The Odd Truth, Oct. 28, 2003

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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.

Toilet Scholar

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Few people enjoy bathroom humor as much as Mary Frazier Long. In fact, the 71-year-old retired schoolteacher often gets phone calls from strangers, looking to share a few dirty jokes of their own.

That's because Long has spent almost 20 years collecting photos, stories, jokes and interesting information about outhouses, which are fast becoming a thing of the past, she said.

"The first thing people tear down when they're moving up is the privy. By the 1990s, there were few left in Gwinnett County," she said.

In 1984, Long and her husband, Dean, published a book called "Old Georgia Privies," with photographs of Georgian outhouses, accompanied by pertinent poems and sayings.

When she retired a decade later, the Lawrenceville resident began lecturing around the state to civic clubs and church groups. She donates fees from her talk, titled Privial Pursuits, and profits from book sales to scholarship funds.

Long also has documented presidential privies, historic privies, ancient privies and European privies.

At a German castle, she learned that the outhouse opened onto a moat below, "making moats more dangerous than we ever thought."

Long said she's learned more about outhouses than she ever wanted to know and offers this sage advice: "Don't ever site your privy under an apple tree, because all those apples dropping on you will break your concentration."

Idaho, Vodka Country?

GRANT, Idaho - These spuds make good spirits.

A little vodka operation in the heart of Idaho's potato country found itself in rare company with last week's release of the 2003 International Review of Spirits.

Silver Creek Distillers' Blue Ice Vodka was given a 93 rating - second only to the Stolichnaya from Russia and Monopolowa from Austria, each with a score of 94.

Silver Creek's other potato vodka, Teton Glacier, received a 92 rating and earned a gold medal.

The results are a pretty sure sign that Idaho potatoes have what it takes to make world-class vodka, said Gray Ottley, Silver Creek's director of strategic planning and customer relations.

Blue Ice is ready to launch a major marketing campaign in the coming year.

"They haven't branded the product yet," Ottley said. "Right now it's just vodka in a pretty bottle."

Grin And Bear It

ARLINGTON, Wash. - Corky and Pumpkin were together when they were seized by agents in a drug raid at the Canadian border. Together, they were nursed back to health.

This week, the two black bears will leave the Sarvey Wildlife Center together to join more than 600 creatures at the nonprofit Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio.

"They went through the abuse together and are bonded to each other," Sarvey volunteer Jeff Guidry said. "When something is happening to one, the other gets very upset and tries to defend. They're absolutely inseparable."

The bears were seized Jan. 27 when U.S. Customs agents found 166 pounds of marijuana in a trailer carrying the bears at the border crossing in Blaine on Jan. 27.

At the time, the bears weighed 300 to 400 pounds, rather than the normal 200 to 300, because they had been fed whole turkeys. They couldn't climb and their teeth and claws were broken.

After months of eating fruits, vegetables, berries and breads, each has lost more than 100 pounds. Both have shiny coats and are energetic and playful, Guidry said.

During the drug raid, agents arrested Duane Christopher Bradley of Abbotsford, British Columbia, who pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 3-and-a-half years in prison.

At the time of his arrest, Bradley told investigators he was taking the bears to Hollywood for a movie.

Getaway Cab Helps Nab Bank Robber

SALT LAKE CITY - A cab driver who shuttled a man to and from a U.S. Bank branch is getting a $2,000 reward.

That's because he pointed authorities to his client who, police said, robbed the bank Nov. 12.

But the cab driver's information alone didn't do the trick.

Five months later, the U.S. Bank branch was robbed again. Information from another witness let police to the same suspect, Salt Lake County Deputy Sheriff Peggy Faulkner said.

The suspect, Steven Early, has been charged in federal court in the two bank robberies.

The second witness also is getting a $2,000 reward, police said.

Faulkner said these are examples of how the public can assist law enforcement.

"We can't promise you will all get a check, but you will always get our appreciation," she said.

Double The Pleasure

MILPITAS, Calif. - A Northern California couple not only wins the state lottery - they also get a commission on the ticket sale. Narinder Badwal and his wife, Lilla Singh, will get half the $99 million Super Lotto jackpot. They'll share the prize with another couple that also had the winning numbers. Badwal owns a 7-Eleven store - and sold himself the winning ticket. So, he and his wife will get more than $247,000 as a commission on the ticket sale - along with the jackpot.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Champion

TORONTO - You may know it as a childhood game, but it was deadly serious for hundreds of contestants at the second annual "Rock Paper Scissors" championship in Toronto.

When it was over, 31-year-old Rob Krueger of Toronto was the winner, hands down. He won by throwing "paper" to an opponent's "rock."

First prize was $3,750.

Miss Thailand Is A Missus

BANGKOK, Thailand - The second runner-up at the Miss Thailand World contest has been stripped of her title after judges discovered she was actually a missus.

Chatuporn "Joy" Saengthong, who came third in the pageant Saturday, was exposed after a Thai newspaper published a 1996 wedding photograph of her and her husband.

Chatuporn has been disqualified and will not receive the $7,500 prize, a statement by the organizers said Tuesday. Chatuporn was not immediately available for comment.

"People who apply to compete in Miss Thailand World have to be single," said Sirikorn Phuekcan, a spokeswoman for the pageant's organizers.

Sirikorn said Chatuporn, 24, indicated on her application that she was single.

"It's written that it's forbidden to be married, or have ever gotten married," Sirikorn told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "If she got married - and even has pictures of the wedding, the groom and the banquet - it's wrong."

The pageant committee does not intend to place anyone into the second runner-up position to replace her.

According to Thai Rath, which published her wedding picture, Chatuporn also won the 1994 Miss Watermelon title in her home province of Suphanburi, 60 miles north of Bangkok.