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The Odd Truth, April 4, 2005

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

Fortune Cookie Brings Fortune

A fortune cookie apparently came through big time for over 100 people in the Powerball Lottery.

A record 110 people won $100,000 or $500,000 in Wednesday's drawing when they matched five of the six winning numbers. Normally, there would be only about four such winners.

Several people said they got their numbers from a fortune cookie message. A total of 21 will get a half-million dollars each because they paid extra for the Power Play multiplier.

The odds of winning $100,000 in the Powerball Lottery are almost 3 million to 1.

There was a grand prize winner who matched all six numbers. That person will get over $25 million.

Matthew Sells The Middle

UINTAH HIGHLANDS, Utah - Matthew Jean Rouse doesn't like his middle name and he's letting you pick a new one.

The 31-year-old father of two is selling the naming right on eBay. The "Buy It Now" price is $8,000. As of early Monday, there had been a total of 30 bids, with the high bid $2,175.

The winning bidder gets to choose a new middle name for Rouse, a software engineer.

Rouse also agrees to use his middle name "whenever plausible and not hide it."

"If he wants to walk around with 'Fool' as his middle name, that's his problem," said Rouse's wife, Corinna Rouse. "If someone changes his name to 'Poophead,' he may decide it's a little more important than he thought."

Rouse's middle name was taken from his late grandfather, Jean Stelter, with whom he didn't get along.

His older brother, Bill Rouse, 46, of Mesa, Ariz., bid $1,500 for the name. "Basically, he's trying to dump our grandfather's name, and I'm trying to buy it and make it stay as it is," Bill Rouse said.

Cop, 9, Retires

BOISE, Idaho - A well-known deputy who has served with the Canyon County Sheriff's office for the past seven years has retired. He is, quite literally, a real hound.

K9 deputy Basco, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, is best known for his capture of serial murder suspect Michael "Cowboy Mike" Braae in July 2001 after a high-speed chase ended at the Idaho-Oregon line. Braae abandoned his pickup and jumped into the Snake River.

Basco and his handler, Cpl. Paul Maund, hopped a boat to follow Braae. Maund attached a towline to the dog and pushed him in the water to chase after the suspect. Basco bit onto Braae's back, and Maund was able to pull the two to shore.

Malheur County Sheriff Andy Bentz said Braae's capture would have been more dangerous without Basco. "Had it not been for him and the handler being there and being able to get on the boat, we would have had to use a lot higher level of force," Bentz said.

Maund said he got a lukewarm reception after leaving Basco home a few days this month.

"When I got home, he was lying under a tree. I called to him. He looked at me and turned his head away," Maund said. "It's going to be a big transition for him."

Mysterious Getaway

DESTIN, Fla. - He was handcuffed in the back seat, with his seat belt fastened, but somehow, a shoplifting suspect managed to steal a sheriff's deputy's SUV and lead police on a high-speed chase.

It happened yesterday in Destin, Florida, after 33-year-old Scott Graves was arrested for allegedly shoplifting. Deputies say he was able to remove the Plexiglas barrier between the front and back seats of the deputy's Ford Expedition and take off.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office says he led deputies on a high-speed chase before he abandoned the vehicle. They say he then struck and robbed a person in a Taco Bell parking lot and tried to steal a car in a nearby lot. Eventually, a man subdued him until deputies arrived to arrest him.

Peanuts: So Hot Right Now

ALBANY, Ga. - Once again, people are going nutty over -- peanuts. After a period of decline during the fat-conscious '90s, peanuts are back in vogue.

There's a good reason for the resurgence of the peanut -- doctors. More and more of them are recommending peanuts as part of a heart-healthy diet.

In fact, the federal government's latest dietary guidelines say peanuts -- which contain unsaturated fats -- can be eaten in moderation.

Peanuts also contain respectable amounts of vitamin E, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, and minerals. They also are a good source of fiber and protein.

As a result, some 1.7 billion pounds of peanuts were eaten last year, up from 1.5 billion the year before.

Seeing Red Over Red Ink

WASHINGTON - Of all the things that can make a person see red, schools are finding parents getting huffy about -- well -- seeing red on students papers and exams. One principal says parents have complained that marking mistakes and writing corrections in red is stressful." Some schools have now put red on the blacklist for marking students' work, opting for more "pleasant feeling tones." Top pen and marker manufacturers are making more purple pens in response to rising sales. The companies say principals and teachers are largely driving that demand.

SpongeBob Robber Caught?

MINNEAPOLIS - Is he the "SpongeBob Squarepants" bank robber? An ex-con is in custody on suspicion of a string of armed bank robberies in the Twin Cities area. Police think it's possible they have arrested the hold-up man whose trademark was using a bag depicting the superstar cartoon character in some of the robberies. There are no allegations that SpongeBob himself is involved in any way in the capers.

Bet Their Computer Clocks Don't Automatically Update

MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio - Not so fast! Some members of northeast Ohio's Amish community are among the remaining holdouts to daylight-saving time, refusing to move their clocks forward an hour when standard time ended. The change to daylight-saving time left the Amish in northeast Ohio on two times. Those who spring ahead an hour -- along with most of the rest of the nation -- are said to be on "fast time." Those who don't change live on what's called "slow time." One Amish bishop says "We've always lived on this time, and there's no reason to change." But a farmer who made the switch, and didn't want his name used, says "There's good and bad with it" ... "But it does make life easier in some ways." He says there's "a lot less figuring" when you make the change.

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