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Featherweight champions

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Earlier this year, the Purina Philippines subsidiary of the Ralston Purina animal-food company introduced power chicken feed, designed to build muscles in roosters for the popular "sport" of cockfighting. According to a June Wall Street Journal report, the market for Rooster Booster chow is huge: The Philippines has 5 million "gaming" roosters.

Milk it for all it's worth

In a June report decrying the Canadian economy's discrimination against people who do unpaid work (mostly housework), the feminist group Mothers Are Women called on the government to pay wages to women for breastfeeding services, in order to bring that activity into line with the production of other consumable milk. But a female economist also pointed out that breastfeeding income would logically subject women to breastfeeding taxes.

Thy rod and thy staff

In West Union, Ohio, last winter, Berry Baker, 54, protested the school district's placement of Ten Commandments statues on school lawns by demanding equal space for statues promoting his "Center for Phallic Worship," which he said copies a religion practiced in some countries. (In February, Baker filed a lawsuit against the district; in June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing the Ten Commandments, but not stone phalluses, to be displayed on public property.) And labor activist Dan Craig, 25, accepted a plea bargain in January in Toronto that will keep him out of jail, despite his having protested layoffs at an aerospace plant by suspending himself from a factory ceiling and playing "Amazing Grace" on his bagpipes for four solid hours.

The fair witch project

On May 10, the diversity-seeking Oregon Senate permitted Wiccan high priestess Cleda Johnson to provide the traditional session-opening blessing. But in June, a coalition of Christian organizations, along with U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, demanded that Fort Hood (near Austin, Texas), the Army's largest installation, stop its two-year-old sanctioning of a Wiccan Open Circle group, whose several dozen members dance through the night during full moons. (Wiccan groups have also been sanctioned on bases in Louisiana, Alaska, Florida, Okinawa and Germany.)

Cuff link

Sean Barry, 23, was arrested in Chandler, Ariz., in May after summoning police for help when he couldn't unlock the handcuffs he had playfully put on his wrists. A routine check revealed that Barry had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on a traffic charge. The officers decided to leave the cuffs on him until they got him to the station.

Airing dirty laundry

Gary Patton and two 17-year-olds were arrested in Grand Junction, Colo., in January and charged with robbing a Norwest Bank branch. They were exposed when one of the teen-agers sent a pair of pants to the laundry without checking the pockets, one of which, according to police, contained the trio's holdup note ("Put the money in the bag and don't say a word or I will kill you" ).

Hidden extremities

In January, preparing for a joyous festival at the end of Ramadan, Afghanistan's Taliban government decided to clean up six trees in Kabul, on which had been hanging the amputated left feet of recently convicted robbers. The feet had been exhibited as crime deterrents.

Origin of the feces

The director of the sewer system in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, told reporters in June that gases released by the backup from last year's Hurricane Mitch may cause the city's pipes to burst by winter, thus showering the city with waste. And neither local officials nor the FAA is certain who has been causing the dozen or so instances of fecal bombardment in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, since April; owners of houses hit by the gobs of thick, raw sewage initially blamed airliners, but now suspect an airborne vandal in a smaller plane or someone on the ground using a catapult.


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