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The Odd Truth, Feb. 4, 2004

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



'I Do' In Black and Blue

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Laura Moody got something black and blue for her wedding, but unfortunately it was her groom.

With swollen and blackened eyes and morphine shooting through his veins to dull the pain from spleen surgery and broken ribs, Chris Pitchford struggled Monday to say his vows through a feeding tube that had been placed down his throat.

Both he and Moody, 18, had vowed the wedding would go on, less than 48 hours after Pitchford, 23, said he was beaten during an altercation with strangers outside a Nevada casino during his bachelor party.

"Today is our day," Pitchford said after the wedding, holding his bride's hand. "I wouldn't let anything get in the way."

The wedding was originally planned Monday afternoon at a relative's home, but his condition prevented him from leaving the hospital. So, instead, Pitchford was wheeled into the hospital's 12-seat chapel for the makeshift ceremony while friends family spilled out into the hospital's corridor.

The bride smiled brightly throughout the ceremony, even when she tried to push a ring onto the groom's swollen finger. The ring stopped at the knuckle.

The couple's honeymoon destination has been changed from Las Vegas to the hospital room at the end of the hallway.

Malaysia's Robin Hood?

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Police on the trail of twins who have stolen luxury cars worth nearly $1.18 million in Malaysia are investigating whether they're making large donations to orphanages.

The pair, aged 25, head a gang that has stolen about 20 cars, all Mercedes Benz or BMW models, by forcing lone drivers to hand over their keys at knifepoint, The Star newspaper reported Wednesday.

Shortly after the gang's most recent theft an orphanage in Kuala Lumpur received a large donation of rice, eggs, potatoes, onions, instant noodles, milk and other goods, police Assistant Commissioner Syed Ismail Syed Azizan was quoted as saying.

Officers investigating the gang found receipts for contributions to several children's homes around the city, Syed Ismail was cited as saying.

Police could not be immediately reached for further details.

Oh, That Northern Lights

LONDON - The host of a radio gardening program apologized Tuesday for unwittingly giving a caller advice on how to grow marijuana.

Frieda Morrison, who co-hosts "Beechgrove Potting Shed" on the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Radio Scotland, said she had thought the caller was discussing cabbages.

Morrison and fellow host Jim McColl spent more than three minutes explaining which compost to use and how to water the plant, which the caller referred to as "Northern Lights" - a very strong variety of marijuana that shares a name with a variety of cabbage.

Speaking on BBC Scotland's "Good Morning Scotland" program Tuesday, Morrison apologized for the error.

"We thought the caller had said cabbages and if you look it up on the Internet there is a variety called the Northern Lights," she said.

"So this is where the confusion started and all the way through the interview we were talking about cabbages.

"It is a very busy program and we made an honest mistake."

There has been a vigorous public debate over the government's decision to reclassify marijuana, known as cannabis in Britain, from a class B to a class C drug, making its use and possession less serious crimes.

The reclassification, which took effect last week, puts marijuana on a par with steroids rather than amphetamines and barbiturates and will let most users off with a warning - a concession condemned by critics, who say it sends a wrong message that marijuana is not harmful.

What's In A Name?

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. - Warden Dan Benik doesn't want to send mixed messages to inmates with drug problems, so he wants to change the name of a prison set to open soon.

He doesn't like the "high" in Highview Correctional Facility.

Benik is asking the community relations board to come up with three names that can be forwarded to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and Gov. Jim Doyle for the prison dedicated to drug and alcohol treatment.

The facility, to be opened in April, is located on the grounds of what used to be the Northern Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled, where Highview Hall is one of the buildings.

The board will seek opinions from the Chippewa Falls community in coming up with another name.

Mayor Doug Sandvick would like the words Chippewa Falls to be left out of any association with the prison.

"We can name it for LaFayette, though," he joked, noting the fact that Highview sits near the town of LaFayette.

Breast-Fondling Bush Art

BETHLEHEM, Penn. - President Bush fondling the breast of a woman in a negligee? Renowned photographer Larry Fink calls it political satire. But some students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania call it a smear. The Bush look-alike is included in a series of photos titled, "The Forbidden Pictures, A Political Tableau." The photos are on display at the university's humanities building. Senior David Hauptmann says the exhibit is absolutely tasteless. The international relations major adds the fake Bush picture borders on slanderous. Exhibit curator Ricardo Viera makes no apologies. He says the photos are meant to promote discussion.of the home, while bedrooms should be put farther inside.

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