Chicken Little, Story Huge

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JUICY SUBJECT Chicken

Some reporters—the good ones—know how to turn a chicken shit assignment into chicken salad. Or at least an excellent excuse to hang around a Native American casino, maybe play some slots or grab a nosh at the Festival Buffet. (“Featuring popular Italian, Asian, barbecue, and seafood dishes, as well as traditional comfort foods …” Mmmm … tradition.)

A freebie grab is the only rational explanation for the mini swarm of reporters covering Foxwoods’s newest addition: A chicken that plays tic-tac-toe. (Fans of the New Yorker‘s Calvin Trillin already know all about these noble gladiatorial birds.)

The New York Daily News tries to ruffle some feathers with aTic-tac-toe bet: What are ya’, chicken?:

The controversial Chinatown challenge of playing tic-tac-toe against a live chicken is back—but now you’ll have travel to Connecticut to compete… The sport is new to Foxwoods, but a tic-tac-toe-playing chicken nested at the Chinatown Fair Arcade on Mott St. for years.

In 1998, outraged animal-rights activists convinced the arcade owner to hand over its last chicken and deliver her to a farm in Massachusetts.

Another newspaper, meanwhile, went for the old first-person chicken/human interest angle: “This chicken may look like a birdbrain, but it can (and will) kick your butt—at tic tac toe… It kicked mine.”

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