News of the Weird

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In the course of 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 breast-feeding to bring that activity in line with the production of other consumable milk. One female economist also pointed out that breast-feeding income would logically subject women to breast-feeding taxes.

The animal-food company Ralston Purina introduced this year, from its subsidiary Purina Philippines, 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 five million "gaming" roosters.

Recent Protests

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. And in West Union, Ohio, last winter, Berry Baker, 54, protested the school district's placing 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.)

Witches on the Move

On May 10, the diversity-seeking Oregon Senate permitted Wiccan high priestess Cleda Johnson to provide the traditional session-opening blessing. And in June a coalition of Christian organizations, along with U.S. Representative Bob Barr, demanded that Fort Hood, located in Killeen, 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 at full moons. (Wiccan groups have also been sanctioned for U.S. military bases in Louisiana, Alaska, Florida, Okinawa and Germany.)

Least Competent Criminals

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

John Michael Haydt, 34, was arrested in Mountain View, California, in April and charged with burglary after he called 911 to rescue him from the Danish Concepts furniture store at 2 a.m. According to police, Haydt had broken in through a window but had cut himself so badly that he didn't think he could climb back out.

By Chuck Shepherd


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