The Odd Truth, April 9, 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.

Dolly The Sheep Doll

LONDON - The preserved body of Dolly the sheep, who gained worldwide fame as the world's first mammal cloned from an adult, went on display Wednesday at a Scottish museum.

Dolly, whose birth in 1996 was heralded as a scientific landmark but triggered heated debate about the ethics of cloning, was put to death Feb. 14 after a veterinarian confirmed she had a fatal lung disease. She was 6.

The Roslin Institute donated Dolly's remains to the National Museums of Scotland, where her skin was pickled and tanned to preserve it before being stretched over a fiberglass mold of her body and mounted on a straw-covered plinth.

Ian Wilmut, who led the team that cloned Dolly, said Wednesday that his pride at seeing her on display at Edinburgh's Royal Museum was tinged with sadness at her death from the lung tumor.

"It's not so many weeks ago since she was alive and in the barn, but we're very proud that's she in here," he said. "She will go on reminding people of the fact that scientific progress was made in Edinburgh which is making people think very differently about this aspect of biology."

Money Down The Drain

TUSCALOOSA - A Tuscaloosa man took the term flushing your cash down the drain literally. Well, almost.

Police say 21-year-old Travis Leon Jackson flooded three hotel rooms when he tried to flush counterfeit bills down a toilet as police officers raided his room Monday.

Jackson was charged with first-degree criminal mischief after allegedly causing more than $1,000 damage to his third-floor room and the ones below while trying to flush the fake cash.

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating and Jackson could also face federal charges.

The money was printed in $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Officers seized a color printer, currency and other items relating to counterfeiting when they arrested Jackson.

Police also say they found large quantities of marijuana at Jackson's home.

Cop Pleads Guilty In Forced Strippings

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A former police officer pleaded guilty to charges that he forced four women to strip after he pulled them over for traffic violations.

Prosecutors said Frank Wright, 36, forced one woman to walk home wearing only her underwear. He pleaded guilty to civil rights violations carrying up to five years and three months in prison.

No sentencing date was set, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanford Cohen said. A telephone call to Wright's attorney for comment Tuesday was not returned.

Court documents filed by federal prosecutors in February accused Wright of mistreating more than a dozen women, while on patrol on Long Island between 1998 and 2000.

Several women said they were driven to isolated locations, sometimes in handcuffs, after they were stopped by Wright. Some were released without being forced to disrobe.

Bad Hair Years

ST. LOUIS - A woman is suing a suburban St. Louis hair salon, claiming failed work on her hair caused her depression and the loss of her job.

Geremie Hoff is suing the Elizabeth Arden Salon, where she went in August 2001 to get her hair straightened or relaxed.

Hoff's attorney, Paul Devine, said Monday that the work on Hoff's hair was so bad that Hoff "shut down. She spiraled into a depression because, right or wrong, looks were important to her."

The salon's attorney, Lawrence Hartstein, told the jury in his opening statement that the stylist, Raye Hudson, had performed "hundreds if not thousands of these procedures" and did nothing wrong in treating Hoff's hair.

Devine alleged that Hudson failed to do a test strand before applying a hair product.

Hoff, now 56, was a teacher at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a tour guide for trips to Italy. Devine alleged some of Hoff's hair fell out after the treatment, and weeks later she had a bald spot in back, "and her hair stuck out like a bird's nest."

Hoff took early retirement from teaching and stopped taking tour groups to Italy, Devine said. He added that a psychiatrist and a counselor will testify about her depression.

Bird Smokes In Bed, Burns Down Home

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Take one nest-building bird, add a smoldering cigarette butt and officials say they know what caused a house fire.

Fire Chief Donald Konkle said investigators found a large nest in the ceiling of the house damaged in the March 28 blaze. They determined a bird picked up a smoldering cigarette butt to use in building the nest.

Konkle said there were no other possible sources of fire in the area.

"The nest was 60 percent consumed and we weren't able to interview the bird," he said. "I believe he's homeless."

Mayor Stephen R. Reed cautioned residents against flicking lit cigarettes.

"This is at least littering, and if there are nearby birds building a nest, which they do in the spring months because of egg laying, there is a chance the cigarette winds up in the nest," Reed said.

Beethoven's Ninth Up For Auction

LONDON - A piece of music history is up for sale at Sotheby's in London.

The last manuscript of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony could sell for $4.6 million at an auction next month.

Almost all of the 575 pages of sheet music are noted with Beethoven's revisions. Some are minor tempo changes. But Beethoven's insults at the person who copied the work are also scrawled on the music.

At one point, Beethoven calls the copyist a "damned fool."

Sotheby's head of manuscripts describes the Ninth as "one of the greatest works every written by man." And he adds that this may be the last time a full Beethoven manuscript goes on the market.

Sotheby's says the current owner of the manuscript is a private foundation.

Wipe That Smile Off Your Face!

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The city council is wrestling with a code of conduct that urges elected officials to control facial gestures.

Experts say the council's plan to discourage nonverbal forms of disagreement or disgust is odd, unenforceable and almost an infringement on free speech.

"You'd be thinking all the time, 'What expression do I have on my face?'," said University of Kansas Professor Burdett Loomis, who specializes in political civility. "When is someone frowning? Maybe that's their ordinary look."

Palo Alto is the only city in Santa Clara County without a conduct handbook, according to Mayor Dena Mossar. The council began drafting one almost a year ago.

Council member Judy Kleinberg, who led the committee that drafted the guidelines, believes members should show each other more respect.

The eight-pages of proposed protocols will be reviewed by the City Council May 5.

Easter Bunny Busted In Prison Smuggling Scheme

PORT MANATEE, Fla. - An effort at playing Easter Bunny has put a Manatee County jail employee behind the bars he used to guard.

Authorities say Jesse Penaloza is charged with smuggling Easter candy, Mountain Dew and cigarettes into the jail to sell to an inmate. He's charged with bringing contraband to a correctional facility and other crimes.

Penaloza, who had worked on the jail's farm since 1996, was fired after his arrest. The Manatee County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation last week after receiving a tip.

Investigators say Penaloza twice was seen accepting $100 from an inmate's family member in exchange for soda, tobacco, rolling papers, and Rockin' Rabbit candy. The jail is a no-smoking facility but does sell soda and candy at its commissary.