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The Odd Truth, May 17, 2004

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

'Bunnysutra' In Times Square

NEW YORK - Something's funny about the bunnies on a billboard in New York's Times Square.

The advertisement for the Swatch watch company shows two cartoon bunnies in what some might consider an intimate moment.

Their maneuvers have been dubbed the "Bunnysutra."

The characters are featured on a new watch with touch crystal technology. Touching the watch's face causes the hands to spin wildly and come to rest on different "Bunnysutra" positions before returning to the actual time.

One observer dubbed the billboard "hilarious," while another says it's "disgusting." A mother says after seeing the ad, she'll think again before she buys the watch for her nine-year-old daughter.

A Swatch spokesman says the billboard is comical, and no more racy than others nearby that show scantily clad women.

It Ain't Denny's

NEW YORK - It's not made of gold - just eggs, lobster, caviar and a few trimmings. But an omelet on the menu of a swanky Manhattan hotel will set you back $1,000, plus tip.

"I couldn't believe it was the price when I first saw '1,000' on the menu. I thought it was the calorie count," Virginia Marnell, a customer at Norma's restaurant in Le Parker Meridien hotel on West 57th Street, told the Daily News for Monday editions.

The omelet, which debuted May 5 and is billed as the "Zillion Dollar Frittata," has six eggs, a lobster and - here's the kicker - 10 ounces of sevruga caviar. The restaurant pays $65 an ounce for the caviar, according to Norma's general manager, Steven Pipes.

"Since we knew it was going to be a very expensive dish, we decided to have some fun with it," Pipes told the News. "It's not just a gimmick, though. It tastes good."

Beside the omelet's entry in the menu is the following message: "Norma dares you to expense this."

No one has ordered it yet.

A "budget" version of the omelet, containing only one ounce of caviar, sells for $100.

Man Ditches Court For Poker World Series

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - Brian Strahl could be gambling with his future - by playing poker instead of going to court. A judge in New Jersey issued a bench warrant for Strahl's arrest when he didn't show up for sentencing. Strahl pleaded guilty to charges that he masterminded an illegal million dollar investment scheme. Strahl faxed a letter to the judge saying he was in Las Vegas, playing in the World Series of Poker. The letter from Strahl said he wanted to win money to pay restitution to the victims and claimed he had already won $5,000. The judge called Strahl "a degenerate gambler" and rescheduled sentencing for July 16th. Strahl could get up to 20 years in prison.

Box Of Deadly Snakes Found Ark. Roadside

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A curious pickup truck driver spotted a box in the grass marked "Live venomous reptile" east of downtown and stopped to take a look.

"When you see something like that, you want to look and see what it is," Paul Mitchell of Little Rock said of his Friday afternoon discovery. "I went over and kicked the box."

The electrician looked inside and found a cloth bag slithering into the form of a cobra ready to strike.

"I was like, 'Hot dog! That thing is big!"' Mitchell said.

Mitchell grabbed up the box, put it in the bed of his truck and took it to the Little Rock Zoo.

"I was just going to take it back to work and kill it, but I figure cobras aren't indigenous to Arkansas," Mitchell said. "I knew the zoo would have a snake handler."

Randal Berry, the zoo's reptile keeper, took the snakes in out of concern for public safety. He said the zoo doesn't usually take in animals.

Berry said the cobra was very aggressive as he pulled it from the sack, repeatedly rearing its hooded head. Also inside the box were a 14-inch-long twig snake; an East African bright green mamba that measured 6 feet long, and a 4-foot black mamba. All are highly venomous and there is no antivenin in Arkansas.

Berry said the snakes were in good condition and estimated that, together, they were worth about $1,000.

No one knows where the snakes came from.

Cindy Dawson, assistant city attorney and zoo docent, guessed that the snakes came into the city illegally.

Zoo officials said they haven't decided what they're going to do with the snakes, including the seething cobra.

"I don't want it here," Berry said with a laugh. "He's not a nice guy."

Sammy Sosa's Sneeze Spasms

SAN DIEGO - Sammy Sosa felt a bit sheepish while explaining why he wasn't able to play Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

He sneezed twice shortly after arriving in the clubhouse before the game, which brought on back spasms and forced him to grab a chair to support himself. While his Chicago Cubs teammates were out beating the Padres 4-2 for a three-game sweep, Sosa spent the afternoon in the trainer's room receiving treatment.

"It would have been better if I had hit off the wall or we have a fight or something, but this ... you know what I mean?" Sosa said. "What can you do? Some things in life you cannot control. This is strange that it happened."

The Cubs are off Monday before opening a homestand Tuesday.

"I don't feel too good," Sosa said. "If I'm ready, I'm going to play. If I'm not ready, I'm not going to play. Whenever I feel 100 percent, I'll be back.

"Something you never expect to happen, happens. We're only human. The only thing you can do is just sit back and relax and wait. You're talking about the back."

Sosa homered Friday and Saturday to move past Mike Schmidt and take sole possession of ninth place on the career list with 549.

Some Restaurants Resort To Napkin Rationing

MILWAUKEE - Fierce competition for fast-food dollars has some restaurants taking an extraordinary measure to cut the bottom line - napkin rationing.

Paper napkins are being hidden behind counters, wrapped individually with plastic silverware and stuffed in dispensers that give customers one at a time.

"You should be able to grab as many as you want," said Tim Machak, a father with a sticky situation - 4 young children, 4 ice cream cones and 2 napkins.

Machak said he was insulted that he had to ask employees behind the counter at McDonalds for more napkins.

Rising food and paper prices have caused restaurateurs to look for ways to cut costs.

Paper companies in Wisconsin, which produce most of the nation's paper napkins, have developed dispensers that allow customers to take just one napkin at a time.

Georgia Pacific, Kimberly-Clark and SCA Tissue have all come up with a new dispenser. Georgia Pacific's EZ-Nap dispenser is expected to reduce napkin use by about 30 percent, said Jerry Hawkins, senior director of marketing.

At Pizza Villa in The Shops of Grand Avenue mall, manager Patti Chirchiri said she has watched people take stacks of napkins, then leave them on the table. Now, Pizza Villa offers plastic silverware wrapped in just one napkin.