Yes, it's time to review the bovine world's wacky, winsome, wild and weird en route to bestowing our seventh annual Turkey Award. Boy, this is a lot tougher to do when Al Gore (two-time Turkey winner) isn't around. Oh, he's back? Well, maybe next year.

Let's get to the finalists.

The manly men of PETA. Sneaking up and throwing red paint on unsuspecting women who are wearing fur is a tactic animal activists like to use to discourage the use of animal products such as fur and leather. But have you ever wondered why these scamps never perpetrate such feats of derring-do on folks like bikers who just love to shroud themselves in leather? Well, the children of Aberdeen, Scotland, have provided the answer.

The Scotsman, Scotland's national online newspaper, reports that in mid-October, Sean Gifford of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and his buddy in a cow suit staged a protest at the gates of an Aberdeen grammar school to inform pupils about the “hazards” of drinking milk.

But the demonstration turned sour when the grammar school kids shouted “milk for the masses” and pelted the PETA activists with cartons of milk. The drenching lasted for about 10 minutes before two female police officers rescued the two “men.”

Yeah, but can't Congress just outlaw lightning?” We all learn early on in our grade-school science classes that three things are essential for fire — fuel, oxygen and heat. Take away any one of these and you can't have fire.

It seems this basic lesson is too advanced for some pea-brained activists (aka, friends of Al) who can't grasp the concept of thinning problem forests to limit wildfire destruction. Never mind that U.S. wildfires scorched a total of 6.7 million acres and claimed the lives of 21 firefighters during summer 2002.

Powerless against the clown. First, parents allow their kid to gorge on pizza, pop and fast food. Then they compound the problem by letting junior “beach” for hours in front of a television and/or computer. When all the inactivity and high-calorie diet swells the kid up like an engorged wood tick, these parental lug nuts take the “logical” next step — sue McDonald's for Happy Meal addiction.

“Y' know, Reinhardt. I gotta hankering today for some good Tibetan mountain chicken barbecue.” Reuters reports that two zookeepers in a small German town's zoo are under investigation for eating the attractions. Police in the small town north of Cologne say the duo, in charge of the petting zoo section, slaughtered and barbecued five Tibetan mountain chickens and two Cameroonian sheep.

“OK, who brought the subprimal into the pool?” Some innovative Austrian Alps farmers made last year's turkey column for using dynamite to dispose of dead cows rather than pay the government to pick them up for rendering. A year later, beef is apparently still raining from the Alpine skies as a sizable chunk of bovine recently landed in a pool kids use for bathing.

Meanwhile, next door in Switzerland, marketing entrepreneur Frank Baumann has initiated something you could call “mooketing.” He paints company logos and slogans on cows' bodies and then puts the gals out on pasture for all passers-by to see. The bovine billboards run about $400, depending on the size and duration of the ad. The Web site Ananova says Baumann hopes the idea will “help boost the rural economy.”

“But just how fresh is your cream?” Ethem Sahin probably won't be asking that question again. Sahin was playing dominoes and sipping coffee in a Turkish coffeehouse recently when a cow fell through the roof and knocked him unconscious, the Associated Press reports. Later in the hospital, the crushed Anatolian learned that the cow, which was unhurt, had wandered from the hillside on which it was grazing and onto the roof of the coffee house, which was built into the side of the hill.

Where's the perfect place to hide a murdered victim's body in Egypt? Two folks eventually charged with murder in Sharkiya thought it was in a cow's stomach. The duo's perfect plan went afoul when the body of an Egyptian farmer strangled in his sleep was discovered by a man trying to strip the hide off a dead cow he found on the roadside.

Police believe the couple killed their victim and then stuffed his body inside the dead cow, which they then stitched up and dumped at the roadside, reports the newspaper Algomhuria.

“Bet you can't sniff just one.” One of the world's strictest anti-drug enforcement areas, Malaysia can be a tough place for an addict to maintain his or her lifestyle. But the Associated Press reports that Malaysian addicts think they've found an “organic” answer — sniffing fresh cow dung. An official at the National Narcotics Agency says that “cow dung emits gases like sulfur, and addicts sniff on these gases to get high.” Best of all for addicts, they find it at ground level, so they don't have to get up.

Move over, Betty Crocker! For urban Hindus, it can be tough laying your hands on that sacred cow dung you need to start your religious ritual. After all, it's not like you just find that stuff laying around on the streets of India. Oh, you do?

Well, anyway, an enterprising Indian dairyman, V.R. Rao, thought he could improve on the convenience and delivery method. So Rao is marketing instant Holy Cow Dung in convenient, easy-to-store packets for home use.

The scented, pre-mixed packets of quick-fix dung are hot stuff, particularly among Indian housewives who don't like the aroma of its more “natural” counterpart, reports the Deccan Herald.

And the 2002 Turkey Award goes to those “friends of Al” for their role in defying not only the logic of forest management but also the law of fire.