Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

Swallowed poison pill in courtroom…, PBS has auto-tuned Mr. Rogers….,  face-eating “zombies”…, slingshot to fire marbles…, Hand sanitizer…, Insulting Elmo…, Jazz junctions…, Tour de France winner Gino Bartali …, clothing goes…,  urinal cakes help fight drunk driving…

1. Ex-Wall Street banker, (may have) swallowed poison pill in courtroom after conviction for arson.

A former Wall Street trader convicted of setting his Phoenix mansion on fire in a desperate ploy to get out of his mortgage put his hands to his mouth — seemingly in shock — and collapsed after the verdict was read Thursday. He later died, but authorities are wondering if the hand gesture was actually a final, preplanned act to poison himself, according to reports.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

2. PBS has auto-tuned Mr. Rogers. …and it’s kind of awesome.

3. China gets its own face-eating “zombies”

Police in Wenzhou detained an inebriated bus driver yesterday after he blocked the car of a female driver and began gnawing on her face. No kidding.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

4. [AP] Man uses slingshot to fire marbles at speed camera

ELLICOTT CITY, MD. Police in Maryland say a man has been charged with assault for using a slingshot to fire glass marbles at a speed camera van. Authorities say Bruce Lawrence May of Ellicott City was arrested Tuesday. The 50-year-old Lawrence was also charged with destruction of property and reckless endangerment. He was released on $3,000 bond.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

 5. Hand sanitizer meant to kill germs recalled due to bacterial contamination

A hand sanitizer meant to protect people from germs is being recalled because of bacterial contamination, Health Canada said Thursday. Kimberly-Clark is recalling its Kleenex-brand Luxury Foam Hand Sanitizer after company testing detected bacteria that may pose serious health risks to people with weakened immune systems, especially those with the lung disorder cystic fibrosis.Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

6. Insulting Elmo removed from NYC’s Central Park Zoo

A man impersonating the “Sesame Street” character Elmo, who for years has hassled tourists for money in New York City’s Central Park Zoo, was taken away in an ambulance on Sunday after security guards were called, the Daily News reported. The man, said to be emotionally disturbed, reportedly yelled racial insults and other obscenities when he was kicked out of the park.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

7. Jazz junctions – riding New York’s A Train

From Harlem and upper Manhattan to Brooklyn, Queens and the Atlantic Ocean – New York city’s A Line subway route covers over 30 miles, takes two hours to ride from end to end, and is the inspiration for one of jazz’s best known tunes. Here – with archive images and vibrant present-day photographs from Melanie Burford – New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik takes a ride on one of today’s A trains, and explores the communities living along the route.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

 8. Tour de France winner Gino Bartali used his fame to save Jews in Fascist Italy

In the worst years of the Second World War, it was not uncommon to see the great Gino Bartali cycling the roads between Florence and Assisi on a training run. The Italian was one of the most recognized sports figures in the country and throughout Europe. He won the Tour de France in 1938 and became a sporting hero to millions in Europe and North America.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

9. Where used clothing goes

It was early morning at the Quincy Street Salvation Army, an easy-to-miss location tucked away on a Brooklyn side street. The only donations that had come in so far were books, an entire truck full from one single apartment. Charitable clothing donations usually roll in with fits and starts, with the changing of the seasons and at the end of the year, when people are looking for tax write-offs. It was on a weekday morning in the middle of the fall, the off-hours for clothing donations. But I didn’t have to witness someone pulling up their car and shoveling bags full of clothes from the trunk. I’d been that person innumerable times, lugging overloaded trash bags, pierced by the heels of cheap pumps, sleeves and pant legs hanging out, to a local charity. I had never known what happens after I drive away and leave my old clothing orphaned on the Salvation Army’s doorstep.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

10. Can talking urinal cakes help fight drunk driving in Michigan?

Talk about your captive audiences! In an effort to cut down on drunken driving, the state is distributing the totally awesome named Interactive Urinal Communicators to some bars, restaurants and other drinkaterias in Wayne, Bay, Ottawa and Delta counties. Yup, talking urinal cakes. Four hundred of the cakes will be distributed to 200 eateries prior to July Fourth, said Anne Readette, spokeswoman for the Office of Highway Safety Planning, a division of the Michigan State Police.

Top 10 Offbeat Stories of the Day – June 30th, 2012

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