Lest you be focusing on just the more serious stories in the financial press, such as IBM's (NYSE:IBM) purchase of FileNet (NASDAQ:FILE), or how Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) selection of WiMAX for its new wireless Internet network system is very good news for Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), here's a brief recap of some weird financial news.

  • This first item is perhaps more shocking than weird: According to a survey by Salary.com and America Online, the average U.S. worker wastes 1.86 hours per eight-hour workday -- and we're not talking about lunch breaks. This is actually down 11% from last year. What does it mean? Well, it might bode well for our American economy if workers are putting their noses to the grindstone more. But it might bode poorly for companies that profit from employees goofing off, such as eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) America Online.
  • Travel-related companies, such as frequently beleaguered airlines, might want to look into offering traveling accommodations for a new class of customer: garden gnomes. A garden gnome named Edgar mysteriously disappeared from its perch in Fulton, Mo., in May, only to return this month, accompanied by a packet of 56 photos of Edgar in Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere. His voyage evokes an advertising campaign by Travelocity [parent company: Sabre (NYSE:TSG)] and demonstrates how motivating some ads can be.
  • American corporations, beware of the lottery! Sure, it's destructive to individuals and their families when thousands of dollars are pinned to exponentially dismal odds. But it's dangerous to business, too. Consider the Sargento cheese company of Wisconsin. Recently, some 100 of its employees won a $209 million Powerball jackpot. Any or all of them might walk away from their jobs now, at any moment. This kind of occurrence could wipe out some small businesses.
  • Job training is a critical component of business success. According to the Weekly World News, a 19-year-old soda jerk misunderstood his job title -- he threatened to put an ice cream store out of business by insulting and ignoring customers and serving them lousy milkshakes. After the owner intervened, the teen explained, "It was a misunderstanding. I thought soda jerk meant that I was supposed to be rude to the customers. I figured it was all a show to entertain them."

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Time Warner and eBay.