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The Odd Truth: July 14, 2005

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

Mr. Ed For Dinner?

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Some customers say wild horses couldn't drag them to the table at a New Zealand restaurant that's offering a chargrilled horsemeat dish called "Mr. Ed is Dead."

Restaurant owner David Kerr said that he received lots of complaints and abusive phone calls after he started serving horse steaks at his eatery in Hamilton, North Island, as part of an annual event during which restaurateurs compete to offer the best out-of-the-ordinary culinary delights to diners.

The calls were "pretty lively and disgusting and not comforting for the staff," Kerr said, adding that "there was swearing, cursing, horrible language," compelling him to call the police.

Nevertheless, some customers couldn't wait to chow down when horse appeared on his menu at the weekend. Kerr said he sold 10 horse steak meals on Monday night.

"Some think it is appalling but others are really interested to give it a go and want to know where else they can buy it," he said.

Leading racehorse breeder Sir Patrick Hogan said he "certainly won't be eating horse, that's for sure."

"If there was only one restaurant in Hamilton and it was his, I wouldn't sit at his table," said Hogan, who was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for his passion for breeding thoroughbreds.

Spokeswoman for the International League for Protection of Horses, Sandra Shearer, said although she would not be eating horse flesh, she was not offended.

"Mr. Ed" was a 1960s television comedy series about a talking horse.

Elderly Man's Marriage Annulled

NEW YORK - A Manhattan judge has annulled the marriage of a physician-businessman who treated Argentina's Juan and Eva Peron, saying the man did not understand what he was doing when at age 95 he married a woman who was 37 years younger.

State Supreme Court Justice Laura Drager said she was satisfied after a hearing on the mental state of Dr. Herbert Hofmann, an Argentine-born multimillionaire. He "was incapable of understanding the nature, effect and consequences of getting married."

Despite Drager's ruling, Hofmann, now a Swiss citizen, and Genevieve Pignarre, with whom he has had an on-again, off-again intimate relationship for 35 years, are living together in Paris.

The couple married on July 8, 2003, in New York City's Municipal Building, Drager's decision says. He was 95 and she was 58.

About four months after the marriage, a longtime friend of Hofmann's initiated guardianship proceedings. The court appointed Charyn Powers as Hofmann's guardian, and Powers subsequently sought an annulment of the marriage.

Powers' lawyer, Donald Frank, said his client and others found it "peculiar that a marriage would be taking place after all that time." He said Pignarre tried to keep the wedding a secret and "there were worries about her self-dealing."

Pignarre's lawyer, Sandra Katz, said, "In my opinion, the decision is not correct."

Though Powers said Hofmann suffered progressive, incurable dementia, Katz said Hofmann was fully aware of what he was saying when the marriage clerk questioned him.

Sacco And Vanzetti Return

MEDINA, Ohio - A pair of identical twins have traded anonymity for infamy.

Scott C. Wurgler and Matthew A. Wurgler, both 21, of Strongsville, have changed their names, becoming Sacco Vandal and Vanzetti Vandal, respectively.

The names were inspired by Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who were arrested in 1920 in Massachusetts after shoe company employees were shot and robbed.

Sacco and Vanzetti were described as anarchists and executed, despite alibis and conflicting witness statements. In 1977, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis cleared the pair of "any stigma and disgrace."

The brothers said they look up to the historical figures, but they chose the names as a tribute to their Italian heritage and to help with future business and political plans.

The name Vandal is in honor of their German background, they said.

The judge in this northeast Ohio town believes few will notice the change.

"If the applicant is using the name change to make a social commentary, it is a subtle one," Judge John J. Lohn wrote. "Most people won't 'get it' without a short history lesson and a long social commentary."

Radio Contest Prank

LOS ANGELES - Shannon Castillo was less than pleased when she took possession of the new Hummer she won in a radio contest.

Instead of the muscular Hummer H2 vehicle she expected, Castillo got a radio-controlled toy model.

It was an April Fool's Day prank.

"I just couldn't believe that they would actually humiliate someone like that," Castillo said.

Castillo, 25, has sued radio station KBDS over the weeklong "contest" in which listeners were supposed to track the number of miles two H2s traveled around town.

She said she hired a baby sitter for her two children so she could arrive at the station at 6 a.m. on the day of the giveaway, April 1. After she waited for two hours, she said, a DJ pulled up in the back of a truck and handed her and another listener the toys.

The station did not return a call for comment.

The lawsuit, filed June 21, seeks $60,000, about the cost of a real H2.

Duct Tape Duo

FORREST CITY, Ark. - A couple of Arkansas high school students find themselves in a sticky situation -- and they're glad of it. Krystal Long and Casey Isringhouse have won college scholarships, thanks to their duct tape prom outfits. Krystal created a two-piece formal with an a-line skirt and backless top, all with the handyman's best friend. Casey made a classic black tux and a vest to match Krystal's outfit. They say it took about four weeks and 25 rolls of duct tape. The Forrest City High students each win $2,500 scholarships from the makers of Duck-R-Brand duct tape.

Lucky Lotto Winners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Paul Daniels tossed a winning lottery ticket in the garbage. Luckily for him, he realized his mistake and was able to find it after digging through the kitchen trash can. Daniels had checked the numbers and threw out the winning $4 million Kentucky Lotto South ticket. But he had checked the numbers for the wrong day. After finding the ticket, his wife Carol says they couldn't believe they had the winning numbers and called a supermarket and the Kentucky Lottery to double check it. They've decided to take the cash option and took home a check yesterday worth about $1.5 million.