Lest you focus just on the more serious stories in the financial press, such as whether Alcoa (NYSE:AA) might get taken over or how the tomato scare will play out at grocers such as Kroger (NYSE:KR), here's a brief recap of some of the more unusual financial news out there.

  • Air-conditioning manufacturers such as United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) unit Carrier might want to look into making their ducts bigger. In Australia, a woman trying to escape from jail got stuck in an air-conditioning duct. In America, that woman might have sued and won big bucks from the manufacturer.
  • If you're on a board of directors, and you're concerned about the $50 million in compensation you're forking over to your CEO while your stock languishes, here's an idea: Fire him and hire a dead guy instead. In a Romanian village, citizens recently re-elected their mayor, even though he had just died. One candidate for replacement by the deceased might be Scott Edmonds, CEO of Chico's (NYSE:CHS), whose shareholders are angry about his $25 million in pay while shareholders have lost roughly $1.6 billion. Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) might be another, with its stock down more than 50% this year on top of a 68% drop in 2007.
  • When you go to Home Depot (NYSE:HD) or Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) looking for nails, what marketing angle is likely to draw your attention? A brand of nail that's stronger than competing ones? One that will hold a bit more firmly? How about one that "doesn't hurt"? A Kansas man recently had a 2-1/2 inch nail driven into his head with a nail gun, and he reported that it didn't really hurt.
  • Finally, here's an amazing story: "Economic Stimulus Check Burned for Warmth." It's not true, having come from theonion.com, but given our current economic environment, many people may be looking around for any kind of scraps to burn come winter. Here's one suggestion: your worthless stock certificates. If you're sitting on some, you can take a tax loss on them -- which will offset gains, and thereby lower your taxes. Learn how here and here -- but not here.