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The Odd Truth, Oct. 13, 2003

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


Top Speed Toilets

VIRGINIA CITY, Nev. - With such names as "Pee II" and the "Urinator," they rolled down the main drag of this old western town before cheering fans and awe-struck visitors.

Welcome to Virginia City's annual Outhouse Races. To the winner goes the Royal Flush Trophy.

"It's bizarre," said Brett Coleman, 30, of Seattle, who was visiting a friend in nearby Carson City. "But it combines two popular things: restrooms and racing."

The races began in 1999 and are inspired from the time, decades ago, when Storey County banned outhouses and citizens protested by putting their outhouses on wheels and parading them down Main Street, organizers said.

Twenty-two outhouses and portable toilets competed over the weekend.

The outhouses must be at least 6 feet tall and weight 200 pounds, contain a toilet and toilet paper and have a maximum of three people pushing. Those who fail to meet the weight requirement suffer the ultimate penalty - walking two blocks through town carrying a 50-pound sack of manure.

Motors, sails, dog teams and gas-assisted propulsion are prohibited.

The Royal Flush Trophy is a glass outhouse, but other prizes include a toilet seat and bedpan.

Surf's Up?

SAO PAULO, Brazil - The pale complexion of a man who tried to check two surf boards on an international flight aroused the suspicion of Brazilian airport security officials, who said they found nearly 15.5 pounds of cocaine hidden in a package between the boards.

Luis Alberto Faria Cafiero, 27, was arrested Friday in Sao Paulo before boarding a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, with a connection to Bali, Indonesia.

"He did not look like a person who's always out on the beach," said federal police officer Isaias Santos Vilela. "He did not have a surfer's typical tan."

Want To Beat This Guy? Don't Hold Your Breath

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico - You don't want to get in a breath-holding contest with Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras.

Ferreras broke his world record for no-limits free diving Sunday, descending 558 feet in Los Cabos Bay on just one breath.

The dive took about 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Ferreras plummeted to record depth using a weighted sled, then rocketed to the surface when his air tanks inflated.

Ferreras, who was born in Cuba but lives in Miami, founded the International Association of Free Divers. He set the mark of 531 1/2 feet in January 2000.

But it's dangerous business.

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of his wife, Audrey Mestre. She died after plunging into waters off the Dominican Republic with a target depth of 561 feet.

After Ferreras' record dive, fans presented him with a bouquet. He threw the white flowers into the ocean one by one in tribute to his wife.

Heart Attack On A Stick

PHOENIX - Call it a heart attack on a stick. Visitors to the Arizona State Fair can climb the Mount Everest of cholesterol with a fried cheeseburger. It's ground beef wrapped around a stick, then wrapped in cheese, coated in batter and deep-fried. The final product looks like an oversized corn dog. If that's not enough, fair-goers also have the Kaktus Kutter. It's a chunk of hot pepper cheese stuffed inside a green chili, then wrapped in roast beef, turkey or ham. The whole thing is batter-dipped and deep-fried. For desert, there's always fried Twinkies.

Real Estate That's Out Of This World

MELBOURNE, Australia - Now here's a gift that's really out of this world.

A new real estate agency, Lunar Realty, based in the southern Australian city of Melbourne, opens its doors Tuesday selling one-acre blocks on the moon for $40 and 10-acre "lifestyle" blocks for about $200.

Businessman Paul Jackson, 33, announced Monday he had bought the Australian rights to sell the land from Nevada-based entrepreneur Dennis Hope.

Hope, of Gardnerville, Nev., has been cashing in since 1980 on what he said was an apparent loophole in the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty barring nations from laying claim to the moon but saying nothing about individuals.

Hope registered a claim for the moon and planets with the United States, the Soviet government and the United Nations and, operating as Lunar Embassy, has been selling plots of extraterrestrial real estate ever since.

Jackson said two million people from 180 countries have bought a slice of the moon since 1980.

"I would be extremely happy if one day we got the chance to live on the moon," said Jackson, who has bought an acre of land for himself. "I look at the world around us and think stranger things have happened."

Man Charged For Slaughtering Goats

PAWTUCKET, R.I. - An apartment tenant has admitted he slaughtered two goats in the building in which he lives.

Neighbors called police Wednesday after seeing Pedro Rodrigues lead the goats into the building's basement. The neighbors later found a pool of blood on the basement floor.

Rodrigues told police he killed the goats, so a friend could cook them, the Times of Pawtucket reported. The 36-year-old said he slit their throats, and lay them on the floor to bleed out. Fearing that police may think he killed a person, Rodrigues had his friend produce the goat's carcasses.

City law prohibits residents from keeping goats and other livestock. Rodrigues will face a misdemeanor charge, police said.