It's November, time to review the wacky happenings in the 2005 food and food-animal world en route to naming our 10th annual Top Turkey:

  • We always thought the chicken crossed the road in order to prove to a raccoon that it was possible. Now, we learn it was to test a legal opinion.

    Ophelia the hen was cited for wandering onto a road in Johannesburg, CA. The owners, however, took the matter to court last spring, arguing the black Polish hen is a pet and can't be charged as livestock. The judge agreed, and the case was thrown out.

  • I'll show you @#%& manners! When Gonzalo Ocasio, Jr., 18, and his 49-year-old dad chastised Uncle Frank Palacious about picking at the Thanksgiving Day turkey with his fingers, Palacious took the only logical course of action. He stabbed both of them repeatedly with a carving knife. The father-son duo went to hospital. Uncle Frank went to jail.

  • For fresh breath and an irresistible smile, try… cow dung toothpaste. That's just one of the tempting personal hygiene products derived from the bowels and bladders of bovines and available to discriminating shoppers in New Delhi, India. There's also skin-whitening cream, baldness and obesity cures, and a cow urine “antiseptic aftershave.” The constipation medicine is a hot seller, too.

  • “What do women want?” Ryan Park of Waterboro, ME, must be asking himself that question after his arrest on assault charges. When a woman refused the door-to-door meat salesman's offer of chicken in exchange for sex, the amorous meat peddler reportedly grabbed the woman and forcibly kissed her.

  • Bad beef, bad beef, whatcha gonna do? Two bovines recently ended up in the cow pokey — one in Nigeria, the other in Colombia.

    A bull that stomped a Nigerian bus driver to death in Lagos was arrested and jailed. The police said the owner, once identified, would face criminal charges for failing to keep the bull under supervision.

    Meanwhile, a cow wandering a road in Colombia was hit by a female motorcyclist, then fingered for the incident and hustled off to prison. Said a police spokesman: “If it was a person who caused the accident, he or she would be behind bars, so why not a cow?”

  • Oklahoma inmate gets “boned.” We've heard of using food as a weapon, but Ernesto Hernandez-Rosales, an inmate at the Lexington (OK) Correctional Center, put a new spin on the concept. Hernandez-Rosales stabbed fellow inmate Jermaine Portillo in the eye with a pork chop bone. Portillo wasn't seriously injured but his attacker earned a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

  • And the 2005 Golden Baster goes to (drum roll, please):

U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Stevens, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy — the five “yes” votes in Kelo v. City of New London, a decision that yanked the rug on private property rights in the U.S.

The 5-4 decision last June broadened the definition of “public use” in eminent domain proceedings. Now, local government apparently can force property owners to sell out to other private owners if it feels the new owner can make more productive use of the property, meaning more tax revenue.