Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – September 10, 2009

o This is LETTERS FROM MOM WEEK, a time to write notes and cards of encouragement to your children and teens for the new school year.

o Today is HOT DOG DAY and NATIONAL WIENER SCHNITZEL DAY.  ***MARLAR: There’s a difference?

o Today is NATIONAL TAKE GOOFY PHOTOS DAY.  ***MARLAR: Get together with friends and ham it up for the cameras.  Or hot dog it!

o Today is NATIONAL SWAP IDEAS DAY.

o Today is NATIONAL SCAPEGOAT DAY.  ***MARLAR: Someone to blame if swapping ideas backfires on you.

The corn-eating contest is back at the University of Iowa. School officials canceled last year’s all-you-can-eat contest, but were bombarded with complaints. This year, the corny contest is getting a makeover. Instead of seeing how many ears they can eat, students will compete to see who can eat an ear of corn the fastest.  ***MARLAR: If you win, do they make you a colonel (kernel)? 

In another story, the big ape is going home. Lowell Miller is getting his 8-foot-tall mechanical gorilla back. Someone swiped Miller’s “goriller” from in front of his Maine store in broad daylight over the Labor Day weekend. Now, it’s turned up in a corn field hundreds of miles away in Vermont. ***MARLAR: Maybe the gorilla was in the corn field practicing up for the University of Iowa corn ear eating contest.

Like father, like son — at Michigan State University. Freshman Mike Robell has moved into the same dorm room his dad had three decades ago. University officials say it’s just a coincidence father and son were assigned to the same room out of about 8,000 on the East Lansing campus. Rich Robell tells The Detroit News he suspected it was his old room. But the proof was found in a 1978 student directory.  ***MARLAR: And backed up by his dad’s roommate who hasn’t graduated and still living there.

A Gulf coast raccoon found itself in a tight spot. The critter got its head stuck in a peanut butter jar.  A Florida sheriff’s deputy (Pinellas County) responded to the raccoon in distress call and used a gentle approach. The deputy managed to ease the jar off the animal and set it free. The sheriff’s office reports no injury to either the deputy or the critter.  ***MARLAR: I have to admit I have a hard time scraping out the last little big from those jars too.

Web surfing can get you trouble with your honey. But soon divorces could be as quick as a mouse click.  At least in Brazil. The Brazilian Senate has approved a bill that would allow uncontested divorces to be filed and settled on the Internet. The Senate’s official news agency says the bill would speed divorce proceedings, allowing couples to split without lawyers or having to wait in line in court. The online divorce bill must still be approved by the Brazilian House and signed by the president.  ***MARLAR: They expect him to text or I.M. an answer by the end of the week. 

Thomas More, King Henry VIII’s Chancellor, is one of history’s most famous martyrs. The King ordered him beheaded because More would not violate his conscience in order to do his monarch’s bidding. Now here’s a little-known sidelight to that story: Henry knew that More loved to speak and ordered him not to be long-winded at the executioner’s block. But More had plenty to say at the last minute. And why not? He knew his head would be cut off anyway.

During the Cold War the Brits and Americans built what is thought to be the longest tunnel ever constructed for the purposes of spying. They began in West Berlin and dug 1,476 feet into East Berlin, intending to tap into underground cables used by the Communists to send messages. What the intelligence agencies of both countries have suppressed to this day is an embarrassing fact: when a small test hole was dug to the surface, what they saw was not the Berlin Wall but the Eiffel Tower.

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