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The Odd Truth, May 3, 2004

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

Pothead Toddler

BARDSTOWN, Kentucky - A man and woman were arrested after an employee at a photo lab saw pictures of a toddler posing with a pot pipe.

John R. Gray, 20, and Elizabeth Lyvers, 24, were charged with first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor, a felony. Police also charged Gray with one count of marijuana possession and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The photographs appeared to show Lyvers' son, who is about 3, smoking marijuana from a water pipe, authorities said. Police said the couple maintain the water pipe did not contain marijuana.

Police searched the couple's home Sunday after the Kroger photo lab in Bardstown turned over the film and provided police with an address.

The couple's lawyer, public defender Paula Pace, said Kentucky law appears to require the presence of a drug other than marijuana to support a charge of unlawful transaction with a minor in the first degree, but she said she is still reviewing the case.

The boy and the couple's 1-year-old child were taken by social service workers.

DEA Agent Shot During Gun Safety Class

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal drug agent shot himself in the leg during a gun safety presentation to children in what police describe as an accident. His bosses, however, are still investigating the incident.

The Drug Enforcement Administration agent, whose name was not released, was speaking April 9 to about 50 adults and students organized by the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association, witnesses and police said.

He drew his .40-caliber duty weapon and removed the magazine, according to the police report. He then pulled back the slide and asked an audience member to look inside the gun and confirm it wasn't loaded.

Witnesses said when the agent released the slide, one shot fired into the top of his left thigh. The gun was pointed at the floor

The agent was treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center and returned to work, a DEA official said.

Tangled Up In Chute

SALT LAKE CITY - Parachute jumper Carson Douglas Klein got tangled in more than red tape. Police ticketed Klein after he jumped off a downtown Salt Lake City building last week with two friends. His buddies made a clean getaway, but Klein was left hanging - literally. His parachute got caught on a light pole, leaving him dangling about 15 feet above the street. He and his friends had jumped off a 27-story apartment building. Guards at the site helped Klein down, then held him until police arrived. He was ticketed for trespassing. Klein's high-flying high jinks could prove expensive. He faces $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail if convicted.

Widow Forced To Give Up Beloved Rooster

HONG KONG - An elderly Hong Kong widow whose beloved pet rooster's crowing drew complaints from neighbors has reluctantly given the bird away after a castration operation failed to shut him up, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

The 61-year-old woman, who wasn't named, said she slept in the same bed as the rooster and "cried and cried for weeks" after parting with the bird about a month ago, the Post reported.

"He was more loyal than a dog. Whenever I called him from the living room he would come out from the kitchen saying 'coo-coo,"' she was quoted as saying.

The veterinarian who castrated the rooster only removed one testicle because of excessive bleeding, but the partial castration at least reduced the enthusiasm of the bird's early morning salutation, the report said.

The widow defied public housing rules by keeping the rooster, along with three ducks and two hens, in her apartment. She reportedly referred to the flock as her "children."

Hong Kongers rarely keep poultry as pets, but live chickens packed in cages are a common sight in Hong Kong markets.

Nowhere To Hide

CHRISTIANSTED, U.S. Virgin Islands - A man trying to rob a St. Croix restaurant was hospitalized after he hid in a heat extraction unit when employees showed up early for work Sunday, authorities said.

Workers turned on the cooling system's hood and its fan blades began to strike the man repeatedly, police said. He was in stable condition at a hospital where he was being treated for numerous cuts and abrasions.

The man broke into the Tutto Bene Cafe in Christiansted and attempted to open the restaurant's safe, said Scott Hill, the restaurant's executive chef.

He became trapped when the first shift reported for work earlier than usual, Hill said. The cafe was anticipating brisk business because of St. Croix's Half Iron Triathlon, which was held on Sunday, he said.

"After employees turned on the unit, they observed an unusual sound coming from inside the roof, where the hood is located," Hill said.

The employees searched the unit and discovered the intruder coiled up inside the hood with the blades cutting him. "He was basically stuck inside of it and had nowhere to go once the unit was turned on," he said.

No cash was missing. Police said they expected to charge the man with burglary once he is released from the hospital.

Antique Cannon Explodes Atop Frat House

COLUMBIA, Mo. - It was a stunt worthy of Animal House - and so was the way it all went awry.

Members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity tried to load an antique cannon on their front lawn with fireworks, but ended up destroying the cannon, punching a hole through a roof and blowing out the window of an apartment across the street.

An 8-inch portion of the cannon crashed through the roof of the apartment building Thursday, tearing through the fifth floor before landing on a pingpong table in the lounge on the fourth floor.

The explosion also left some debris embedded in the building's brick exterior. No one was hurt.

Two members of the fraternity at the University of Missouri-Columbia were arrested. The national Kappa Alpha fraternity said Missouri's chapter president and vice president were facing charges.

Elaine Pohl, a teacher, said she and a visiting scholar from China had been playing pingpong in a fourth floor lounge of University Place apartments when they heard two loud explosions.

She said she then noticed a 12-inch hole in the ceiling and a piece of metal on the pingpong table. About a dozen people were in the room at the time.

"It came down into the net like it would've sliced the table in two, though it didn't break the table," she said.