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The Odd Truth, Dec. 1, 2003

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.

Doggone? Not Anymore!

WICHITA, Kan. - Jeanie Flores did a double-take when she glanced out the window of her home last week. A dog outside looked like Bear, the family pet who disappeared in November 1997.

"Oh my God. I think that's my dog!" she thought to herself.

She called the dog's name. When he responded, she started bawling.

"I called my husband and said, 'I really think this is Bear,'" she said.

Frank Flores rushed home and within seconds agreed with his wife's assessment: Bear, the brindle-colored Lab and chow mix, was home.

The dog's whereabouts for the past six years and his surprise return two days before Thanksgiving remain a mystery.

Frank Flores said he wishes Bear could talk.

Honest Abe Turning In Grave?

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - You've heard the famous quote: "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time."

You've also heard it attributed to Abraham Lincoln. And when it comes to that — you've probably been fooled.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is on a campaign to expose famous quotes attributed to Lincoln that he never said.

The agency says things falsely credited to Lincoln have been quoted by everyone from famous generals, presidents, anti-war protesters and a Star Trek character.

It has now added a page to its Web site, exposing some of the quotes, including "The strength of the nation lies in the homes of its people."

As for the famous one about fooling people, Lincoln allegedly said that in an 1865 speech. But the agency says the sentence doesn't show up in the text published the next day in a newspaper.

What If He Forgets His Glasses?

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - There's no need to write a phone number on your hand — or tie a string around your finger. Such memory cues may no longer be needed thanks to an MIT grad student.

Richard DeVaul has developed something he calls memory glasses. It's a tiny computer display clipped to an eyeglass frame. The computer can flash reminders — something DeVaul could use himself.

He says he sometimes forgets to eat, sitting at his desktop computer for hours at a time. The memory glasses could be programmed with the reminder, "`Rich, go take a break." DeVaul says he hopes to have a commercial version of the technology on the market within a year.

Penny Pincher

REEDSVILLE, Pa. - After four decades of pinching pennies, a Mifflin County man decided that it was time to cash in his collection — over a million coins.

It took several months of bank visits to bring in 37 buckets of pennies to be cashed but, by the end, Lynn Wagner ended up with $10,060.

"I thought that it'd be interesting to have a million of these so I thought that I'd try," he said last week.

Wagner, 53, collected one million pennies in August. The pennies were stacked along a wall in Wagner's garage in 4 1/2-gallon buckets. "I can get 30,000 of them in one bucket if I shake it so that they settle to the bottom," he said.

Bubba Bubba Bubba

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Bubba is now officially Mr. Bubba.

Raymond Allen Gray Jr. has always been called Bubba, so he's legally changed his name. The Springfield, Illinois, man says he considered Bubba Gray. But he decided to go with Bubba Bubba Bubba — first name, middle and last. Bubba says the judge had a funny look on her face, but she made the change legal. Bubba now has a new driver's license and a work ID with the triple Bubbas.

Performance Art

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Julianna Barabas is getting the needle — but she hopes her audience gets the point. Barabas is a cellist and performance artist who is tattooed while on stage. She's having a seam line tattooed around her body, in 12 monthly performances.

Her latest was at the live performance art festival in Vancouver. She says there's a transmission that happens when someone looks into her eyes while she's in extreme pain or being tickled. Barabas says she wants to remind her audience that the body is just a vessel — but it's what's inside that is important.

Of Manatees And Fantasy Girls

Manatee lovers are being a offered an X-rated encounter. A phone sex line has taken over the old save-the-manatees 1-800 number. People trying to report an injured manatee instead get Intimate Encounters and hear offers to chat with "fantasy girls."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission number changed years ago, but the old 800 number is still posted on everything from Web sites to park brochures.

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