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The Odd Truth, May 12, 2005

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

Gesture Too Little Too Late

WILMINGTON, N.C. - The man who found a severed fingertip in a mouthful of frozen chocolate custard has made a belated offer to return the digit to its owner.

Clarence Stowers refused to return the severed fingertip last week while it could still have been reattached. He's been holding onto it as evidence.

He refused to give it to a doctor who was treating 23-year-old Brandon Fizer, who accidentally stuck his hand in a mixing machine and had his right index finger lopped off at the first knuckle.

Now, Stowers' attorney says his client has had a change of heart.

But the offer is too late.

Medical experts say an attempt to reattach a severed finger can generally be made only within six hours.

Realtor Strips Down For Billboard

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Real estate agent Wendy Heath is undressed for success.

Heath, 34, said a blazer and slacks just don't cut it in the highly competitive Belmont Shore housing market.

She chose to wear a bikini on a billboard that went up May 2.

"It's kind of flipped people out," said Heath, who reported receiving almost as many calls from Realtors upset with the ad as those voicing support. "A couple of agents are having a fit about it, but that's because they just didn't think of it first."

The billboard features Heath, a former personal trainer, wearing a bikini alongside the family English bulldog and the words, "Got real estate?"

Text Messages Translate Dogs

South Koreans hoping to communicate with man's best friend could be getting help soon from their cell phones.

KTF Corp., a South Korean mobile phone operator, said Thursday it will begin offering a service that will enable dog owners to know whether their pets are feeling happy or sad.

The users must first connect to Internet with their cell phones, and then register information of their dogs such as the breed and age. The service will then record the dog's bark.

The owner will receive text messages telling them how their pet is feeling, such as "I am happy" or "I am frustrated."

Robber Makes Himself At Home

OKLAHOMA CITY - Police have a pretty good idea who the burglar was who broke into a home, ate a meal, soaked in a hot tub and stole $4,000 worth of tools.

A driver's license was found near the hot tub in Nathan Sassamon's home.

"It's not a pleasant feeling to know someone has been in your home, especially when you see these people made themselves comfortable," Sassamon said.

Police still are searching for the 27-year-old man whose identification they found.

Sassamon said he was out of town over the weekend and returned home Sunday to find that an air compressor, eight tool boxes, a television and a stereo system were missing. Several other items had been taken, and dirty dishes were left in the kitchen.

Twins In Trouble For ID Swap

SALT LAKE CITY - Identical twin brothers are in trouble with the FBI after one went to the other's job in a secure area of the Salt Lake International Airport.

The agency said Olimpiu Nedelcu looks exactly like his brother Silviu, who works as an aircraft refueler at the airport.

FBI agent Bob Wright said Silviu couldn't make it to work so his brother went in his place.

Airport police fingerprinted the man who showed up for work and found out that he was not Silviu.

What's One Marriage Here Or There?

SANFORD, Fla. - The Republican chairman of Seminole County, Florida, says his bid to head the state party was sabotaged because a letter accused him of having been married six times.

He says the correct number is five.

In the trial over his defamation lawsuit, Jim Stelling called the letter "unconscionable" and said he believes in family values.

Stelling is seeking unspecified damages against a former county GOP official who sent the letter to party executives days before the 2003 election.

Nancy Goettman, who is acting as her own attorney, asked: Five wives or six, when the number gets that high, does being off by one really matter?

A judge hasn't said how soon he'll rule on the case.

Chimp Art On The Auction Block

LONDON - A prestigious London auction house is selling off art by Andy Warhol, Renoir -- and Congo the chimpanzee.

The director of modern and contemporary art at Bonhams says he'd "sincerely doubt that chimpanzee art has ever been auctioned before."

Congo's three tempera-on-paper paintings are brightly colored and feature bold brushstrokes. They're expected to sell for up to $1,500.

In the description of the lot, the auction house says, "Paintings by apes may be seen as humorous or as a derisive commentary on modern art." But it says animal behaviorist Desmond Morris put together the chimp art to learn "the impetus behind our own desires for artistic creativity."

Congo quickly learned not to try to eat the brush and pencils. In fact, once he was done with a painting, he knew not to pick up the brush or pencil again.

Born in 1954, Congo produced some 400 drawings and paintings between the ages of two and four. The painter Picasso reportedly kept one of his works.

Prom Dress Lands Teen In Hot Water

LAKE GENEVA, Wis. - One high school senior is in trouble over a prom dress. Kerry Lofy says he wore a black, spaghetti-strap dress to his prom at Wisconsin's Lake Geneva Badger High because he thought it would be funny. But school officials aren't laughing. Lofy was given a $249 ticket by police for disorderly conduct. He's also been suspended from school for three days and will miss his last track meet. Administrators say the dress wasn't the only problem. They say Lofy was dancing suggestively. However, the dress-wearing boy says others were dancing that way too and he was the only one to get in trouble. Last year, Lofy went to a prom in a duct-tape suit and he took an inflatable doll as his date to the homecoming dance.

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