The Odd Truth, Aug. 5, 2004

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

'Toe Lickin' Good!'

BATESVILLE, Ark. - A North Carolina family was not amused when what appeared to be a battered and fried baby foot turned up in a package of chicken pieces.

The package of Banquet brand chicken pieces, which are produced only at ConAgra's Batesville plant, was purchased at a Lowes Foods supermarket in Durham, N.C., said Tania Graves, ConAgra spokeswoman.

But the foot wasn't real - it was actually made of dough that had been sculpted to include toes and toenails, then breaded and fried.

"It was very realistic-looking," Graves said.

Police sent the foot-shaped object to the state medical examiner's office, which determined that it was dough, not human tissue.

Durham police said in a news release that the object had been intentionally shaped to resemble a foot. The investigation was turned over to the Durham County Health Department and United States Department of Agriculture, and the faux foot was given to ConAgra.

"The minute we had learned about it, we knew the product came from the Batesville plant because that's where it was produced, but we did not know (the foot was a hoax) until findings came through," Graves said.

She said the company had taken action to assure nothing like this would happen again, including discharge of some employees.

Wanted: Court Jester

LONDON - English Heritage, guardian of various historic sites in Britain, is advertising for someone to be the nation's first court jester since 1649.

An ad appearing in Thursday's editions of The Times laid out the qualifications: "Must be mirthful and prepared to work summer weekends in 2005. Must have own outfit (with bells). Bladder on stick provided if required."

Auditions will be held Saturday at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, and the winner will have to negotiate a salary, English Heritage said.

The court jester's position died along with King Charles I, who was executed by Oliver Cromwell's supporters in 1649. The monarchy was restored 11 years later, but the position of jester did not return.

"It is about time we had a jester again," said Tracy Borman, the agency's director of education, events and outreach,

"It is one of those roles that fell by the wayside when Cromwell made Britain a republic, but there is no reason not to bring it back now."

Tigger Exonerated In Teen Breast-Fondling Charge

ORLANDO, Fla. - Tigger is a free tiger.

A Florida jury took less than an hour yesterday to acquit a Walt Disney World worker of fondling a 13-year-old girl while wearing his Tigger costume. At the time, he was posing for a photo with the girl and her mother.

Michael Chartrand had faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Earlier this week, he rejected a plea offer that would have given him probation.

During closing arguments, a defense attorney put on a Tigger costume to show jurors how it limits arm movements and vision. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman felt comfortable, though - he moonlights as Tigger and Goofy at Walt Disney World.

Chartrand says he'd like his job back, but that the experience has ruined his dream to be a character.

Armed Robbery Makes Man Hungry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Claude Meadows was hungry after he allegedly robbed a man at knifepoint of his money and car Tuesday evening.

Fortunately for Metro Nashville police, Meadows decided to attend a Night Out Against Crime event three hours later and stand in a food line. Officer Martin Burns saw that he closely fit the description of the man who had stolen Harold Whitton's car, and after questioning, arrested Meadows.

Meadows, 34, is charged with aggravated robbery. His is being held in lieu of $30,000 bond.

"Officer Burns' observations at what was essentially a social event were truly outstanding," chief Ronal Serpas said Wednesday. "It is amazing that Meadows showed up at an anti-crime event."

Whitton reported to Burns that he was robbed at knifepoint by a suspect who took his 2001 Pontiac Grand Am and drove away. Whitton gave Burns a good description of the robber.

When Burns saw Meadows in the food line, he approached him and recovered a leatherman's tool containing a knife and Whitton's car keys. The car was located and returned to Whitton.

Another Day, Another Bushism

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush offered up a new entry for his catalog of "Bushisms" on Thursday, declaring that his administration will "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people."

Bush misspoke as he delivered a speech at the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense spending bill.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

No one in Bush's audience of military brass or Pentagon chiefs reacted.

Porno Thief Filled Out Job Application

DECATUR, Ala. - The clerk at an adult toy store calls it a classic case of dumb-crook news. Jamie Hudgins says a women left Pleasures with a sex toy in her purse. But the alleged shoplifter left behind a pretty good clue - she had just filled out a job application. Officials of the Decatur, Alabama, sex shop say they plan to file an arrest warrant for the young women. While the suspect's mother offered to pay for the item in question, Hudgins says the people at Pleasures won't be lenient.

Fins Avoid Draft Claiming Internet Addiction

HELSINKI, Finland - Dodging the draft is going high-tech in Finland. Some young conscripts are trying to get out of their military obligation by claiming addiction - to the Internet. One recruiting officer says some of the soldiers have had their tours of duty shortened because of the Internet claim. The officer says those with the supposed Net addiction may have other mental problems, too. Finland's draftees usually serve six months to a year in the nation's defense forces.

'Who Wants To Be A U.S. Citizen?'

LOS ANGELES - Forget "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." Instead try who wants to be in America - legally. A Spanish-language reality TV show is offering contestants an unusual prize - immigration lawyers. The lawyers will help the winners get green cards for legal U.S. residency.

The program, called "Win the Green," began airing last month on stations in L.A., San Diego, Houston and Dallas. Production manager Adrian Vallarino tells the L.A. Times the show features "Fear Factor" type stunts. Contestants have to do things like gulping down live tequila worms and jumping between two speeding 18-wheelers. While the winner gets the services of an immigration attorney - there's no guarantee of a green card.