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The Odd Truth, Nov. 26, 2004

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

Man Carves Turkey, Father

WORCESTER, Mass. - A man is charged with stabbing two relatives who allegedly criticized his table manners during Thanksgiving dinner.

Police say the fight broke out when 18-year-old Gonzalo Ocasio, Jr., 18, and his 49-year-old father, Gonzalo Ocasio, reprimanded an uncle for picking at the turkey with his fingers, instead of slicing off pieces with a knife, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Friday.

The uncle, 24-year-old Frank Palacious, of Worcester, allegedly responded by stabbing them with a carving knife.

The father and son were being treated for stab wounds at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Palacious is charged with two counts of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to murder.

Sacre Bleu!

LONDON - A soft, pungent cheese from northern France has topped a British researchers' study of the world's whiffiest cheeses.

Academics at Cranfield University north of London said Friday that Vieux Boulogne, a Normandy cheese made from cows' milk, was the smelliest of 15 cheeses tested. Two other Normandy cheeses, Pont l'Eveque and Camembert, came second and third.

Scientists at the university used human sniffers and a computer-linked "electronic nose" to rank the cheeses by odorousness.

Stephen White, who led the research, said the smelliest cheeses were those whose rinds had been washed in brine, brandy or - as with Vieux Boulogne - beer.

"There was no obvious correlation between the age of the selected cheeses and smelliness, nor type of milk origin, although cows' milk cheeses did dominate the smell chart," White said.

Vieux Boulogne owes its distinctive orange color and pungent smell to the brushing of its rind with beer during the two months it spends aging in cellars around the town of Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France.

The top 10 whiffy dairy products in the survey, commissioned by a group that promotes French cheese in Britain, came from France. Munster, a cow milk's cheese from the eastern regions of Alsace and Lorraine, was fourth, followed by Brie de Meaux and Roquefort.

Hard cheeses, such as Parmesan and English cheddar, were the least smelly of those tested.

Israeli Commandos Busted For Nude Photo

JERUSALEM - Six Israeli naval commandos have been suspended from service for posing nude in a picture published in an Israeli newspaper.

They were summoned by their commander and removed from active duty. All six are five-year veterans of the elite unit and were due to be discharged in February.

The discipline is being criticized by the soldiers' families as well as Israeli media as being too harsh.

The soldiers were at the Golan Heights in the snow and had a picture taken while their pants were down. Their faces were blurred in accordance with censorship rules that prohibits identification of elite units.

The matter will be decided by the head of the navy and chief of staff.

The Mother Of All Strudels

VIENNA, Austria - Hermann Heindl, a baker from the Vienna suburb of Himberg, made a run at the Guinness Book of Records with a 2,731-pound apple strudel, Austrian media reported Friday.

Although his giant confection still needs official approval, it appeared to significantly surpass the previous record strudel, which Heindl said measured just under 784 feet long. His came out at just over 1,200 feet.

Heindl told the Austria Press Agency it took him and two assistants five days working 10-hour shifts to bake the giant dessert.

The recipe reads like a freight declaration:

1,786 pounds of apples, 181 pounds of sugar, 172 pounds of flour, 119 pounds of margarine, 88 pounds of raisins, 9.7 gallons of water, 6.6 gallons of rum, 2.6 gallons of oil, 4.4 pounds of cinnamon and 3.3 pounds of salt.

Heindl baked the behemoth strudel as part of a celebration for a local yeast manufacturer that opened a new headquarters south of Vienna.

He didn't say who would eat the monster dessert or how much milk it might take to wash it down.

A Risotto To Go With Your Strudel

SYDNEY, Australia - Aid workers and celebrity chefs created a stir on the banks of Sydney Harbor on Friday by cooking up what they hoped will be the world's largest risotto - a seven-ton tub of rice and peas - to raise awareness of world hunger.

"There are literally tens of thousands of children dying every week from malnutrition," said Robert Glasser, Chief Executive of Aid agency CARE Australia.

He said the Sydney cook off also would raise awareness of the role rice can play in combating world hunger.

Cooks used oar-sized paddles to stir up 3,527 pounds of uncooked rice with 1,162 gallons of vegetable stock, 1,764 pounds of frozen peas and 705 pounds of parmesan cheese before selling plates of the finished dish to raise money.

Event organizers expect the finished pea and saffron risotto to weigh over 15,432 pounds. In a statement, they said no record exists for the largest risotto, but added that the record for the largest rice dish stands at 13,889 pounds.

The results from Friday's cook-off were to be checked by an official from the Guinness World Records, event organizers said.

Elderly Gambling Club Shut-Down

BROCKTON, Mass. - Police have shut down what they said was an illegal gambling club, an establishment frequented mostly by senior citizens looking for a place to try their luck on video poker and card games.

The club, located in a Main Street professional building just steps away from a day-care center, was in operation for at least three years, authorities said.

The alleged ringleader, Charles J. Matta, 65, was charged with several gambling-related counts. He said the club's clientele included mainly bored old-timers.

"We're a bunch of old people looking for something to do," he said from his subsidized high-rise apartment. "You got people sitting around all day waiting to die."

Matta was arrested Monday when he arrived at the club, which went by the name New England Salesmen's Association.

A second man, Roy P. Marian, 57, was charged with gaming and unlawful selling or keeping alcohol for sale. Two women who were hostesses also will be charged, police said.

Police used an undercover officer to gather evidence. Seized were seven video poker machines, playing cards and poker chips, and records listing names and amounts owed or paid out, Lt. William Conlon said.