Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – September 24, 2010

China’s plans to vaccinate 100 million children and come a step closer to eradicating measles has set off a popular outcry that highlights widening public distrust of the authoritarian government after repeated health scandals.  Since the Health Ministry announced the World Health Organization-backed measles vaccination plan last week, authorities have been flooded with queries and Internet bulletin boards have been plastered with worried messages.  ***MARLAR: Plus, if the children are good during the vaccination they are given a free toy containing lead-based paint.

Police in New York say a woman had a sneezing fit that caused her to drive off a road, crash into several trees and plow through a fence.  Authorities say 62-year-old Mary Jane Amelio (uh-MEEL’-ee-oh), of Clinton, was driving Thursday morning in New Hartford, near Utica, when she began to sneeze.  New Hartford police say her car left the road, hit several small trees and crashed through a fence before coming to a stop.  Amelio was taken to a hospital, where she was listed in fair condition after suffering injuries to her head, neck, back and leg.  Police say she was ticketed for failure to keep right.  ***MARLAR: And for not covering her mouth when she sneezed.

A snake slithered into a switch box outside a New York hospital, where it met its maker and caused a 10-hour power outage.  Officials at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie say backup generators kicked on Tuesday afternoon when a common-variety snake got into the switch box and disrupted the hospital’s main power supply. Workers found the dead snake inside the box.  Hospital officials say there were no patient care disruptions caused by the outage, which lasted from 3 p.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday. Some emergency room cases had to be diverted to other hospitals.  While squirrels and other small animals have been known to get into electrical equipment and cause outages, a utility spokesman says it’s the first time he’s heard of a snake doing it.  ***MARLAR: Apparently the snake was no longer allowed on a plane, so it was looking for somewhere else to play.

Two men arrested in Oregon for shoplifting during a “Shop With a Cop” event for school children initially thought it was a bad time for stealing – with more than 60 uniformed officers on scene.  But Portland Sgt. Pete Simpson says the two gave it some more thought and decided police would be distracted so it would be a good time to steal.  They were wrong.  Store security officers at the Fred Meyer store weren’t caught off guard Wednesday. Simpson says security watched the two young men packing their own backpacks with blenders, shoes, clothes and tools while officers helped children pick out supplies for the school year.  The Oregonian says the two were then arrested.  ***MARLAR: And charged with stupidity and unmitigated gall.

A Tennessee man showed up to court with weather reports, documents, legal notations and his prized viola to prove his running of a red light was warranted. Marshall Fine says he was driving defensively to protect his viola and bow, which were recently appraised at 60-thousand dollars.  The judge didn’t buy it even though Fine obtained weather reports to show there was slight rain in the area at the time, making the roads dangerous to stop for the light. He said a sudden stop could possibly have damaged his viola. ***MARLAR: Like the sudden stop that occurs when someone t-bones your car because you ignored a red light.

The idea of male menopause has long been a joke, but no longer. Experts believe men in their fifties may also experience a “change” similar to women when they go through menopause, losing testosterone as opposed to estrogen.  The symptoms are very similar, including night sweats, hot flashes, and loss of bone strength.  ***MARLAR: That’s right, guys are putting the “MEN” back in “MENOPAUSE!”

Parents in Sweden wanted to name their daughter, “Metallica”, but they ran into trouble when they tried to actually register the name. The tax board refused them permission on the grounds that Metallica is the name of a heavy metal band and is too closely related to the word “metal”.  ***MARLAR: The baby’s mother, “Nirvana,” plans to appeal.

Some people fake a stomach flu and call in sick.  Some people say they ran out of gas or got a flat tire.  But 26-year-old Brandy Killin of Kearney, Nebraska decided to get out of going to work by calling her employer, First National of Omaha, and saying there was a bomb in the building.  It worked – she got the day off.  But now she faces a felony charge of threatening to use an explosive, which could get her five years in prison.  ***MARLAR: Meaning more days away from work!  Whoo hoo!

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