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Weird Financial News: A Papal Typo, Money-Eating Dogs, and More

Golden retriever (Canis lupus familiaris) dog lying on lawn in garden
Lest you think too hard about how much you should contribute to your 401(k) or on how well Janet Yellen will serve our economy as the new chief of the Federal Reserve, here's a brief recap of some of the more unusual financial news out there:
  • Folks at the Vatican stumbled onto a way to make their commemorative medals more valuable. After more than 6,000 gold, silver, and bronze commemorative papal medals were produced, a typo was discovered -- and not a minor one. The name of Jesus was misspelled, ending up as "Lesus." They were recalled after only a few had been sold. You can bet those will now fetch prices above their initial one.
  • Coca-Cola (KO) might want to start marketing its Sprite drink to a new segment of consumers -- those with hangovers. According to recent research from China, it may be one of the best drinks for relieving hangover symptoms, speeding up the process of breaking down the alcohol in your system. Interestingly, an herbal tea made from hemp seeds is believed to slow down the process, thus prolonging a hangover.
  • For an example of how even seemingly bad PR can be a good thing, consider the big "Breaking Bad" finale of a few weeks ago, in which stevia-based sweetener played a surprising part. Companies in the sweetener business took to Twitter to promote their offerings, and awareness of stevia grew as fans discussed its role in the episode.
  • Facebook (FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg has been troubled by real estate operators planning to sell properties near his home to admirers who just want to be close to him. His simple solution: He's spending about $30 million buying up several homes around him, which he will lease back to their residents. See? Simple.
  • Dogs eat more than just homework. In Montana, a golden retriever chewed through five $100 bills, alarming his owner, Wayne Klinkel. The good news is that Klinkel was able to get a $500 check from the Department of the Treasury to replace his loss. The bad news is that in order to get the check, he had to collect and sift through the dog's bodily refuse, then piece together enough fragments to reconstitute much of the bills.
  • What do dead horses and the Civil War have to do with your tax return? Well, the IRS is angling to regulate tax preparers, and it's meeting with objections. It's not going after CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and attorneys, as they already have professional standards to meet. It's instead suggesting that independent tax preparers register with the IRS, pass a competency exam, pay a licensing fee, and earn continuing education credits over time. Opponents are taking issue with the IRS' citing of the "Enabling Act of 1884," which aimed to address people overvaluing dead horses and lost property following the Civil War. The Act authorized the IRS to regulate claims agents.
  • What's for dinner? You might be surprised. Those in the food service industry in Montana, Idaho, and beyond should be aware of new competition: roadkill. Montana has a new law in the works to permit the salvaging of roadkill for meat. Such a law debuted in Idaho last year, and also allows the selling of certain roadkill, with a valid permit. Similar laws are in effect in other states, too, with new ones in the works.
It's easy to laugh at silly stories in the news, but there can be value in some of them. Remember that companies that think outside the box can create new products and industries, however silly they might initially seem.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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