Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – May 20, 2010

Four years ago, a Tampa area high school freshman told his Spanish teacher he’d wear the same pair of sneakers every day until graduation. His toes stick out of the front and plastic bags encase the shoes on rainy days, but Ben Hedblom has made good on his promise. His teacher may have to shave his head and eyebrows if Hedblom holds on until graduation next month. The 17-year-old football captain said the bet has turned into more than a joke. Hedblom said it helped him worry less about other people’s perceptions and ended up inspiring his senior class project on the psychology behind perceptions. ***MARLAR: His shoes have also become a learning tool about molds and fungus in Biology class.

Malaysian police have recovered a car stolen from a top officer with a note from the thieves inside saying, “Sorry police, wrong target.” Police officer Arjunaidi Mohamed said the car belonging to the police chief of central Selangor state was found Saturday in a parking space on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. On its dashboard was the handwritten note. Arjunaidi said Sunday that only the door lock on the Proton Perdana was damaged. The car, which did not have a police logo, was stolen Thursday near a restaurant where the police chief’s driver had stopped to have breakfast. ***MARLAR: There are criminals that are articulate and literate enough to write apology notes? That right there deserves a sentence recommendation. Maybe let them off with a warning if they agree to teach other criminals so we don’t get bank robbers spelling “stick up” as one word, spelled “s-t-i-k-up”.

School officials in New York are exploring their options, as far as what to do with the cell phones that have been banned in the nation’s largest school system. Among the options being considered is the installation of special lockers outside the schools to store the devices. The locker proposal follows New York’s move last year to step up its scrutiny of what gets in and out of schools. Along the way, schools have confiscated thousands of student cell phones, which students sneak inside their lunches and under their clothes. Parents have sued the city over the ban, and sent dozens of angry e-mails to officials. ***MARLAR: But the city says it only accepts phone text messages.

Local 6 News reports that Angela Bolls of Dallas, Texas, is one of several upset parents complaining their child’s talking “Sesame Street” book, “Potty Time With Elmo,” is making inappropriate comments. On one page of the potty-training aide, a child pushes a button and Elmo is supposed to say, “Who wants to try to go potty?” But in some of the books, Elmo says, “Who wants to die?” ***MARLAR: The good news is that children who received that version of the book, learned to use the bathroom in record time.

The Army is getting serious about video games. Computer simulators are being used at Fort Carson, Colorado, to recreate M-1 tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The 30 simulators cost the Army about 50-million dollars. But Staff Sergeant Robert Pagan feels it’s money well spent. He says the computer simulation helps to save lives, not to mention fuel. The government pegs the cost of operating one of the heavy tanks at more than 180 dollars per mile. The soldiers say about the only thing the computers can’t replicate is the smell of being inside of a tank. ***MARLAR: At 1.6-million each, wouldn’t it just be easier to get each tank a case of Lysol?

Doctors in India removed a toothbrush from a man’s stomach a week after he accidentally swallowed it. The man says he swallowed it while brushing his teeth in front of the TV. ***MARLAR: His toothbrush was easier to swallow than the storyline of “LOST.”

Lasers beamed from space have discovered that there are massive flowing lakes of water underneath all that ice in Antarctica. ***MARLAR: Giant laser beams aimed at the South Pole – and they’re blaming global warming for melting glaciers?!?!

A survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance found that 81% of Americans do something else while driving, including talking on a phone, texting, checking e-mail, eating, watching TV, doing their hair, applying makeup and shaving. ***MARLAR: I was reading this survey and was so astonished I had to pull over and finish the article!

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