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The Odd Truth

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum.

Pizza Party Poopers

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - The long arm of the law may be ringing your doorbell and holding a pizza.

Police in Portsmouth hope to enlist pizza delivery people and hotel clerks to help cut into underage drinking and parents who allow it.

Under a new law, it's illegal for the owner or occupants of a home or hotel room to host a gathering of five or more minors who are drinking or using drugs. Teens as young as 17 who throw a party could be tried as adults.

Portsmouth Police Sergeant Mike Schwartz said the program is called the "Booze Bounty." He said food delivery people and hotel clerks would receive $50 if their anonymous tips of suspicious activity leads to the arrest of a party host.

"The message being sent to parents is that it's not safe for them to host a party," said Jackie Valley, of the Community Diversion Program in Greenland, which works to keep at-risk youths out of trouble with the law. "This doesn't change the fact that youths using alcohol is still illegal."

Senate Aide Cited For Cursing

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A top Senate aide was cited for disorderly conduct after a Capitol Police officer overheard him swearing during a hallway conversation.

The aide, J. Andrew Crompton, who works for Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer allegedly told Officer Byron Frehn to "leave me alone and do your job" after Frehn asked him to watch his language.

That's when Frehn issued the May 14 ticket, citing two curse words and his subsequent exchange with Crompton, Capitol Police Superintendent Richard Shaffer said Wednesday.

Shaffer quashed the citation after he reviewed a videotape of the incident.

"I have nobody that was offended by the cursing, and you have to have an offended party," Shaffer said.

Frehn, angered by what he saw as preferential treatment of an influential staffer, has asked for several independent reviews of Shaffer's action, sending letters to Gov. Ed Rendell, General Services Secretary Donald Cunningham and the Office of Inspector General, among others.

A spokesman for the Department of General Services, which oversees the Capitol Police, said Tuesday that Cunningham has reviewed the Crompton case and backs Shaffer's decision.

Crompton acknowledged he should not have cursed and offered an apology to Frehn shortly after his initial response.

"But I stand by the fact that him giving me that citation was absolutely ridiculous," Crompton said.

Politics, Between The Sheets

WASHINGTON - Call it Sex and the City - the Capital City. Things are looking up for fired Senate aide Jessica Cutler. She had posted a public Internet diary that featured explicit details of her sex life. Last week, the 24-year-old Cutler was canned by Ohio Republican Mike DeWine. Now, the Washington Post reports a New York literary agent has approached her about doing a book about sex on Capitol Hill. She's also gotten a call from Playboy. Cutler's on-line diary claimed she supplemented her paltry Senate salary by having sex for money. She said one of the "generous older gentlemen" was the chief of staff at a federal agency. A statement from Senator DeWine's office says Cutler was fired for "unacceptable use of Senate computers."

Singapore Launches 'Litterbug Attack' Campaign

SINGAPORE - Spotless Singapore's elite force of undercover cleanliness cops has nabbed and fined nearly 500 litterbugs in the first 10 days of a new island-wide swoop, environment officials said Thursday.

Dubbed "Litterbug Attack," the covert operation has found 478 offenders guilty of littering the city-state's famously clean streets, said Michelle Tan, a National Environment Agency spokeswoman.

Plainclothes officers from the agency caught most in the act of tossing cigarette butts on the ground, Tan said.

First-time offenders and those caught flinging small items such as candy wrappers or cigarette butts must pay $117 fines, while "recalcitrant" litterbugs and tossers of "large items" such as soft drink cans will be charged in court, Tan said.

Those formally charged may be fined up to $585 and forced to spend time cleaning litter on the street, she added.

In the past few months, Singapore's enthusiastic environment authorities have armed themselves with high-tech devices to wage self-described wars on public menaces such as mosquitoes and rats.

"As a society, we must always stress the importance of keeping our environment clean," said lawmaker Cynthia Phua, chairwoman of the "Singapore's OK, Our Town Sparkles" campaign.

"We must also equally continue to take action against recalcitrants who continue to disregard this message," Phua said.

The Southeast Asian island nation of 4 million people is known for its heavy fines against anyone who spits, urinates in elevators or doesn't flush public toilets. The government only recently began allowing the limited sale of chewing gum after outlawing it for a dozen years.

Bush Beats Kerry In 'Regular Guy' Poll

HAMDEN, Conn. - Voters would rather flip burgers and drink beer at a backyard barbecue with President Bush than Sen. John Kerry, according to a national poll that found Bush leading Kerry on "regular guy" qualities.

Half of the registered voters surveyed said they would rather have a barbecue with Bush, while 39 percent chose Kerry and 11 percent either didn't know or would not answer the question posed by Quinnipiac University pollsters.

More voters also would trust Bush, 46-41, to run the family business. But voters were evenly split on whether they would rather have Kerry or Bush teach their children.

Mickey Carroll, the director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, said these offbeat questions were asked to try to get a peek at the personal, regular-guy qualities of each candidate.

On the question of whom to vote for, though, voters were evenly split - 43 percent picked Bush, 42 percent chose Kerry, 6 percent chose Ralph Nader, and the rest said they did not know, would not answer, would choose someone else or would skip the election.

"On the likeability, regular-guy quotient, probably Bush comes out a little bit better, but with who are you going vote for, it's a standoff," Carroll said.

Carroll said the regular-guy quotient factors in to how voters make their choices, along with the candidates' stance on the issues and their experience and leadership qualities.

"Does a guy's personality matter? The answer is yes," Carroll said. "To what extent? We don't know. When you vote for a president, everything gets stirred into the mix."

The poll questioned 1,160 registered voters nationwide by telephone from May 18 to 24. The poll has a sample error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.