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The Odd Truth, Nov. 15, 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.

Bank-Robbing Barfly

TAUNTON, Mass. - Lots of guys like to stop for a beer after finishing a job. But getting brew after a bank job isn't such a good idea. Police in Taunton, Massachusetts, say a bank robbery suspect had a brewski just two blocks away from the scene of the crime. Detective Dennis Smith says the beer "did him in." The bar manager at an American Legion post told police that suspect Joaquim Grace was a regular customer. Witnesses said Grace ran into the American Legion had a quick beer and hailed a cab. He was busted at his home, where detectives say they found some of the stolen loot.

Smooth Move, Sacramento

HELENA, Mont. - The cooking grease didn't help -- but it has gotten some college football players in hot water. Officials of the Big Sky Conference confirm that players from Sacramento State greased their jerseys during their 31-to-24 loss at Montana last weekend. Now the league and Sacramento State are trying to figure out how many players sprayed PAM on their uniforms. They also want to know if the coaches knew about it. Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton calls it a serious ethical breach, because it was planned before the game. A photographer even took a picture of the PAM spraying on the sidelines.

Not Exactly Sunday School

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Unlike Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a Martinsburg woman saw no reason to cover her nakedness as she read the Bible this week at Shepherd College.

Barbara Marie Harmison, 49, was charged with indecent exposure, disturbance of school and disorderly conduct, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Campus police on Tuesday told Harmison she couldn't preach unless she received permission from the school's student affairs department, court records said.

Later that day, police received a call that she "was reading from the Bible and she was totally nude" on the steps of a building on campus. Her clothes were in a pile beside her.

"There were people standing all over and there were classes going on," Patrolman R.A. Houchins said.

The woman did not say why she was reading the Bible while nude.

Oxford Dictionary Includes 'Bushisms'

LONDON - President Bush makes a strong showing in a new book of quotations released Thursday.

"Bushisms" in the second edition of the "Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation," include the president's declaration: "We are ready for any unforeseen event which may or may not happen."

The other "Bushisms" include the president's words of wisdom at the 2001 Yale University commencement: "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the 'C' students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States."

The thematically arranged dictionary includes quotations, colloquialisms and memorable turns of phrase on more than 350 topics.

Other new entries in this edition also include the "Star Trek" phrase, "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it," and the expressions "licensed to kill," "Generation X" and "It girl."

Sex Worker Arts Festival Hits Tucson

TUCSON - Dancers, porn stars and gigolos were here for a festival aimed at destigmatizing the sex industry and removing some of the shame associated with those who work in it.

"It's educational, community-building, an attempt to take the silence away. Sex workers are marginalized. This is about unheard voices," said Juliana Piccillo, co-director of the 2002 Sex Worker Arts Festival.

Besides applause, the festival, which includes documentary films about the sex worker industry, poetry, dance, photography and music, is drawing criticism.

At issue is a $2,700 grant from the Tucson/Pima Arts Council that the festival is using, plus the fact that two festival sessions take place on University of Arizona property.

"Universities make judgments on what to discuss everyday — it's called curriculum; this trash has no place in one of our state's universities," said House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, in a prepared statement.

An event at the UA that took place Thursday was titled "Sex Slaves: The Truth About Trafficking." The forum included as speakers social worker and former exotic dancer, Dawn Passar, and global sex-work activist Carol Leigh, who has worked as a prostitute, artist and activist in the San Francisco area for 20 years.

Threat Of The Class

OCEANSIDE, Calif. - A fifth-grade California boy has been suspended for writing a list of 50 classmates he wanted to suffer for teasing him.

Another student found the list last week in a notebook.

Police and school officials in Oceanside say the boy had been taunted in a physical-education class.

They say they don't believe the boy intended to harm anyone, but nonetheless are treating the incident seriously.

The boy has been suspended for five days for violating the district's zero-tolerance policy on threats of violence.

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