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The Odd Truth, Nov. 10, 2003

The Odd Truth is a collection of strange but factual news stories from around the world compiled by's Brian Bernbaum. A new collection of stories is published each weekday. On weekends, you can read a week's worth of The Odd Truth.

Moscow: Kiss Kissing Goodbye?
MOSCOW - It may become illegal to smooch in public in Moscow.

Authorities in the Russian capital are reportedly considering fines for public displays of affection.

Police and the city's education committee are said to be working on plans to "improve morals."

A Russian newspaper is reporting on its Web site that a committee member says children are getting "amoral lessons every day when they see what goes on around them."

It's common to see couples kissing on the long, slow escalator rises leading down to Moscow's subway platforms. Few have objected until now.

The newspaper reports fines would be about $10. The same order would target other public behavior, like drinking alcohol, cursing and spitting.

One human rights advocate says the measure would be "Orwellian," and vowed to violate it as often as possible.

McDonalds Mad Over 'McJob'

CHICAGO - McDonald's says it deserves a break from the unflattering way the latest Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary depicts its job opportunities.

Among some 10,000 new additions to an updated version released in June was the term "McJob," defined as "low paying and dead-end work."

In an open letter to Merriam-Webster, McDonald's CEO Jim Cantalupo said the term is "an inaccurate description of restaurant employment" and "a slap in the face to the 12 million men and women" who work in the restaurant industry.

The company e-mailed the letter to media organizations Friday, and it also was published in the Nov. 3 edition of an industry trade publication.

Cantalupo also wrote that "more than 1,000 of the men and women who own and operate McDonald's restaurants today got their start by serving customers behind the counter."

McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain, has more than 30,000 restaurants and more than 400,000 employees.

Walt Riker, a spokesman for McDonald's, said the Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast-food giant also is concerned that "McJob" closely resembles McJOBS, the company's training program for mentally and physically challenged people.

"McJOBS is trademarked and we've notified them that legally that's an issue for us as well," Riker said.

A message left at Merriam-Webster's headquarters in Springfield, Mass., was not immediately returned Friday evening.

Forget Organic, Try Breast Milk

SALT LAKE CITY - It was an ad for a different sort of milk. A Salt Lake City woman bought a classified newspaper ad offering to sell her extra breast milk. The 23-year-old unidentified woman says she was just trying to help. But she's withdrawn her offer after getting too many prank calls. The nursing mom she says one man wanted to know if it came in chocolate. Another said he wanted an endless supply for protein drinks. The woman wanted a dollar an ounce or $350 for 400 ounces. Now, she's out of the milk business and so is The Salt Lake Tribune. The paper says it won't accept any more ads offering breast milk for sale.

Amputee Slays Bear With Bow And Arrow

ARDEN, W.Va. - Leslie Riggs hardly expected to be facing a 420-pound black bear when he went deer hunting with his bow - and his crutches.

Riggs, 53, was using a fallen oak tree as a blind and waiting for deer Friday, but instead of deer the bear came out of the woods and headed in his direction. Riggs waited until the bear was about 25 yards away, then fired one arrow and hit it just behind its shoulder.

Afraid the wounded bear would attack, Riggs hustled away.

"I came out of there faster than I went in on these crutches," said Riggs, whose lower right leg was amputated this summer after an arterial complication.

Riggs' son, Richard Mason, found the bear the next day about 225 yards from the fallen tree.

More than 100 people stopped at a grocery store Sunday to take pictures of the animal.

"It was a dandy bear," said Dudley Moler, a spokesman with the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Section.

Residents were collecting money to have the bear mounted or made into a rug. Riggs plans to give other parts of the animal to friends.

"They all want some bear meat," he said.

Convict Plagued By Indecision

DERBY, Conn. - Leon Cheeseboro had second thoughts after turning himself in to the cops. The Derby, Connecticut, man showed up at the local police station the other day to surrender on several warrants. But he changed his mind after learning he'd have to pay a high bail. Police say he made a run-for-it in his bare feet. But his dash for freedom didn't last too long. He was arrested late Saturday after police got a tip. Cheeseboro is now being held on $60,000 bond. He's to appear in court today on a number of charges, including assault and resisting arrest.

World's Tallest Bicycle Ridden

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. - Randall Jones is a man to look up to - when he's on his bike. Jones hopes to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of Records, by riding the world's tallest bicycle. He made his record attempt over the weekend. Jones was perched on his bike seat, more than 12 feet above the ground. He rode around a parking lot in Warner Robins, Georgia. But 12-year-old Jack Walter wasn't impressed. He said Jones looked stupid and the kid wanted to see him fall. But Jones didn't oblige. The aviation mechanic stayed upright on the big bike and says it was pretty scary. He hopes to hear from the Guinness people within a month.

Lost Bracelet Recovered 60 Years Later

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The last time Virginia "Ginny" Moore saw her first husband, in 1944, he was headed overseas to fight in World War II, wearing a silver identification bracelet she gave him.

Marcus L. Comer's name and Army serial number were engraved on one side, the words "Love, Ginny" graced the other.

When he was killed Jan. 14, 1945, during the Battle of the Bulge, Moore thought the bracelet was forever lost. But almost 60 years later, the piece of jewelry is back in her life.

Moore, 79, received a call from a Belgian police officer who said he found the bracelet inside a fox hole in a forest near Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, Belgium.

"I was just dumbfounded," said Moore, who remarried. "I couldn't believe it. I said, `Please don't hang up."'

The officer, Lorenzo Maierna, told Moore he wants to keep it for a World War II museum he plans to open to commemorate the liberation of Belgium from the Germans.

Moore said she had been thinking a lot about the bracelet and she would like to get it back.

"I feel like it's part of my husband," she said. "And I'd like to just hold it in my hand."

Soup Factory Exudes Foul 'Odor Puff'

WOODINVILLE, Wash. - The reek from the StockPot soup factory is back, and so are complaints from neighbors of the Campbell Soup Co. subsidiary.

"I can always tell when it's Tuesday," said Stephen Koplan, who lives about three miles north of the plant. "You can wake up on a Tuesday and the stench will be so bad it's nauseating. It's that B.O. smell.

"If I drive on (Washington) 522, my car will smell like it the rest of the day, and my home, the garage, the whole house. It's just disgusting."

StockPot has paid $18,000 in fines because of the odors, traced mainly to production of onion soup, and installed equipment to spray an odor-reducing enzyme into the exhaust system, officials said. For a time, that seemed to work.

"We even got a few e-mails thanking us, believe it or not," said Jim Nolan, compliance director of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.

StockPot president Kathleen Horner blamed weather conditions for the recent complaints.

"We sit in a valley out here," she said. "It's an inversion zone. Cold air can get trapped, and when it warms up you get an 'odor puff."'

Additional spending doesn't make sense if King County builds a proposed sewage treatment plant on neighboring land, Campbell's officials said. In March the company asked the county to buy out StockPot's lease, which runs through 2012.

"We're not delaying things," Horner said, "but there is the question about how much to invest in this building before we know what King County is going to do."

Nolan said he would meet with company officials soon to discuss the issue.