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The Odd Truth, Nov. 11, 2002

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.

When Bad Things Happen To Good Cars

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - Imagine this driver's surprise.

Firefighters who were practicing with the Jaws of Life ended up making a big mistake -- by cutting up the wrong car.

It all started Friday, when Antonio Rocha parked his car behind the fire department's headquarters -- right next to two other cars that firefighters planned to use for their drill.

Firefighters never gave it a second thought.

When Rocha returned, he found his 1998 Honda Accord minus a roof and doors.

This Wild Turkey Is Too Wild

OBERLIN, Ohio - This is one tough turkey.

A 15-pound wild turkey has been pestering residents of this northeast Ohio community and eluding trappers who want to capture it. The bird has chased after schoolchildren and pets, trapped people in cars and left its droppings on porches.

"Most people think it's a poor, cute little wild turkey," animal trapper Dave Thorn said. "People begin feeding the wild animals, which is the wrong thing to do because, basically, this turkey has taken over this territory."

Thorn said the bird may be roosting in the chimney of Prospect Elementary School, where it has been swooping on the playground. Principal Linda Dawson said the turkey has gotten bolder with children, raising fears about attacks.

Lorain County wildlife officer Dave Shinko said he has gotten 20 complaints about the bird. He said it will be killed once it is caught and could be donated to a food bank.

"But who knows if it's even any good," Shinko said. "I mean, we're not talking Butterball here."

Will Sabu And Pinky Find Love?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Will a May-September romance work? Zoo keepers in Springfield, Missouri, hope so. Sabu the young male Asian elephant is on breeding loan to the Dickerson Park Zoo.

It's hoped that sparks will fly with Pinky, a 38-year-old experienced female. Dickerson Park keepers leave the concrete doors to the pens slightly open overnight, in hopes of fostering a relationship.

Elephants communicate by touch, sound and scent. So far, Sabu is making the right moves with his trunk, sniffing in Pinky's direction. But if nature doesn't take its course, the zoo keepers say artificial insemination is an option.

Chip Chompin' Cherry Nutter

GLENDALE, Calif. - It sounds like a recipe only Elvis could love: a peanut butter sandwich with chocolate chips, crispy rice cereal, powdered sugar and dried cherries.

But the "Chip Chompin' Cherry Nutter" won 7-year-old Emily McComas the grand prize in a "Got Milk?" recipe contest.

"This was a very creative and very good-tasting sandwich — it won hands down," said Jeff Manning, executive director of the California Milk Processor Board.

Emily and her family won a trip to New York City, where her sandwich was unveiled at Peanut Butter and Co., a Greenwich Village deli that specializes in peanut butter sandwiches.

Emily's recipe licked more than 100 other entries, including one by her brother. Among the contenders were "Rainbow in the Clouds," which included marshmallow fluff, bananas and M&Ms, and "Caribbean Nut Butter Sandwich," made with banana, shredded coconut and pineapple.

Thai-ing One On

NEW YORK - Thailand may not spring immediately to mind on a list of wine-growing countries. But a French-born winemaker is doing his best to put it there.

At the recent Vinexpo New York, Siam Winery was showing off its products, meant as a complement to Thai cuisine.

Siam is one of just a handful of winemakers in the country, and the only one that's producing uniquely Thai wines.

Winemaker Laurent Metge-Toppin says Thai restaurants are so popular all over the world, it's worth a try to make wines to go with the food.

"You go to a French restaurant, you drink a French wine," he says. "Now you can go to a Thai restaurant and drink a Thai wine."

Graduation Day

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Decades after being asked to interrupt their studies and defend their country, 40 veterans of World War II and the Korean War are finally receiving high school diplomas.

"I feel wonderful," said Frank Curcio, who joined the Air Force one month shy of his high school graduation in 1944 and now volunteers at a local hospital. "I can't wait."

After a career working for UPS, Curcio, an 80-year-old Bronx native, recently tried to volunteer with the sheriff's department, but was rejected because he lacked a diploma.

That will change Monday in a ceremony at Dunbar High School, replete with caps, gowns and marching to "Pomp and Circumstance."

The school is honoring men from 13 states who now live in Lee County.

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