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The Odd Truth, Feb. 8, 2005

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

Twins Take Their Time

IASI, Romania - A 33-year-old Romanian woman who gave birth to a son in December on Monday gave birth to his twin brother almost two months later in what has been called a medical first in Romania.

The mother, Maricica Tescu, has two uteruses due to a rare congenital malformation, said Mircea Onofriescu, a doctor who manages the Cuza Voda Maternity Hospital in the northeast city of Iasi.

Tescu gave birth Monday to a 5.7 pound baby boy by Caesarean section, 59 days after giving birth vaginally to the first child, a 3.5 pound boy.

The two babies and the mother are doing well, Onofriescu said.

The first baby now weighs the same as his brother, and the two will be released from the hospital at the same time, after about a week.

Tescu, a landscape gardener, also has an 11-year-old son.

"I'm happy everything turned out well," she told news agency Mediafax.

No Nip/Tuck For Fido

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Leaders in this community known for its progressive views are trying to ban cosmetic surgery -- for pets.

Mayor John Duran introduced a motion Monday that would prohibit ear cropping, tail docking, debarking, defanging and other surgical procedures performed on animals for "noncurative" reasons.

Such procedures, supporters say, hurt the animals to satisfy their owners' tastes. Already law in many European countries, the ban would be the first of its kind in the United States, Duran said.

West Hollywood already has laws forbidding cat declawing and designating its residents as pet guardians rather than pet owners. Last year, the city started requiring pet-grooming companies to supply their customers with fresh water and report injuries related to grooming within 24 hours.

"We recognize we have an opportunity to provide leadership on public policy," said City Councilman Jeffrey Prang, who co-sponsored the motion. "Somebody always has to be first. Animal welfare is something West Hollywood feels strongly about."

Ozzy He's Not

EDGEWATER, Fla. - A firefighter accused of biting the head off a pet parrot at a party was charged with felony animal cruelty Monday and placed on administrative leave.

Lt. Bruce Coates, 34, was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail but was expected be released on his own recognizance after meeting with court officials Tuesday, a jail official said.

Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said witnesses told deputies that the off-duty Coates was at a party early Sunday when he took the Quaker parrot, valued at $200, off someone else's shoulder, put the bird's head in his mouth and bit it off.

The parrot's owner later called the sheriff's office.

Coates told deputies he had been drinking alcohol and could not remember what happened. However, he was apologetic and offered to replace the parrot, Davidson told The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Bad Soldier, Good Boyfriend

LONDON - A British military pilot who used an army helicopter to deliver a pizza to his girlfriend has been disciplined, the Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.

The Lynx helicopter was on a map-reading training exercise in eastern England on Jan. 25 when it made a landing in the Stanford area, a Ministry of Defense spokesman said.

"The pilot took it upon himself to basically deliver this pizza," the spokesman said. "He has been made aware that the chain of command doesn't condone his actions and has been disciplined."

Ministry officials did not give release details of the punishment.

The Sun newspaper reported that the pilot, a lieutenant, was delivering the pizza to his girlfriend, a cadet officer.

Paging The Jolly Green Giant

RED WING, Minn. - Red Wing Shoes will take a big step with a giant boot next week, when the Minnesota company celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Using ladders, cranes and special rigging, company employees and retirees have built a supersized "638-D" replica of the company's classic workboot No. 877.

The boot stands 16 feet tall and is 20 feet long. It required 80 cowhides, 1,200 feet of rope and 300 pounds of adhesives. The shoelace is 104 feet long. It has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest shoe.

The boot took more than a year to build. Employees said everything about the massive replica was properly scaled, so if a 12-story-tall man came to town they would have a roughly $100,000, ready-to-wear boot for him.

No Fumar

HAVANA - The home of the world's most famous cigars is going smoke-free.

Cuba's ban on smoking in public places is now in effect -- although some Cubans either didn't know or didn't care.

Smoking is now banned in restaurants, except certain smoking areas. Cigarette machines are being removed. And a new law keeps cigarettes from being sold to kids under 16.

Cuba says four of every ten Cubans smoke. Fidel Castro isn't among them -- having kicked the habit years ago.

Helping Hand Gets Carjacked

WATERBURY, Conn. - From the "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" file comes the story of Larry Valletta. He stopped on Route Eight in the Waterbury, Connecticut, area to help at an accident scene. But one of the accident victims stole his car. Valletta says he called state police, then went to check on the people. Two cars were involved in the crash and one flipped over. While Valletta was helping an injured person to the side of the road, a man got out the car that had rolled off in Valletta's car. Valletta says it was the last thing he expected. He adds it never dawned on him that someone might steal his car while he was being a Good Samaritan.

A Pepsi A Day...

MONETTE, Ark. - Rebecca Mitchell could be the oldest member of the Pepsi Generation. She turns 105 today. The Craighead County, Arkansas, senior citizen says she been drinking a Pepsi a day for years. Mitchell has seen a lot of history firsthand. Her son John Mitchell says she went from living on mud streets to blacktop to concrete. Workers at the nursing home where Mitchell lives call her Granny, but she doesn't consider herself to be too old. Her son says when his mother turned 100, her reaction was "Nobody lives that long."

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