  So, lawmakers decided to allow the bars in the Badger State to close at 3:30 instead of 2:30.  ***MARLAR: Wow.  If you’re so addicted to alcohol that there has to be a law to allow you to keep drinking past 2 o’clock on a Sunday morning, do you even have the ability at that point to tell what time it is?

If you call your closest girlfriend to vent about your husband’s diehard devotion to golf, you know it’s a relief to express your feelings. It was reported in Ladies’ Home Journal, that now researchers have discovered why. According to a study from UCLA, attaching words to a feeling reduces activity in the part of the brain that controls our biological response to emotions, such as increased heart rate when we’re angry. “Expressing your feelings in words short circuits the body’s reaction by preventing stress hormones from being released,” says lead author Matthew D. Lieberman, an associate professor of psychology.  ***MARLAR: What if what really irks you about your spouse is that they always call someone to complain about you?

Some people just don’t think things through. A pregnant woman in London, who goes only by the name Akono, decided to protest against U.S. policy in Iraq by organizing and participating in several public demonstrations. Now she has announced that she plans to intensify her own personal protest by going on a hunger strike explaining that, “I want to do everything I can to make sure my (unborn) child has a secure future.”  ***MARLAR: There is nothing I can add to that story to make that mother look any more irresponsible.

One Broward County, Florida couple decided to tie the knot where they first met: Whole Foods Market. Jack Frankel, 75, and 67-year-old Fina Nikolos met in at the supermarket store in Coral Springs. It had been raining when Frankel noticed a beautiful woman pass him. Nikolos offered to walk him to his car with an umbrella. He later thanked her by taking her out to lunch. So the two returned to where their love began for a small wedding ceremony in the store. About 40 people attended the ceremony as store employees and customers watched and smiled. The couple held each other close during the ceremony, sharing a few tears.  ***MARLAR: Although you have to wonder what it says about their marriage when they choose to exchange vows in the Frozen Foods section.

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