The Odd Truth, Jan. 6, 2005

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The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by CBSNews.com's Joey Arak.

Warning: Dumb Warnings

DETROIT - The sign on the toilet brush says it best: "Do not use for personal hygiene."

That admonition was the winner of an anti-lawsuit group's contest for the wackiest consumer warning label of the year.

The sponsor, Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, says the goal is "to reveal how lawsuits, and concern about lawsuits, have created a need for common sense warnings on products."

The $500 first prize went to Ed Gyetvai, of Oldcastle, Ontario, who submitted the toilet-brush label. A $250 second prize went to Matt Johnson, of Naperville, Ill., for a label on a children's scooter that said, "This product moves when used."

A $100 third prize went to Ann Marie Taylor, of Camden, S.C., who submitted a warning from a digital thermometer that said, "Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally."


Fear Factor Went Too Far?

CLEVELAND - Apparently nausea was a factor for a "Fear Factor" viewer who is suing NBC for $2.5 million, contending an episode in which contestants eat rats made him vomit.

Austin Aitken said he watches "Fear Factor" often and had no problem with past episodes in which the reality show's contestants ate things like worms and insects in pursuit of a $50,000 prize.

But the Cleveland man said showing people eating rats mixed in a blender was degrading to the contestants and the viewers.

"These networks are going too far. Period," Aitken said Thursday. "They need to check themselves, clean up their own acts. It's barbaric, some of the things they ask these individuals to do."

Aitken's handwritten lawsuit contends the rat-eating made his blood pressure rise, making him dizzy and lightheaded.

"I didn't see the doorway on route to my room," his lawsuit reads. "I ran into it causing suffering, injury and great pain."

NBC responded with a brief statement: "We believe that the claim is completely without merit."


Nailed, Twice

ST. GEORGE, Utah - A man who managed to drive himself to the emergency room after being shot in the calf with a nail gun got more bad news after having his wound treated.

He was ticketed for not stopping when ordered.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Lang started chasing the man's vehicle Tuesday after it was spotted driving recklessly on Interstate 15 and tailed the man to the hospital.

At one point, Lang said he told the driver over a loudspeaker to pull over and said the man got out of his car at a stoplight. When Lang told him to get back in his car and pull over, the man took off again toward the hospital.

The driver was reacting to the emotion of an emergency, but an ambulance wasn't called and drivers don't have a right to drive like an emergency vehicle, Lang said.

Drivers must pull over when ordered by an officer, and Lang said it would have only taken a minute or two to explain the situation.


Cop Causes Crash

TAMPA, Fla. - The motorist blamed for causing a four-car wreck on an interstate entrance ramp was no mere run-of-the-mill driver: He was the police chief.

"I feel terrible," said Chief Stephen Hogue. "It was completely my fault."

Hogue was on his way to work Wednesday and looked over his shoulder while trying to merge onto an interstate in his city-issued, 1999 Ford Crown Victoria. While he was looking, the traffic ahead of him stopped.

Hogue rear-ended a 2003 Volkswagen, which rolled into a 2000 Acura, which struck a 2003 Ford, police said.

"I'm just grateful no one was hurt," said Hogue.

Officer Paul Hoffman, a 20-year veteran, gave Hogue a $120 traffic citation for following too closely. "We just want to do what we're supposed to do," Hoffman said with discomfort.

Hogue's car sustained about $4,000 worth of damage to the front end. Besides the fine, he faces four points on his driver's license unless he attends traffic school.


Kangaroo Cheesehead?

DODGEVILLE, Wis. - The hunt is over for a kangaroo that's been wandering around in Wisconsin. But it's still a mystery where the animal came from.

The Iowa County sheriff's department corralled the brownish-red, 150-pound kangaroo in a barn not too far from where it was spotted earlier this week.

Several people had spotted the kangaroo Monday night near Dodgeville. Someone saw it again yesterday and called deputies.

It'll be taken to a zoo in Madison.

The zoo's director says kangaroos are used to Australian temperatures, which rarely drop below the 30s, so it wouldn't have been able to survive long in Wisconsin's winter weather.
  • Brian Bernbaum

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