Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – September 08, 2009

o Today is NATIONAL BOSS/EMPLOYEE EXCHANGE DAY, a day for bosses and employees to share each other’s points of view for a day.  ***MARLAR: I can’t afford to change places with my boss – he’ll see how easy a job this is and assign it to an intern!

o Today is INTERNATIONAL LITERRACY DAY, sponsored by the United Nations.  ***MARLAR: Wait a minute… is literacy really spelled with two “R”s?  It’s spelled with two “R”s here…

o Today is NATIONAL DATE NUT BREAD DAY.  ***MARLAR: Not to be confused with National Date A Nut Day, which may be more fun, but isn’t as good of a source of whole grain and fiber.

This is just weird. The Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta is now offering a most unusual toy in its gift shop: a stuffed and fuzzy version of the H1N1 virus microbe. A company called GIANTmicrobes sells the swine flu plush toy along with other interesting fuzzy models of bed bugs, mad cow disease, and other diseases.  According to their Web site, the company views the toys as “learning tools.” Each microbe toy is accompanied by information about the disease it represents.  ***MARLAR: So don’t let it throw you if your kids ask for Swine Flu for Christmas.

Operators of the Chicago area’s Metra commuter trains are reducing the number of bathrooms to make room for more seats. Metra officials said they decided to scale back on restrooms after experiencing a third consecutive year of record ridership while at the same time failing to find money in the budget to buy more trains. Officials said every other passenger car should have a bathroom after the changes are implemented. Fewer bathrooms and more seats will generate $7.5 million and save about $2 million annually in maintenance and cleaning costs.  ***MARLAR: I’ve ridden on the Metra.  Let me just say that some people don’t seem to care whether or not there is an actual bathroom.

A Texas man celebrated his 22nd anniversary as a UPS driver recently. Shortly after Brent Boyd got behind the wheel, his truck hit the 1 million-mile-mark. Boyd, 51, has driven the same vehicle since he started working for UPS twenty-two years ago. The odometer on Boyd’s GMC truck rolled over to all zeros as he began his delivery route near Palestine. He said his truck’s gone through at least three engines and been repainted several times, but he’s resisted offers for a new van. He says the truck is “like home” and feels like “sitting in the recliner in your house.”  ***MARLAR: Sounds like Brent needs a new recliner too.

Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal have successfully sailed from California to Hawaii in a raft made of plastic bottles and Cessna airplane parts. The raft, which they named “Junk,” was made out of 15,000 plastic bottles and a Cessna 310 fuselage. The purpose of their journey was to bring attention to the massive amount of plastic floating at sea. Maybe you’ve heard of the Northern Pacific Gyre, which has been getting some media attention recently. It’s an area twice the size of Britain that swirls with tons of plastics used for water bottles, food containers, and various other one-time purposes. Their point was really brought home when they caught a fish on their journey only to find plastic in its stomach when they cut it open. During the 26,000 mile and 87 day journey, the two men saw firsthand that “plastic is forever, and it’s everywhere.”  ***MARLAR: Meaning we’ll never get rid of Cher.

The London Sun tabloid claims Disney is making a kung-fu version of their classic animated movie, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” No, we’re not kidding. The live-action flick will reportedly be called “Snow and the Seven,” and set in colonial China in the 1880s.  Here’s the cool part: the same choreographer who did “Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger,” the “Matrix” films and “Kill Bill” is working on the flick, so –maybe– it’ll actually be fun to watch.

While James Bond creator Ian Fleming only wrote 14 Bond novels, there have been many, many more 007 movies. Fleming did write another novel though… one that was made into a Disney film!  Ian Fleming wrote “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!” ***MARLAR: I can hear Sean Connery in my head, “Bond… Chitty Chitty Bond Bond.”

It had to happen someday.  Europe now has the world’s very first outpatient addiction treatment program for problem video gamers.  ***MARLAR: It’s a two step program.  Step one… take away the video games, step two… get a life.

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