Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – September 03, 2010

Police said a homeless man lived unnoticed in the basement of a New Jersey library for nearly two weeks. Police said a custodian saw Charles Jones Jr. peeking out a basement window of the Ocean Township library in Monmouth County on Friday night.  Neptune police Detective Lt. Steven Peters said Jones told officers he had been living in the building. Police discovered several books in the basement and found the 26-year-old had taken food from the employee break room.  ***MARLAR: Ironically, the only section of the library he did not take books from was the “Self Help” section.

A study led by Dr. Chenchen Wang at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston involved 66 fibromyalgia patients assigned to try either tai chi or wellness education and stretching exercises twice a week for 12 weeks.  It turns out that tai chi eased painful joints and other symptoms of fibromyalgia in a small but well-done study of this ancient Chinese form of exercise.  According to practitioners of it, tai chi (ty-CHEE’) can improve muscle strength, balance, sleep, coordination and, some evidence suggests, fibromyalgia.  ***MARLAR: Oh, wait… I’m sorry.  This story is about tai chi.  I’m sorry, I thought they were talking about chai tea… which I personally find very tasty.

Best Buy is threatening legal action against a priest in Fond du Lac. At issue is Father Luke Strand’s black Volkswagen Beetle with “God Squad” logos. Best Buy says it’s too similar to its “Geek Squad” trademark for its electronic troubleshooters.  ***MARLAR: Father Strand’s argument is that computer crashes immediately result in people asking for God’s help.

The CIA is opening a counterproliferation center to combat the spread of dangerous weapons and technology, a move that comes as Iran is on the verge of fueling up a new nuclear power plant.  CIA Director Leon Panetta says the new unit would place CIA operators side by side with the agency’s analysts to brainstorm plans to “confront the threat of weapons of mass destruction – nuclear, chemical and biological.”  ***MARLAR: Part of the testing to become a part of the new unit is being asked to spell the word “counterproliferation”.

A survey by the website BabyCenter.com found that celebrities such as Pierce Brosnan and Ben Affleck have sparked a new trend called “push presents,” or giving women extravagant gifts after they have a baby. They’re named after both the “push” of childbirth and the fact that many dads now feel pushed to give them or else. Nearly four out of 10 new moms have received them, and even more, 55 percent, now say they expect them. It’s led to Tiffany offering “push present” lines, such as pink sapphire and diamond jewelry if it’s a girl, or blue sapphires for a boy. Another jeweler even makes “mercy dashes” to hospitals to deliver push presents for men who didn’t know this was expected.  ***MARLAR: Isn’t having a baby in the first place expensive enough?

A Harvard and University of British Columbia study found that how you spend money is at least as important to happiness as how much you make. They studied 630 Americans and found that those who spent money on other people, even as little as $5 a day for gifts or charity, were measurably happier than those who spent the money on themselves.  ***MARLAR: In fact, instead of buying the complete Stargate SG-1 collection on DVD for myself, I bought it for my wife Robin – and I’m feeling really good about that right now.

According to a recent survey on office pet peeves, 32 percent of employees listed “loud talkers” as their biggest annoyance at work. However, 44 percent said using condescending tones were the worst, while 37 percent found public reprimands at work irritating. 34 percent said they hated bosses who micromanage, topping 22 percent who disliked using speakerphones in public areas. ***MARLAR: And 78% said their biggest pet peeve is people making them take dumb surveys about their jobs while they’re trying to get their work done.

Noe Tovar Gonzalez, 51, was waiting in line to go through the security checkpoint at California’s San Francisco International Airport when officers asked him if there was any metal inside his bag. “Nothing,” Gonzalez allegedly said. They pressed further, apparently knowing better by looking at the x-ray picture. “Ooooooooh, I forgot,” police say he admitted, “it’s a little .22 in the cheese.” Sure enough, in his carry-on bag was a hunk of cheese. When they sliced it open they found an unloaded .22 caliber pistol he was trying to take to Oregon from Mexico. The gun apparently was not detected on the first leg of his flight, from Mexico to San Francisco.  ***MARLAR: Because the Mexican government can’t afford the new high-tech cheese-penetrating x-rays.

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