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The Odd Truth, July 28, 2004

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

Wily Varmint Lassoed

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Police say a horse-mounted parade official roped a tow truck operator and pulled him about 250 feet during a confrontation before the Cheyenne Frontier Days parade last weekend.

Clay Sullivan, of Cheyenne, faces a penalty of six months in jail and a $750 fine after being cited for rude and indecent behavior under city code.

Tow truck operator Randy LeBeaumont was not hurt.

LeBeaumont says the incident occurred Saturday morning when he came upon a horse and rider in the street while on his way to tow a car off the parade route.

LeBeaumont says Sullivan unkindly told him to back off.

LeBeaumont says he got out to explain what he was doing.

When he attempted to call the police, a lasso was dropped over him and he was pulled down the street - although his feet never left the ground.

LeBeaumont freed himself and run back to his truck to call police.

Cheyenne Frontier Days officials say the matter is under internal investigation.

Wheelchair Locks Up Highway Traffic

MILWAUKEE - It was one of those maddening scenes on the expressway - a line of traffic held up by a slow-moving vehicle. In this case it wasn't a car causing the back-up, but a wheelchair. A Milwaukee man got off with a warning yesterday after tying up traffic on I-43 with his motorized wheelchair. According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department, the 73-year-old man was traveling about five miles an hour in the distress lane. Frustrated motorists called 911 on their cell-phones. Authorities say the man had a doctor's appointment, but he was left stranded when a transportation service failed to pick him up as planned. Wheelchairs aren't allowed on the Interstate and he could have been fined $159.

Porno Filmmaker Banned From Job Fair

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's high unemployment has many young residents scrounging for work, but job fair officials have drawn the line at an advertisement aimed at recruiting "passionate" porn stars.

The two-day job fair had been open for just 90 minutes Tuesday when embarrassed organizers took down the ad for pornographic filmmaker Sun Power Production Co., according to the South China Morning Post and Apple Daily newspapers.

Sun Power manager Tommy Wong was quoted as telling the Post that he hoped to help Hong Kong compete better in the adult film industry that has made big money for producers in Japan and South Korea.

"I don't understand why the organizers are so sensitive," Wong was quoted as saying. "We do not violate the law. People should not view us with bias. None of our ads are deceptive. I even mentioned that the actors have to be nude."

Sun Power's ad said no experience was necessary but that applicants must be "serious about acting and passionate about the movie industry." Job fair organizers called the ad inappropriate given that the target audience was young Hong Kongers, including teenagers.

"We do not recommend they start their careers in such industries," organizer Winnie Chan Wai-yan was quoted as saying. "They should choose jobs of a better ethical standard."

The Associated Press was unable to obtain a telephone listing for Sun Power to seek comment. Officials from a non-governmental organization and local magazine that sponsored the job fair did not immediately return phone calls.

Although job prospects in Hong Kong have steadily improved in the past few years, the unemployment rate in the former British colony remains at 6.9 percent.

Green Party: Pesticides Kill Buzz, Lungs

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealand's Green Party, which supports legalization of marijuana, said Wednesday police are endangering pot smokers' health by using poison spray to kill illegally grown cannabis plants.

Police have confirmed that when they find illicit crops of cannabis they spray them with a herbicide that turns the plants blue and kills them.

Green Party lawmaker and confessed cannabis user Nandor Tanzcos said there have been reports that unscrupulous dealers have used food coloring to turn the dyed dope back to green so they can sell it.

"I have heard stories of people suffering headaches, throat damage and coughing blood. There needs to be proper research but we can't achieve this until police come clean on the chemicals it (the herbicide) uses," he said.

The situation made a mockery of the police duty to protect the public, with people's health being placed at risk by the spray program, he added.

Tanzcos, an adherent of the Rastafarian faith, has said he uses cannabis as part of religious observances.

The lawmaker is the Green Party's leading advocate for reform of the nation's laws banning marijuana use.

Postcard Arrives 37 Years Later

SEELYVILLE, Pa. - Talk about snail mail: A woman vacationing in New Jersey 37 years ago popped a postcard into the mail and it just arrived at her mother's house in Pennsylvania.

Dorothy Orth, of Seelyville in northeastern Pennsylvania, baffled her daughter when she called Saturday to thank her for the card.

"What card?" Janet Richards, of Port Jervis, N.Y., asked.

When her mother said it was from Asbury Park, N.J., she remembered.

"I sent that postcard in August 1967, when my husband, Larry, and I were on our fifth wedding anniversary," she said. Orth received it July 17, almost 37 years later.

In addition to the 4-cent stamp a 23-cent stamp was affixed, and the 18431 zip code was penciled in. The card was postmarked Aug. 19, 1967, at the Asbury Park post office, and July 14, 2004, in New York City's Brooklyn borough.

"A lot of credit goes to the Brooklyn post office and whoever got the postcard to me," Orth said.

That was Ernesto Perry, of the U.S. Post Office undelivered mail unit in Brooklyn.

The postcard was behind a machine that was recently moved, Perry said. He said he added the zip code and the 23 cent stamp and sent it on its way.

"We always try to send back mail whenever possible, it doesn't matter how long it has been lost or misplaced," he said.

Burglar Picks The Wrong House

BISMARCK, N.D. - National Guardsman Chris Seil says instinct took over when a man tried to break into his North Dakota home. Seil recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq. He says his military training kicked in when he heard glass shatter in his house. Seil ignored the pleas of his wife, grabbed a pistol and took off after the guy. Seil was barefoot and wearing only pajama bottoms. He jumped a fence and chased the suspect. Seil says he cocked his gun and ordered the intruder to halt. When the guy tried to punch him, Seil kicked the intruder's legs out from under him and jumped on his back. He then walked the guy to a nearby police car. The burglary suspect is now being held on $3,500 bond.

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