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The Odd Truth: Feb. 4, 2005

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

Suspect Calls For Directions

MONROE, La. - Jerry Wayne Till managed to get away from sheriff's deputies and elude them briefly -- until he called them for help after he got lost in the woods.

A sheriff's deputy tried to pull over Till on Wednesday evening for speeding, but Till drove away, exceeding 100 mph at times, before eventually abandoning his vehicle and running into the woods, according to the arrest affidavit.

Deputies brought in search dogs, but couldn't locate Till until he called the sheriff's office from his cell phone asking for help because he was lost.

Deputies still couldn't find him, until a nearby resident heard Till crying for help and called the authorities.

Maj. Jay Russell said deputies believe Till was heading to his home, but got misdirected in the woods. Deputies took him into custody about a quarter mile from the house of the deputy who tried to pull him over.

Till, who was charged with aggravated flight and driving with an expired license, told deputies that he didn't pull over because he wasn't thinking straight.

Music Pirate Didn't Own Computer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The recording industry sued Gertrude Walton, accusing her of illegally trading music over the Internet as "smittenedkitten."

But the lawsuit was filed more than a month after the 83-year-old woman died in December, and her daughter says Walton hated computers, anyway.

A group of record companies named Walton as the sole defendant in a federal lawsuit, claiming she made more than 700 songs available for free on the Internet.

Walton's daughter, Robin Chianumba, lived with her mother for the last 17 years and said her mother objected to having a computer in the house.

"My mother wouldn't know how to turn on a computer," Chianumba said.

She said she faxed a copy of her mother's death certificate to record company officials several days before the lawsuit was filed, in response to a letter from the company regarding the upcoming legal filing.

"I am pretty sure she is not going to leave Greenwood Memorial Park (where she is buried) to attend the hearing," Chianumba said.

A Recording Industry Association of America spokesman said Thursday that Walton was likely not the smittenedkitten it's searching for.

Taxes: Never Funny. Never.

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Taxes are no laughing matter.

The city's tax superintendent has been suspended without pay for a week for trying to inject some humor in the city income tax filing instructions.

The attempt at humor by Linda Stubbs was called "misguided" by city Finance Director John Lyons.

The forms -- with such lines as, "If we can tax it, we will," -- were sent last week to all Middletown businesses and residents who pay city income tax.

City officials didn't laugh at lines like: "Free advice: if you don't have a profit in a five-year period, you might want to consider another line of work."

Lyons said revised forms were sent out immediately at a cost to taxpayers of about $5,500.

Suing To Get Off B-List

LAS VEGAS - Bob Whitney isn't willing to accept a B-minus. He's suing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas after losing an appeal over the grade.

Bob Whitney, 52, alleges in the lawsuit that a history professor discriminated against him because of his conservative values. He seeks at least $10,000 for emotional duress, tuition, books and living expenses.

University officials say the complaint filed Jan. 12 in Clark County District Court has no merit.

Whitney said the grade he got in Eugene Moehring's class in spring 2004 damaged his grade-point average and made him ineligible for student loans. He claimed Moehring's fast-paced lectures prevented him from taking complete notes, and Moehring criticized his conservatism in written assignments.

Whitney accused Andrew Bell, then a graduate coordinator, of refusing to change the grade and humiliating him by yelling at him in front of his wife.

Priest Ad Pulled

Ford is quickly dropping one of its Super Bowl ads after the spot brought complaints from victims of sexual abuse.

The ad shows a clergyman who finds a set of keys for a Lincoln Mark in the collection plate. A sultry Billie Holiday song plays as he walks up to the car, with a singer asking, "is it a sin -- loving you like I do?" The man wears a clergyman's collar and tenderly circles the car.

Eventually a little girl and her father come to reclaim the keys.

A support group for people abused by priests objected just hours after the ad's release this week. They say the spot has clear sexual overtones and makes light of their trauma.

A group spokesman says they're particularly worried about the presence of the little girl and the appearance of the word "lust" on a church sign.

Ford yanked the ad within hours of hearing the complaint. The spot was supposed to launch a major ad campaign for the Lincoln Mark LT.

Texas Getting Kinky?

SAN ANTONIO - An outspoken musician and writer who is friends with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson is running for Texas governor.

Kinky Friedman says he wants to wake up the Lone Star state and campaign against what he calls the "wussification" of Texas.

What's that mean?

Friedman says as he sees it, there is too much political correctness. He also believes in legalizing gambling to support education. And he would push for life without parole as an alternative to the death penalty.

Friedman is known for touring with his band, The Texas Jewboys, and for writing 17 mystery novels. His readers include President Bush and former President Clinton.

Now Friedman wants to be in the halls of power himself. He's launching his campaign in fiery Texas style, running as an independent and printing bumper stickers that read "Why not Kinky?"

Doctor Fakes Insanity Too Well

OSLO, Norway - It sounds like a scene from "MASH." A Norwegian doctor called up for military service pretended to be insane. The not-so-mad doc rubbed sour cream in his hair, spilled beer on his clothes and sat in a closet smoking 40 cigarettes at once. It was all in an effort to show he wasn't mentally fit for the army. And it worked, perhaps a little too well. A Norwegian newspaper reports not only was the man rejected by the military, national health authorities were alerted to his mental status. The doc's attempt to dodge the draft is likely to result in disciplinary action from both the military and the medical board.