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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. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

The Early Release Chronicles

ROANOKE, Virginia - A Virginia transsexual is being released from jail early so he won't miss his final surgery to become a woman.

Jay McCulley, who now goes by the name Michelona Sierra De'Lonta, will be released one month shy of completing a six-month sentence for forgery.

The inmate's lawyer says his client has a long-standing appointment at a Colorado hospital for the final surgery. If he misses the appointment, it could take more than a year to get another one.

Spud Duds Find A Good Home

IOWA CITY, Iowa - This spud's for you. In less than an hour, about 44,000 pounds of potatoes were given away over the weekend in Iowa City, Iowa.

Eleven volunteers passed out the taters at the annual Society of St. Andrew Potato Distribution. Organizer Art Kistler says the average person took home six 100-pound bags.

These spuds were duds as far as sales are concerned. The potatoes had blemishes or were too oddly shaped for supermarkets. The potato giveaway began in 1983 when two Methodist ministers realized growers were throwing away tons of food.

Get A Life Department

TORONTO - Give Pete Lovering a hand -- for being the world's best Rock, Paper, Scissors player.

The Web site operator has won the World Rock Paper Scissors Society's first open international championship. He was among more than 250 grownups who took part in the competition over the weekend.

While Rock, Paper, Scissors is usually a kids' game, not this time. He won more than the last slice of pizza. First prize was $1,200, a video game system and a gold medal.

Lovering says the secret to winning is maintaining a clear mind and judging each opponent individually.

Most Popular Stolen Signs

DEKALB, Illinois - Even if you're a John or Kimberly keep your hands off the street signs. Officials says signs for Kimberly and John Street are the most stolen in city.

While it might a nice souvenir, stealing a street sign could be a costly mistake. DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott says sign theft carries a potential $5,000 fine and county jail time. Local officials are also cautioning developers not to use common names on their new streets.

For Your Next Party....

ST. LOUIS - Smile, you're on robocam. Washington University computer science Prof. Bill Smart and his students have built Lewis, the robotic photographer.

Lewis looks a little like a computer-packed red garbage can on wheels. It's programmed to wander around parties, detect faces and take candid shots.

Smart says the robotic photographer was a way to get undergrads enthusiastic about the challenges of automation. But professional photographers don't have to be worried.

Smart says Lewis is an amateur at best. He adds that a couple would be awfully mad if the robocam was the only photographer at their wedding.