The Odd Truth, Aug. 27, 2004

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

50,000 Cans Of Beer Stolen

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick - You just can't buy this kind of publicity.

The theft of 50,000 cans of Moosehead beer has put the New Brunswick brewery's brand name in headlines across the continent.

Hundreds of stories about the stolen trailer-load of beer have appeared in both the Canadian and American media.

The stolen beer had been headed for Mexico and the cans were labeled in both Spanish and English.

Claude Dionne, a marketing professor at the University of Moncton, says the media exposure sends out one message - if people are ready to steal it, then it must be good.

Moosehead official Joel Levesque says people are interested in it as a "dumb crook" story because the Spanish-labeled cans would be difficult to get rid of in Canada.

The beer was stolen last week from a tractor-trailer in Grand Falls, New Brunswick.

Wade Haines, the truck's 30-year-old driver, was arrested in Ontario earlier this week.

He'll be in a New Brunswick court on Monday facing theft charges.

Report: Revenge Really Is Sweet

WASHINGTON - Watch your back. Brain scans show revenge really is sweet.

Swiss researchers monitored brain activity during an elaborate game of double-cross. They found that planning revenge sparks enough satisfaction to motivate getting even. The amount of satisfaction predicts who will go to greater lengths to do so.

A Stanford University psychologist who reviewed the Swiss research said that, "Instead of cold, calculated reason, it is passion that may plant the seeds of revenge."

The study involved only men. The Stanford expert says more work is needed to see if women and people of varying social and income groups react in the same ways.

The research is reported in the journal Science.

Speaking Of Revenge ...

FREEHOLD, N.J. - Police say a Lakewood man stole his neighbor's dog, hid the animal in the woods and beat it with a shovel because its barking was getting on his nerves.

Jeffrey R. Babilya, 43, was arrested Tuesday and charged with animal cruelty and receiving stolen property. He was accused of keeping the dog - a springer spaniel named Bastian - in a wooded section of Howell.

The dog, which suffered head wounds and dehydration, had been reported missing Friday night.

Babilya admitted to police that he took the dog, tied it up and beat it on Tuesday because he wanted it to stop barking, Howell Patrolman Ryan Hurley told the Asbury Park Press in Thursday's newspapers.

Police said several witnesses saw the dog being beaten and confronted Babilya, who fled. He later was summoned to the police department by authorities.

When it was found, the dog was bleeding from its nose and head, had duct tape wrapped around its head and a steel cable tangled in its ears, authorities said.

The dog is expected to recover, said Pat Malone, general manager of Associated Humane Societies, where the animal was first taken.

Babilya was held in the Monmouth County Jail on $3,500 bail.

Revenge: We Just Can't Get Enough

SEATTLE - Talk show host Tom Leykis, who thrives on insults - when directed at listeners - has been beaten in Seattle by a man who apparently saw a chance for revenge.

Leykis was treated for a black eye and a cut above his eye that needed 17 stitches.

The Los Angeles-based Leykis sometimes broadcasts from Seattle. He says he was outside a cafe about 3:45 am Monday when a man took a picture of him, went back inside and returned with two other men.

One of the three said Leykis had questioned his virility during an on-air phone call. The man who took the picture then kicked Leykis in the head, knocking him to the ground. Leykis took a cab to his hotel, where police and medical aid were summoned.

No one has been arrested.

Presidential Vote For Auction On eBay

ELYRIA, Ohio - James Pengov thought selling his vote would help get him out of debt. Instead it landed him in trouble with the law.

It took authorities 12 hours to hear about and stop Pengov's eBay offer of a "Presidential Vote for Sale," with a starting bid of $50.

The 36-year-old said he was hoping to land enough money from selling his vote to pay medical bills.

"Up for auction is MY VOTE!," said Pengov's Aug. 19 posting on the online marketplace.

"Simply tell me who to vote for, after paying the auction, and it will be so. If you care, buy my vote and you will have twice the power in the upcoming election!!!!"

Pengov said he didn't know that selling a vote was illegal.

The fraud unit of the California secretary of state's office, which has been alerted to votes for sale on eBay in previous elections, came across the posting and notified Ohio authorities.

Pengov told buyers he generally votes Republican, but expressed dissatisfaction with both parties.

Hani Durzy, eBay spokesman, said the online auction service screens the 29 million listings for violations of its policies, but because 3.5 million are added daily, it relies on outside help to catch inappropriate listings.

Bridge Stolen

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - In what could qualify for Ripley's Believe It or Not, seven thieves stole an entire bridge near the southern Bosnian town of Mostar, police said Friday.

Over several days, the group dismantled the metal bridge built during the Austro-Hungarian empire 150 years ago, transported the parts to a local junk yard and sold them, a police statement said.

While it all happened in a remote mountainous region, local villagers saw the thieves loading parts of the bridge into vans and alerted police last Friday. The seven men were arrested and are being held pending a decision by a prosecutor.

Without disclosing their names, police said the Gypsies, or Roma, sold the metal parts for $170.

Man's Best Friend, Indeed

GAINESVILLE, Florida - A man jumped in a pond and stabbed a 6-foot alligator with a pocketknife to force the reptile to release his dog from its jaws.

Matthew Goff, 29, said he was walking Sugar, a tan-colored bloodhound, Shar-Pei mix, in a park when the attack occurred Wednesday evening. The unleashed dog wandered to the edge of the pond and the gator grabbed its head.

"I couldn't stand by and watch it happen and I had the pocketknife so I decided to try and save her," Goff said.

The gator released Sugar when Goff stabbed the reptile in the eye. The dog then ran home, escaping with three teeth marks on and about her head. Goff had a few scratches.

A state trapper planned to kill the gator if it's found.

Politico Hospitalized For Chronic Hiccuping

UNIONTOWN, Pennsylvania - Some politicians can't stop talking; one Pennsylvania lawmaker couldn't stop hiccuping. But the state legislator has now beaten the affliction after weeks in the hospital.

State Rep. Larry Roberts, a Democrat running for re-election, was back in his office Tuesday after being released from a hospital where he had been treated since July 19.

"Not only were the hiccups debilitating, but I was not allowed to have anything in my mouth, so I had to deal with a feeding tube, and that made matters worse," Roberts said in a statement Tuesday.

Neither Roberts' staff nor the House Democratic Communications Office described the cause of the chronic hiccups or the treatment that helped him get a handle on it.

Roberts handled paperwork from his hospital bed and canceled eight town meetings in his 51st district, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh.

The six-term state lawmaker is running for re-election against Republican Harry E. Albert III and independent candidates including Timothy S. Mahoney.

The race has been tainted by allegations that Roberts tried to recruit a spoiler candidate to siphon votes from Mahoney, who was challenging Roberts in the Democratic primary. Mahoney was removed from that ballot because of paperwork that was not in order.

Roberts has denied any impropriety. The state attorney general is probing the allegations of election fraud.