The Odd Truth, Oct. 24, 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.

What's In A Name?

NEW YORK - It's all in the name. General Motors Corp. has scrapped plans to replace the Buick Regal with the Buick LaCrosse in Canada because in the French-speaking province of Quebec "lacrosse" means to masturbate. Among other things.

GM Canada spokesman Stew Low told the La Crosse Tribune in Wisconsin last Friday that in Quebec youth culture the word is a new slang term
"(It) means a couple of things, either to masturbate or 'I just got screwed,' or 'I just got taken'" Low told the newspaper in Saturday's copyright editions. "People of our age wouldn't even think twice about (the word.)"

He told the paper he first learned of the new slang usage about six weeks ago. In organized focus groups in Quebec, young participants giggled when they heard the named of the new car, Low said.

La Crosse Mayor John Medinger said Friday was not aware of the slang in Canada until the Tribune told him.

"These slang phrases come and go, and hopefully this one won't stick around too long," Medinger was quoted in the paper.

GM has not said when the Buick LaCrosse will debut. The company said plans to replace the Buick Regal with the Buick LaCrosse in the U.S. will continue, but will give the new car a different name in Canada.

Bank Robber Catches Herself

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - It didn't take much detective work to catch an alleged bank robber in Northern California. Santa Cruz police say Susie Marie Leigh walked into a bank, gave the teller a note demanding cash - and then didn't even try a getaway. After getting the money, police say Leigh told the teller it was OK to call the cops. Officers say she waited outside in her pickup until police arrived. Sergeant Mike Pruger says they usually don't "catch them this easily." He calls the puzzling bank stick-up "one of those for the memoirs."

Bikini Barbers Stir Complaints

SANDY, Utah - Taking a little off the top - is taking on a whole new meaning. The hair-stylists at Bikini Cuts aren't wearing much on top or the bottom. The new hair salon in Sandy, Utah, is raising eyebrows and generating some complaints. Bikini Cuts is in a strip mall near a supermarket and craft store. Some area residents say the stylists have taken off too much. But the owner of Bikini Cuts says the skimpy uniforms are just part of the fun. The owner adds the real goal is to offer a good haircut.

'Shock And Awe' Is Back With A Vengeance

WASHINGTON - A catchphrase from the war against Iraq has come back to haunt the U.S. Patent Office.

One of the most overused cliches from the war to topple Saddam Hussein is the phrase "shock and awe."

The Pentagon used it to describe the intensity of the attack. Now, enterprise has hijacked the phrase.

The U.S. Patent Office has received at least 29 applications to trademark "shock and awe" for various products.

The proposed items include condoms, coffee, video games and Bloody Mary mix.

There are also applications for "shock and awe" golf clubs, fireworks, salsa and energy drinks.

A pesticide with that name would certainly shock and awe the bothersome insects.

Perhaps the most outrageous of the proposals is for "shock and awe" infant action crib toys.

A Passion For Pickles

NEW ORLEANS - Passionate about pickles?

The Pickle Packers International annual Pickle Fair Trade Show was the place to be this week.

The association's two-day show at the Sheraton Hotel featured 250 delegates and 55 booths, and a peck full of information about the condiment eaten by two-thirds of the population.

Americans eat about 1.25 million tons of pickles a year, according to PPI.

Highlights at the show included a presentation by the Pickling Cucumber Improvement Committee - improvements are, it seems, still possible in a process used since "the dawn of civilization" in Mesopotamia - and one on bioterrorism.

Hole In One!

WICHITA FALLS, Texas - Those golf balls came in handy when a man was being chased by police on a Texas golf course.

Eric Goin surrendered outside the Wichita Falls Country Club after he was struck by a golf ball.

Two 17-year-olds were on the driving range when they saw Goin sprint across the grass. They said they teed off and pegged him in the knee.

Police say Goin ran to the golf course after he walked into a furniture store through the back door and workers called police.

Motorcycle patrols followed Goin across the driving range and up a fairway, but the course was not damaged.

Police say Goin will be charged with being drunk in public.

City Votes To Diaper Horses

LUCEDALE, Miss. - The city of Lucedale will require horses to wear diapers when in town.

The new ordinance was approved earlier this month, unbeknowst to horse lovers, some of whom may boycott the city's annual Christmas parade. Last year, the parade drew 250 riders. The law will take effect Nov. 7.

It was the number of riders that was part of the problem, said Lucedale Alderwoman Gladys Hobdy.

"With that many horses, there wasn't no place, you know?" Hobdy said. "There were some pretty horses. They left us with a pretty mess."

The ordinance requires all livestock - horses, cattle, sheep, mules and others - to be diapered.

At Lucedale Livestock, employee Shannon George wasn't sure what sort of device would do the job. But she knew she couldn't fit a diaper on a horse.

"I wouldn't even try," George said. "Maybe a little monkey, but not no horse or something like that."

Rotary Club President Jim Young said the organization, which backed the ordinance, will meet with horse owners and may present aldermen with a compromise.

Billy Rogers, a member of the George County Team Penning Association and parade regular, said he's not even sure if a saddle horse can be "bagged."

"To be honest with you, if I tried to put a bag on her I'd probably get my brains kicked out," he said. "We want to make sure we can ride our horses. And we don't want to bag 'em."