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The Odd Truth, Aug. 19, 2002

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.

Case Of The Copulating Couple

A New York Catholic group is infuriated over the antics of some radio dee-jays and by a couple allegedly having sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Police say they arrested a Virginia couple after they had sex in a vestibule just feet from worshipers praying in the landmark midtown Manhattan church. The encounter was described live on the air Thursday during the "Opie and Anthony" show on WNEW FM. Police also arrested the man who provided the play-by-play.

WNEW issued an apology -- although the two dee-jays were back on the air less than 24 hours after the arrests. The encounter was part of a regular feature on the show where couples can win prizes for having sex in risky places.

But the director of communications for The Catholic League, Lou Giovino, says the group found the station's apology lacking. Says Giovino: "I want to know who's not offended by this. I know atheists who were offended by this."

The Catholic League is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to revoke the license of the station and heavily fine its owner.

As for the couple: Brian Florence, of Quantico, and Loretta Lynn Harper of Alexandria were arrested on charges of public lewdness. (AP)

They Needed a Study for This?

LONDON - Want to be more attractive? Make sure those around you are having a drink.

British scientists have found even modest amounts of alcohol will make the opposite sex appear better-looking.

"We have carried out experiments which show that what is known in the trade as the 'beer-goggle effect' does actually exist," said Barry Jones, a professor of psychology at Glasgow University.

The study of 120 male and female students found drinking up to four units of alcohol -- about two pints of beer or four glasses of wine -- increased the perceived attractiveness of members of the opposite sex by about 25 percent.

Jones said alcohol apparently stimulates a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, which judges facial attractiveness.

"There is a strong link between facial attractiveness and signals about the quality of a potential mate," Jones said. (Reuters)

Yes, They Lost A Hippopotamus

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - A hippopotamus lost for days during record flooding in Prague has turned up unharmed but bad-tempered after his ordeal, city zoo officials say.

Slavek, an 18-year-old male hippo, was carried up out of his enclosure by the flood waters and staff eventually found him on the second floor of a pavilion used to house elephants, a zoo spokeswoman said.

While elated at the discovery, staff said they had to be careful when approaching the animal.

"Understandably, he's quite hungry, and therefore quite angry. He was in attack mode," zoo head Petr Fejk said. Zoo officials have been sharply criticized for their handling of the floods, which killed dozens of animals, and many asked how creatures weighing more than a ton could disappear.

The zoo lies on the banks of the River Vltava in the north end of Prague. Wednesday, river levels reached some of their highest in Prague's 800-year history.

With water levels receding, zookeepers put out a trail of food to lure the hippo back down to ground level.

"He's eating, so I think he will be just fine," Fejk said. (Reuters)

Lost And Found Department

CALGARY, Alberta - A Canadian man paid less than a dollar for a used suitcase at an auction house only to find when he got home that it was crammed with nearly 11 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $180,000, police say.

Now, investigators in Calgary -- calling the seizure of the crack and powder-form cocaine one of the western city's biggest ever -- are trying to find out where the baggage came from, and who is missing the drugs.

"It would be nice if they phoned and said, 'Hey that's really mine.' But that's not likely to happen," Staff Sgt. Roger Chaffin of the Calgary Police drug unit said.

Police were not identifying the man who bought the suitcase, or the auction house, while they tried to track the bag back to its original owner. (Reuters)

Pit Bulls Banished

DALLAS - A dog causing problems on an American Airlines flight has led the company to ban aggressive dogs from its planes.

On a July 22 flight from San Diego to New York, a pit bull escaped from its cage in the cargo hold and chewed through some electrical cables. The damage knocked out a backup radio and some navigation gear. But airline officials stress it didn't put the flight in danger.

The airline says safety concerns have led to a ban on pit bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers from its flights.

The American Kennel Club says the airline is overreacting and should focus on ensuring that travel containers are secure rather than banning breeds as a whole. (AP)

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