Want some fries–and inner peace–with that?

One McDonald’s in California is aiming to give diners a truly Happy Meal by redecorating the restaurant using feng shui, an Asian art of promoting good feelings and prosperity by shopping at Pier One.

The babble of Grimace has been replaced by a babbling water feature, and Ronald’s circus-spinning red and yellow decor is now calming earth tones, all designed to foster happiness and fortune for their customers. While there’s no official word on how many more bathroom breaks are needed due to the tinkling water-and-glass fountain, some customers do admit to visiting McD’s more often to enjoy some inner peace with their apple pie. For those who scoff at the power of the feng shui redo, think about this: the new theme is indeed bringing happiness and good fortune–to the McDonald’s owners.

Customized themes are nothing new for the chain; in the hometown of WeirdIt’s ninja monkeys, our Golden Arches are set apart by a large, pink Victorian home theme. Just an hour down the road, another McD’s is topped off by an actual airplane on the roof.

But whatever the design, be it plastic molded furniture or expensive leather seats, the actual needs of the average McDonald’s customer are few: hot fries, cheap food, and for the lucky ones, Wi-fi. Now that’s happiness and fortune.

FISH…..IN……SPACE!

Today, six dozen fish discovered they had the right stuff when German scientists launched them into space. During the brief ten-minute flight, the scientists watched to see if any astro-swimmers turned green around the gills as they swam in tiny aquariums aboard the rocket. The space race was part of a project about motion sickness, since fish and humans have similar biology in the projectile hurling department. Those chosen to give one small swish for finkind were cichlids, described as ‘sporty’ and ‘muscular.’ The cichlids were picked over goldfish, who were tagged as ‘fat and messy.’ Even with fish, space is all about the jocks. Bet there were a few nerdy goldfish with headsets in the control room, though.

A spokesman said that the fish landed safely, although one would expect they’re used to splashdowns.

Forget Blockbuster; DVD is Bulletbuster for fireman

The latest in body armor may be shiny, round and completely entertaining. A South Carolina firefighter was spared recently when a stray bullet ripped through his jacket and was stopped by a DVD in his pocket. The wayward ammo sped toward the man as he exited a Waffle House restaurant when two men ran in, fighting over a gun, apparently determined to make hot lead available as a breakfast side dish.

Although the fireman was uninjured, the brave little DVD was nicked in the skirmish, which also destroyed its plastic case. In a perfectly sarcastic world, the DVD would have been a copy of Bruce Willis in Die Hard; in reality, it contained a recording of a show about fire extinguishers, which now can save lives on several different levels.

All this leaves at least two questions:

1. Just how dangerous are the Waffle Houses in South Carolina?

2. If you make armor out of DVDs, how do you plug the center hole?

Dancing with the Devil Toad

Scientists dug up a new dinosaur recently in Madagascar, an armored, toothy predator that surely sent smaller creatures running away millions of years ago. A new type of velociraptor, perhaps, or T-Rex? No, they found a T-Ribbit: a massive, ten-pound, 16 inch long, bad-tempered frog. The dusty, eons-old remains were still intimidating enough that the scientists named it the ‘Devil Toad,’ and believe it is related to some far-flung amphibians in South America, namely the big-mouthed ‘Pacman’ frogs. While today’s hoppers no longer have menacing teeth, protective bone armor, or a glandular problem that makes them as big as bowling balls, they do have the same yawning yappers.

In an age when even the bugs were scary, Devil Toad is believed to have gone after many types of prey, including hatchling dinosaurs. In high-school terms, this was one bully who would give you a wedgie, stuff you into a trash can, then cram the whole thing into your locker on the last day before spring break. Eeee-villlll.

While this was one toad you definitely wouldn’t want to lick, I’m sure a few folks have tried to imagine how many dino frog legs would fit in the average frying pan, but they haven’t considered how many fingers you’d lose in the process while dancing with the Devil Toad.

Forget fleas: have some monkey-picked tea

From the weird products department:

For those who want tea with a tail, out of China comes Monkey-Picked Tea. Apparently, having monkeys pick your tea was all the rage just a few centuries ago. Now, the monkeys have better employment opportunities, like Hollywood and showing up college students. But in one remote Chinese village, trained monkeys still pick wild tea leaves for a unique blend that hopefully has nothing else included in it, a thought that is emphasized after one visit to your local zoo’s monkey house. (Don’t have a monkey house close by? Find the nearest gathering of politicians.)

The label states that the monkeys are not mistreated or harmed in any way to gather the delicate tea leaves, and are in fact honored members of the village families. Perhaps after the WGA solves its strike, a few representatives might think about flying over to China and getting the monkeys interested in a union. No, wait, the executives are probably already there, with a shipment of typewriters, hoping to get the next television season sewn up.

This loose tea has been proclaimed delicious by ThinkGeek, who sells Monkey-Picked Tea on their wonderful, gadget-packed website. While $25 is a bit steep for the Weird Its ninja monkeys just for a caffeine buzz, it’s the perfect smart-ass Valentine’s gift for the tea snob close to your heart.

Woman buckles up beer over baby

Calling Mommie Dearest: When a cop pulled over a Florida woman for running a red light, he noticed two things: a 24-pack of beer was securely strapped into the passenger’s seat, and a 16-month-old free-range toddler was in the back seat, unsecured.

When the officer asked why the baby was without a car seat, while the beer was protected from oncoming impact, the soused driver gave no explanation.

“I don’t know,” she told the officer.

The tiny tot was with her 20-year-old mother in the back seat, although news accounts don’t specify if the driver was related to the mother and young daughter. The drunken beer-belter was arrested, and charged with child abuse and DUI among other charges. A $31,000 bail was set, but there’s no evidence that the protected 24-pack offered to put up the lira to loose its loving master, or even visited her in jail.