News of the Weird

Lead Stories
*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 earlier 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, age 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, this past winter, Berry Baker, age 54, protested the school district's displaying replicas of the Ten Commandments tablets on school lawns by demanding equal space for statues promoting his "Center for Phallic Worship," which he said copies a religion practiced in some nations. (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.)

Least Competent Criminals
*Sean Barry, age 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, age 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 2:00 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.

*Easy Collars: Philip Racicot was arrested in Norwich, Con necticut, in April for carrying an unlicensed gun; he had called attention to himself when, while trying to hide the gun in his car, he shot himself in the buttocks. And in May a seventeen-year-old boy identified as Lukasz S. was captured by police in Bydgoszcz, Poland, after an assault; Lukasz slowed down considerably after he shot himself in the foot during the chase. And an unidentified seventeen-year-old boy fleeing police in San Francisco, California, in February after vandalizing a construction site, accidentally shot himself to death with a sawed-off shotgun he was trying to hide in his car.

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

-- By Chuck Shepherd

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Chuck Shepherd