*In September a judge in Santa Monica, California, ruled that test-tube baby Jaycee Louise Buzzanca, age two, has no legal parents. She is the result of donor sperm fertilizing a donor egg in the womb of a surrogate mother. The judge said John and Luanne Buzzanca are "parents" only by surrogacy contract, and since they divorced before Jaycee's birth, those rights were lost (John was happy with the decision because it saves him $386 a month in child support).
*Letter carrier Martha Cherry, age 49, was fired by the U.S. Postal Service in White Plains, New York, in August after eighteen years of apparently walking her rounds too slowly (66 paces per minute, with a stride of less than one foot). Wrote a supervisor of the five-foot-four Cherry: "At each step,the heel of your leading foot did not pass the toe of the trailing foot by more than one inch. As a result, you required thirteen minutes longer than your demonstrated ability to deliver mail to this section of your route."
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
*The New York Times reported in August that more than a third of all bottled water sold in the United States is merely filtered tap water and that several cities will soon put their municipal water on store shelves. "What comes out of the tap is truly excellent water," said the public works director of Houston. Wrote the Times: "Thus, the marketing plans dare consumers to pay as much as a dollar or more for a quart of water ... that could be drawn from their own taps and placed in a refrigerator for less than 1/10 of a cent." (The Times reporter, tasting Houston's water, wrote, apparently without irony: "Bold, full-bodied, provocative.")
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*The Lundarelli family in Udine, Italy, said in July that, despite public outrage, it would leave its Fuehrer wine on the market (joining its Guevara, Lenin, and Marx brands). Fuehrer's label has a photo of Adolf Hitler and comes in two varieties: Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuehrer ("One People, One Empire, One Ruler") and Zieg Heil. And in June the Liquor Control Board of Ontario removed from stores a smuggled Chinese wine that purportedly increases libido. Three-Penis wine (deer, dolphin, and dog) has such foul ingredients that authorities wouldn't even dump it in sewers.
The Weirdo-American Community
*In August a judge in Morris County, New Jersey, ordered Joseph Petracca, age 61, to shut down his unlicensed Riverdale "kennel," in which he housed the 100 German shepherds to which he admitted he had become "addicted." The court order will probably end Petracca's work of trying to breed the "perfect dog." Said the judge: "When you are addicted to dogs, alcohol, or drugs, you seek treatment."
*In Topeka, Kansas, in August, a radical patriot "common-law jury," permitted by state officials to convene in a room in the capitol, "impeached" U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten of Wichita. Among his "crimes": By jailing a couple for nonpayment of taxes, he was guilty of kidnapping; he enforced land-regulation laws when everyone knows that owning land is a God-given right; he defended the IRS, which the jury believed is an "offshore entity" and a racketeering conspiracy; he issued court documents that did not contain a "seal"; he issued some orders as "Thomas Marten," without the "J."; he did not have a flag in his courtroom; and he allowed a clerk to make people sign documents in the middle of the signature line rather than flush left.
-- By Chuck Shepherd