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The Odd Truth, Nov. 5, 2004

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

Teen Funny-Money Spree

WEST BEND, Wis. - Four teens used funny money for fast food, taxis and other purchases before they were caught and charged with forgery for printing the fake funds on a home computer.

Police Sgt. Gus Unertl said Wednesday that three 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy were caught after some merchants noticed the $5 bills were fake.

"If you looked at it real quick, it appeared to be legitimate money," he said. "You might not notice anything wrong if you didn't hold it up to the light. But the question is, if you're doing a quick transaction at McDonald's, do you hold it up to the light?"

Unertl said authorities filed state charges of forgery instead of seeking federal counterfeiting charges because of the suspects' ages and because of the small denomination of the bills.

Washington County juvenile authorities will recommend whether the boys will face a delinquency hearing. The four have been released to custody of their parents.

Police confiscated computer equipment believed to have been used by one boy to print the bills, Unertl said.

Fat Americans Weighing Down Airplanes

ATLANTA - America's bulging waistlines are now weighing down the airline industry, requiring more and more fuel to get planes into the air.

A report out of the Centers for Disease Control says in the year 2000, airlines had to spend an extra $275 million on fuel in order to carry the extra weight of passengers.

The government agency says it's highlighting the problem in hopes that people realize the obesity epidemic has many serious consequences.

The average weight of Americans rose by ten pounds in the 1990's. For airlines, that's meant tons of extra weight and fuel.

The air companies say they've already cut down on other types of weight - tossing thick magazines and moving from metal forks to plastic ones.

Fighter Jet Accidentally Fires On N.J. School

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. - A commander in the New Jersey National Guard says a fighter jet that accidentally fired on an elementary school actually meant to hit a target more than three miles away.

Colonel Brian Webster says he doesn't know what happened that led to the school getting shot up.

The F-16 fighter jet strafed the school in Little Egg Harbor with 25 rounds of rapid-fire ammunition late Wednesday night.

No one was injured, though there was a custodian inside.

Webster says the plane was 7,000 feet in the air when it fired the two-inch lead bullets.

The military says it's investigating what happened.

Schools across New Jersey were closed yesterday because of a teachers convention.

Civics Lesson Gets Steamy

SOUTHLAKE, Texas - Officials at a North Texas school say an Election Day civics lesson for some third-graders inadvertently included a sexually explicit videotape.

Some students at Johnson Elementary School in Southlake saw the video as they were leaving an auditorium Tuesday.

School district officials say teachers had removed an unmarked tape from a video player and played a lesson on the three branches of government.

Afterward, a teacher returned the original video to the VCR. That adult video began playing as teachers led students out of the auditorium.

Officials say the video was quickly stopped and that most students didn't see it.

The video player hadn't been used since last month, when vandals broke into the school.

Doctors Condemn Roach-Eater TV Show

BANGKOK, Thailand - Doctors on Friday urged that a TV program set to show a man eating live centipedes and cockroaches be canceled, saying it might endanger the lives of copycat youngsters.

Local newspapers published front-page photographs of Wek Srikhaimook - nicknamed "Wek Cockroach" - eating the insects during a taping of the show, which is to be aired Monday.

Wek says he's been eating the creatures for more than 10 years and appeared on one television show three years ago munching on cockroaches.

He claims that he's experienced no ill effects, but several experts disagree.

"Human beings should not eat live cockroaches and centipedes because the insects carry poison and bacteria which will cause damage to the liver in the long run," Alongkorn Mahanop, a veterinarian, told a local radio station.

"I also would urge the media to be cautious in publishing or broadcasting such kind of weird eating practices because it will set a bad example for the young," he said.

Golf Tournaments Included Prostitutes, Stippers

NORCO, California - Two golf course managers and a tournament organizer were sentenced to house arrest for hosting two competitions featuring prostitutes and strippers stationed along the putting greens.

Superior Court Judge Christian F. Thierbach chided the three for their "immoral and illegal actions" at the so-called girlie tournaments in spring 2002.

More than a dozen prostitutes and strippers, including a 16-year-old girl, set up tents and advertised their services on boards, officials said. About 160 golfers paid $200 apiece to play, though some showed up without their clubs, officials said.

Sheriff's deputies wearing camouflage raided the second tournament, detaining 90 golfers and 17 strippers and alleged prostitutes, along with golf course workers.

Event organizer Sandy Juarez, 39, was accused of providing the prostitutes. In a deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to corrupt public morals and testified against Hidden Valley Golf Club general manager Jason Wood, 38, and his former assistant, Darren James Bollinger, 30. The pair pleaded guilty in July to the same charge.

All three were sentenced to 125 days of house arrest.

Two golfers have been convicted of engaging in prostitution, and the mother of the 16-year-old prostitute is charged with child endangerment and prostitution.

Bad News For Robber: Bank Has No Money

KENNESAW, Ga. - Police say a Marietta man learned there's little money to be gained from attempting to rob a bank that is still under construction.

A report at the Kennesaw Police Department says 39-year-old Michael Donald Marshall entered the Bank of America Wednesday and demanded 500 dollars from the tellers while threatening that he had a gun.

Police say the employees told him the bank was not open for business and there was no money. Police arrived as Marshall left the building empty handed.

Marshall is charged with armed robbery. Police also learned that Marshall had an outstanding warrant for shoplifting in Cobb County.