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The Odd Truth, May 20, 2005

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

Selling Your Body ... Legally

WAYNE, N.J. - A 21-year-old business major has proven a basic lesson of marketing: Sex sells.

Courtney Van Dunk posted a bikini-clad picture of herself on eBay about two weeks ago, auctioning off space on her body for advertisers.

The auction ended Thursday with a winning bid from a New Jersey wine retailer offering $11,300 for a month's worth of advertising. Van Dunk says the offer has been retracted, but she's confident that she made contacts to still earn some cash.

When she finds a buyer, Van Dunk plans to place temporary tattoos on her abdomen while she's at the beach, or on other body parts when she's at the mall, sporting events, amusement parks and other public places. Her behind and chest are off-limits.

"I got the idea from a marketing class I had that did a short segment on body advertising," said Van Dunk, a student at The College of New Jersey. "I was wondering how advertising could get through to our TV-savvy generation, and I thought this would be an excellent way to do it."

An eBay spokesman estimated that out of the roughly 50 million listings on eBay each day, about five are for body advertising.

Gas Station Becomes Landmark

LOS ANGELES - A dilapidated old gas station in the ritzy Pacific Palisades looks like a surefire candidate for demolition.

But it's not -- the 80-year-old station has just become a local landmark.

The Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association had petitioned for the designation, saying the 80-year-old station was a tribute to the beginnings of car culture in Southern California.

"It's bizarre to look at a gas station as a monument. But this is Los Angeles," said Mary Klaus-Martin, president of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission.

Next-door neighbor Chris Hoffmann bought the station, which closed last fall, for $2.1 million. He told the council that he wanted to prevent someone else from buying the property and building a "mega-mansion."

"I have no idea what I'm going to do with the station," he said.

Road Kill Is His Hobby

TYRONE TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Road kill is usually something to be avoided. But Tim Strong doesn't think so.

He hauls away road kill, for free, because the Livingston County Road Commission says it can't afford to do it.

"Not that this is my dream job or anything," said Strong, 35. "But it makes me feel good -- like I'm doing something to help my kids out. It gives me the satisfaction that I've done something right."

When a deer or other animal comes out on the losing end of a collision with a car or truck, Strong -- pickup truck and outdoor freezer at the ready -- is the go-to guy.

Strong buries some of the deer in a nearby field, with the owner's permission. He said another 30 are buried on his own property.

"I've got three to pick up today," he said Thursday. "One lady called at 3 in the morning. I figured that one could wait."

Boston To Drop Indian Ban

BOSTON - A 330-year-old law barring American Indians from entering Boston is on the verge of being repealed.

The Massachusetts Legislature has voted to remove the law from the books that has long irked area tribes -- even though it hasn't been enforced.

Boston's mayor filed a petition last fall to get rid of the law, but the legislature didn't act until this week to repeal the 1675 law.

The bill must still be signed by Governor Mitt Romney, and a spokeswoman from his office says he intends to sign it.

Unfortunate Yearbook Double Entendre

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - School officials in Florida are altering a yearbook -- after a mother complained a photo of her son evokes images of slavery.

Robert Richards was elected "Most Whipped" by his classmates, and was photographed wearing a collar and leash. His girlfriend at the time is pictured holding the leash.

Richards is black -- and his former girlfriend is white.

Richards' mother says the photo reminds her of the poster for the 1970s miniseries "Roots," which featured a slave in restraints.

School officials will use stickers to cover the offending photo. They want the 240 students who already received their books to return them for alteration. And they're investigating how the photo made it by the yearbook adviser or the principal, who typically must approve the yearbook before it goes to the printer.

Las Vegas Mayor Relishes Vices

LAS VEGAS - Snapping pictures for Playboy sounds like a pretty sweet gig -- but Oscar Goodman isn't ready to give up his day job. He's the mayor of Las Vegas. Goodman was a guest photographer for Playboy for a day. He got to shoot topless photos of a Playmate last month. While some critics didn't like the idea of his honor taking some risque photos, Goodman's not sorry. He says he also drinks too much and gambles too much. But Goodman adds, he can do whatever he wants -- he's the mayor.

Ex-Stripper Runs For Judge

HENDERSON, Nev. - Former topless dancer Diana Hampton now wants to wear judicial robes. She's the leading candidate for the newly created Henderson, Nevada, Municipal Court judgeship. She's not making any apologies for working a year as a topless dancer at a Las Vegas strip club. She earned a-thousand dollars a week, which she says paid for her education. Hampton adds she came from a poor family. She stepped down as a prosecutor to run for judge. Hampton was the leading vote-getter in the April primary and will face Michael Miller in the general election next month.

Mall To Minors: Your Money's No Good Here

ALBANY, N.Y. - Hanging out at the mall with your parents is no fun. And that's point. The Crossgates Mall in Albany, New York, the area's largest, is putting the brakes on teens hanging out on the weekend. Beginning July 15th, those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on Friday and Saturday nights. Mall officials say the move is prompted by recent fights between large groups of teens. The mall's parent, the Pyramid Companies, has tried the no hanging-out rule at other locations. Officials say sales have gone up where the teenagers have been told to get lost.

Then She Put It In A Cup Of Chili

ALBANY, Ga. - Faced with DNA evidence, Demetrius Clyde has pleaded guilty in a sexual assault. But it's not the kind of DNA evidence you might expect. Authorities in Albany, Georgia, say Clyde's victim bit off a piece of his finger during the attack and held it in her mouth until she could contact police. Clyde was sentenced to 40 years in prison and will have to serve at least 14 before being eligible for parole.

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