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The Odd Truth, July 29, 2004

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

'Triple-Dog Dare' Undies Stunt

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. - Two men who were arrested for walking through a Wal-Mart while wearing women's thong underwear blamed the stunt on a "triple-dog dare," authorities said.

The men, ages 35 and 36, bought two pair of underwear at the store Tuesday, went into a bathroom and came out wearing only the thongs and T-shirts, police said.

Witnesses said the men walked through the store and out to their car.

Police caught the men in the parking lot, and reviewed a surveillance tape before arresting them for public indecency and disorderly conduct.

When asked why they were wearing thong underwear, one of the men said a friend "triple-dog dared" them. They will not be prosecuted, authorities said.

Holy Hoax Defrocked

BRISBANE, Australia - Two "bleeding and weeping" statues that drew thousands of the faithful to a Vietnamese church in this eastern Australian city are fakes, the Catholic Church said Thursday after investigating them.

"The substance that seeped from the artifacts is very like one that is commercially available and it is possible that the substance was applied to them by human hands," Brisbane's Roman Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby said.

The church investigation was ordered after thousands of people flocked to the Vietnamese Community Church in Brisbane, believing the statues were miracles.

After the investigation by a law-trained vicar and retired chemistry professor, Bathersby ordered the statues removed from the church. It was not immediately clear if any further action would be taken against officials at the church.

'Hogzilla' Tale Sweeps Southern Georgia

ALAPAHA, Ga. - Around these parts, they are calling it Hogzilla: a 12-foot-long wild hog recently killed on a plantation and now quickly becoming a part of local legend.

The plantation's owner claims the hog weighed 1,000 pounds and had 9-inch tusks. But few people have actually seen the hog - the only proof being a photo that shows the dead beast hanging from a rope.

Whether the hog ever actually existed or is some sort of Faulknerian myth, it has definitely been the topic of conversation in small towns across southern Georgia.

"People just back up and ask 'Is it real?' They can't believe that there's a hog that big in the woods," said Drew White, who has a copy of the photo on display at an auto parts store in Tifton, about 17 miles away.

Chris Griffin said he killed the beast last month at the River Oak Plantation, where he is a hunting guide, and has been showing off the picture around this small farming community ever since. The hog is nearly twice as long as the 6-foot-tall Griffin, who is seen standing next to it in the photo.

"They say 'Man, you look like a dwarf compared to that thing,"' he said Wednesday.

The picture is all Griffin has to back up his claims. He and Ken Holyoak, owner of the plantation, buried the beast on the property and did not want to hassle with slaughtering it since the meat of large feral hogs is typically not very good.

Holyoak said he decided that the hog's head also wasn't worth keeping because it was too large to mount on a wall. He said the head has the diameter of a tire on a compact car.

"We had to lift him with a backhoe," he said.

No one maintains official records on hog kills in Georgia. But Department of Natural Resources biologist Kent Kammermeyer, who helped write a booklet on feral-hog problems in the state, said he has never heard of one as large as Hogzilla.

Holyoak said the plantation's previous record was a 695-pound hog shot several years ago. Enough wild hogs roam Holyoak's plantation that he has made it a side business to allow people to hunt them, but he said "Hogzilla" was too big to let someone else shoot.

Holyoak said he had to climb into a deer stand a few years back to escape a raging hog that circled around for six hours, foaming at the mouth and snapping at branches.

"They say bears get mad when you mess with their babies," Holyoak said. "Hogs don't need a reason to get mad and come after you."

Czechs Net 10 Drunk Bus Drivers In One Day

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - A police crackdown on bus traffic in the Czech capital caught 10 drunk bus drivers in a single day, police said Wednesday.

The action Tuesday - the first of its kind here - targeted public transportation, tourist and long-distance buses. Besides catching the 10 drunk drivers, police fined 256 bus drivers for speeding and nine who were unable to present a valid driver's license.

Officers taking part in the sweep checked 1,606 buses.

The Czech Republic has a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving, meaning that anyone caught driving with any amount of alcohol in the body is considered a drunk driver.

Punishments usually include a suspension of the driver's license and fines.

Cops' Ice Cream Program Takes A Licking

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City police have taken a licking for a new program that rewards motorists who drive safely by stopping them and giving them coupons for free ice cream.

Sgt. Don Jantzen of the North Patrol Division said residents expressed concerns about the program and the department's legal counsel advised officers to stop it. He said the division commander will revamp it and come up with a new approach within two weeks.

Paula Talley was rewarded Monday for wearing her seat belt and yielding to traffic. She said she was afraid being stopped would make her late for work, although she made it on time.

"My job probably wouldn't have cared about free ice cream," she said.

Bill Calvert was stopped for driving the speed limit and using his signal. He said he could see people getting upset by such stops if they "were in the wrong frame of mind."

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

BUDAPEST, Hungary - Eight cyclists participating in the Tour de Hongrie each were fined 50 Swiss francs ($40) on Thursday for urinating in public during the race, officials said.

"If this had happened by a farm field, race judges probably would have ignored it," race spokesman Roland Gombkoto said. "But since it happened right in front of spectators, it could damage the popularity of the race and the sport."

The incident took place Wednesday in the town of Nagykonyi, about 100 miles southwest of the capital, Budapest, during the second stage of the seven-day race covering 530 miles.

Gombkoto said the three Hungarian and five foreign cyclists stopped, but did not get off their bicycles, while relieving themselves during the 103-mile second stage between Balatonfoldvar and Pecs.

Australian Phil Thuaux won the stage in 3 hours, 59 minutes, 9 seconds, and retained the yellow jersey traditionally worn by the race leader.

Singapore Govt. Urges Youth To Rebel

SINGAPORE - The Singapore government - which has traditionally placed a high degree of emphasis on conformity - is urging young people to rebel, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Acting Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan also described conditions in the wealthy city-state as "over-protective," and said Singaporean youths should visit poorer neighboring states like Malaysia and Indonesia to broaden their horizons, the Straits Times reported.

"I would prefer your generation to be rebellious," Khaw was quoted as saying to a group of students. "If you are just conforming to the social norms, then you are merely following our footpath, which may not be relevant to you."

Standing out from the crowd in Singapore has long been frowned upon by the government, which has been run by the People's Action Party since independence in 1965.

All but a few citizens tend to keep their views - whether social or political - to themselves, as speaking up has in the past been interpreted as a challenge to authority and sometimes met with a stern official response.

Veteran opposition politician J.B. Jeyaretnam, one of the few vocal government critics over the years, became embroiled in a thicket of libel lawsuits brought by government ministers, which eventually forced him into bankruptcy.

Recently, however, ministers like Khaw have started to push the idea that young people should think for themselves, in part because they say the country needs more independent thinkers to sustain economic growth.

Khaw said that students should travel to nearby Indonesia or Malaysia, both of which are much poorer than Singapore, according to the paper.

"Along the way, you will realize how lucky and how blessed you are," Khaw was quoted as saying.

Misbehaving Monks

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Cambodia's acting head of state appealed to Buddhist monks Thursday to stop misbehaving after a string of scandals.

Several monks have grabbed newspaper headlines recently for fighting with slingshots and petrol bombs at a temple, molesting a boy, and for beating a man and stealing motorcycles.

At a three-day conference of 670 monks, nuns and religious officials, Chea Sim, president of the ruling Cambodian People's Party and acting head of state while King Norodom Sihanouk is away, said "negative acts" by some members of the monkhood "must be addressed, solved and improved."

Ninety per cent of Cambodia's 13 million people are Buddhist. There are about 60,000 monks living in more than 4,000 pagodas across the country.

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