Lest you be focusing just on the more serious stories in the financial press, such as strong recent financial results from Wild Oats Markets (NASDAQ:OATS) or Sony's (NYSE:SNE) foray into digital books via its Reader product, here's a brief recap of some of the latest weird financial news:

  • Oh, dear! Would you believe that some companies are now phasing out retirement? According to an Onion.com report, "Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) CEO and president Mark Hurd said, 'Even though our workers will no longer be able to collect a pension, they will receive checks as long as they are able to be wheeled into work and punch the clock.' It also cited General Electric (NYSE:GE), "which in the 1970s began requiring departing employees to give 45 years' notice." Are you sweating now? Well, relax. I've found that The Onion's news stories, amusing though they often are, frequently turn out to be ... not so accurate. Still, if you want to line up a comfortable retirement for yourself, that's a good idea. We'll even help you, if you'll try (for free) our Rule Your Retirement newsletter service.

  • Of course, not everyone needs to plan for retirement. Take Nicholas Meyrovich, for example. He'd been in trouble with the law many times, for sex offenses, and thanks to a strict three-strikes law in Oregon, a forced kiss sent him back to the pokey, for life. Former exterminator Meyrovich can now look forward to a lifetime of provided meals and shelter. Any money he socked away in an IRA may not seem so useful now.

  • American carmakers General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) are not experiencing the best days of their lives right now. If they're looking for new ways to differentiate their vehicles from others, they might consider adding some child-friendly features. In Illinois, for example, an almost-2-year-old boy drove his mom's minivan through two fences and a carwash before he brought it to rest against a house. If the minivan's brakes had been easier for him to reach, less damage might have been done. Some entrepreneurs might even want to consider driving classes for toddlers.

  • It's not easy being a teenager, when kids can be so mean. Especially if you have prosthetic legs. In California, an athletic 16-year-old has had her legs stolen on several occasions. The legs cost $12,000 to $16,000 each, so this is a big deal. Prosthetic makers such as Hanger Orthopedic Group (NYSE:HGR) might want to offer theft-resistant products -- perhaps installing Lo-Jack-like devices in them, for a fee.

If you think these stories are just plain odd and you crave some serious stock investment ideas, check out our suite of stock and mutual fund newsletters, which deliver promising recommendations each month. Or just curl up with an informative and amusing Fool book.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.