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Casual Friday features some of the strange, odd and just plain weird news stories of the week with a few chuckles tossed in to get the mind, body and soul in shape for the weekend.  Enjoy.

Oh, and see if you can spot the "not like the others" (NLTO) - the Onion-style fake news site piece.  It's getting tougher and tougher to tell the difference

Papal Seagull, harbinger of new pope, thrills internet

As all eyes were glued to the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel, waiting for the white smoke to signal the selection of a new pope on Wednesday, when what to their wondering eyes should appear?  A seagull.  

Perched on the chimney, the bird quickly became a social media sensation as the #PapalSeagull hashtag trended. Each appearance of the bird was documented with a wave of tweets. Some wondered if the bird was a spy of sorts, others contemplated booking it for a news show, many gasped as it defended its resting spot from another avian.

Before long, @PapalSeagull was tweeting its own somewhat crass thoughts on the pontification. (And so was @Sistine_Seagull and @PopeSeagull and ... )

Be sure to click the link and read the best of the best tweets following the article.
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Military Quietly Phasing Out Horse Meat MREs

Wornick Foods, the military's top food producer furtively put out a memo recalling all their Meals Ready To Eat (MREs) made entirely of horse meat.  The move undoubtedly is due to a series of tightening regulations by the Department of Defense.  

According to Wornick Foods, it will no longer produce the Hamburger Horse Meat MRE, unofficially referred to by troops in the field as “The Seabiscuit Special,” thanks to new Department of Defense guidelines that all MRE’s must reflect cultural norms.
snip
The DOD guidelines would also prevent Wornick Foods from bringing back the popular Dog Meat MRE, which was discontinued in the early 1990s when its South Korean manufacturer went bankrupt.

At press time, Wornick was still evaluating whether the policy also applies to its African Macaroni and Cheese, Polish Tacos, or Soylent Green MRE’s.

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[Note: Otteray Scribe posted this in yesterday's MOT: http://www.dailykos.com/... but despite saying I would remove it from my MOT I decided to keep it in after all.  It's just that good!]

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon's wild test drive prank goes viral

Jeff Gordon dons a disguise and along with a hidden camera in his glasses and his Pepsi MAX drink can, allows a car salesman to talk him into test driving a Camaro sportscar.  Hilarious...The video hit two million views in 24 hours.

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A Jack Russell Terrier dog from NY City who swallowed 111 pennies.  The dog named Jack had to have emergency surgery.
Manhattan dog Jack saved after eating $1.11 in pennies

Veterinary doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, performed a life saving 2 hour operation on a dog who had swallowed 111 pennies.

"Jack" a 13 year old Jack Russell terrier owned by Tim Kelleher had jumped up on his owner's desk to snatch a bagel. In the process the dog knocked change onto the floor and while he was eating bagel crumbs he also ate the change.

Owner Tim was unaware that the zinc in the coins would prove fatal for the penny pinching pooch's kidneys and liver.  When Jack became ill Tim rushed him to the vet where during the operation the coins were fished out five at a time.

“If Jack would not have had the pennies removed the consequences would have been fatal,” said Dr. Amy Zalcman, who helped treat the dog at the W. 55th St. office.

Kelleher said he let Zalcman keep the change once the pennies were removed. Jack showed absolutely no ill effects from his poorly advised meal.

“He’s doing great,” Kelleher said Tuesday. “He’s driving me crazy again.”

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Opposition To Soda Ban Sad Proof That Americans Still Fight For What They Believe In

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg placed a ban on the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces  in restaurants, movie theaters and other food-service establishments in order to combat the spread of obesity.

Not surprisingly, the ban created a fierce outcry and immediately began facing mounting opposition.  

“While many argue that people in this country lack the passion and general informedness to meaningfully participate in matters of public policy, the fierce outcry against the soda ban provides depressing evidence that this is not entirely true,” said New York University sociologist Dr. Marvin Schafer..."
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