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.
Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, claims our children may have to change their names to escape their ‘cyber past’. He says the private lives of young people are now so well documented on the internet that many will have to change their names on reaching adulthood. Eric Schmidt suggested that young people should be entitled to change their identity to escape their misspent youth, which is now recorded in excruciating detail on social networking sites such as Facebook. ***MARLAR: THOSE grades? No, those lousy grades can’t be mine… that was some guy named Darren Marlar. My name is Marren Darlar!
China’s Center for Disease Control says efforts to curb tobacco use in the world’s most populous nation have had no real impact and 301 million Chinese are still smoking. A survey of more than 13,000 people earlier this year found no significant improvement in the country’s smoking rate since 2002. ***MARLAR: The problem is that you smoke a Chinese cigarette and half an hour later you’re hungry for another one.
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. ***MARLAR: Maybe Uma Thurman will play Snow White… and Keanu Reeves can play Dopey!
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.
Leslie Cain thought she was doing the right thing when she saved an orphaned baby deer she named Sunny. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, however have a different opinion. Cain is under criminal investigation and faces 60 days in jail and a $500 fine after investigators learned that she had found Sunny in a subdivision in Ohio and took her across state lines to a farm in central Kentucky; that apparently is against the rules. ***MARLAR: Authorities are now looking to charge Santa Claus with multiple counts of the same thing.
The bride wore white — and a face mask. A Chicago couple married in surgical masks and latex gloves after learning less than 48 hours before that they both had Swine Flu. Ilana Jackson and Jeremy Fierstien went ahead with the ceremony after doctors assured them guests wouldn’t be at serious risk. But to be sure, the 26-year-olds kept a 10-foot distance from family and friends at all times, even walking around the gathering instead of down the aisle. ***MARLAR: The pastor reversed the vows so that “in sickness and in health” came first.
A New York restaurant owner wanted to serve food just like Grandma’s. So he found some real grandmothers to cook it. The Staten Island eatery, Enoteca Maria, has a revolving lineup of eight “nonnas”, women who learned to cook from their mothers and grandmothers, but weren’t professional chefs. The menu changes every night, when the cook on duty comes to the restaurant and whips up meals based on what owner Joe Scaravella has stocked in the fridge. The chefs all hail from different regions in Italy and the oldest cook is 80. ***MARLAR: Of course, with “Nonna” in charge, you have to finish everything on your plate and you have to keep your elbows off the table.