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The Odd Truth, Dec. 29, 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.

Not Your Father's Football League

IRVINE, Calif. - A furor has erupted over the names chosen by teams in a Muslim football league in Southern California. Three of the teams have called themselves the Intifada, the Soldiers of Allah and the Mujahadeen

Critics say such names glorify terrorism.

Intifada means "uprising" in Arabic and is a term used by Palestinians for their revolts against the Israeli occupation. Mujahideen means "holy warrior," and is associated with several Islamic groups that are on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

The uproar has caused some teams to change their names and some team members to quit because they fear violence against them.

Needle In Haystack Story

YAKIMA, Wash. - Jayne Painter says she's still in shock, after finding her mother's wedding ring in the city dump.

Painter's husband, Steve, bought her a new ring for Christmas. She put her mother's ring into the box that new ring came in. Steve didn't know that, and tossed the box in the trash.

Jayne Painter was frantic when she realized what he had done. Workers at the Yakima dump wished them luck, but doubted the Painters would find their trash bag in the tons of garbage picked up daily.

Painter proved them wrong, locating her trash bag in about 20 minutes. She has some kind words for the Public Works Department employees who helped her look. Painter also tells the Yakima Herald-Republic she still can't believe she found the ring.

Moonshine Chic

FRENCHBURG, Kentucky - Moonshine chic is sweeping Appalachia. But now it's tourists who want to take home a jar of 'shine.

Larry Webster is an eastern Kentucky attorney who helps organize the annual Hillbilly Days Festival in Pikeville. He says many tourists ask the locals where they can buy some homemade corn liquor.

At $20 to $30 a quart, moonshine now may cost more than store-bought booze. Webster says the city folk are looking for the essence of hillbilly culture — in other words — moonshine.

Webster adds this is the golden age of moonshine. He says authorities are no longer looking for backwoods stills, instead concentrating on more serious crimes. Webster says the moonshine is better than ever. But authorities point out that homemade booze can still be deadly.

Giveaway For God

GALVESTON, Texas - A church near Houston is dangling a couple of motorized carrots to increase its congregation.

Abundant Life Christian Center in La Marque will give away a new Chrysler PT Cruiser to a woman and a Harley Davidson Sportster to a man at its New Year's Eve service.

Parishioners and visitors have been eligible to enter for the free drawings each time they attended a service in recent weeks, and members who brought visitors could enter twice. The winners must be at Wednesday's service to win.

Inspirational Firewalking

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Those looking to get their new year off to a sizzling start have a hot option.

Jim Campbell, a corporate consultant and motivational trainer, is offering three dozen people a chance to walk barefoot across a bed of piping hot coals in a workshop he calls "Ignite Your Passions for 2004."

The workshop, which costs $95, will begin with four hours of planning on how to deal with fear and challenges and "setting some inspirational goals for life," he said.

Campbell said New Year's Eve "is a time when a lot of people want to set resolutions for the new year and new experiences. Firewalking is a dynamic way to do that."

What Myth?

AKRON, Ohio - The "Clauses" tied the knot on Christmas Eve.

David Johnston and Leisa Russell got married dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, saying they wanted their marriage to last "as long as the myth of Santa Claus."

Each of the 26 wedding guests donned a Santa hat for the ceremony in the gazebo of Shadyside Park.

The couple sealed their vows with a kiss, after which some of the guests sang "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."

Toilet Humor

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Forget sports stadiums and fire trucks. In Minnesota, corporations may soon be able to attach their names to something more mundane — rest stops.

"It is a new area," said Carol Reamer of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "To our knowledge, it's not been done anywhere in the nation."

The suggestion comes after a particularly tough year of budget cutting for many state agencies. In October, officials started two phases of market research on the corporate sponsorship issue — one gauging the public's sentiment; the other assessing business support.

Results should be ready sometime in February, Reamer said. Sponsorship could come in the form of on-site signs, recognition at events like the State Fair or perhaps a mention on the state's Web site.

And Don't Torture Your Parents…

CHICAGO - Even children should make New Year's resolution, at least according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For tiny tots, the academy recommends they promise to put away their toys, brush their teeth twice a day, and wash their hands before eating and after using the bathroom. It also recommends not teasing dogs.

School-age kids should drink lots of milk, limit soft drinks and do sports or other energetic activities at least three times a week.

Teens have nine resolutions including eating at least one fruit and vegetable a day and limiting video games and television to just two hours a day.

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