Friday, March 24, 2000

Gore does chicken dance

VP evades but can't elude student's question

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Rebecca Ransohoff, 9, watches Vice President Al Gore explain how to hypnotize chickens.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        School, of course, is for learning things. Like how to hypnotize a chicken.

        The usual subject of language arts in Sharon McCreary's fourth, fifth and sixth grade class at Sands Montessori School took a back seat briefly Thursday to a somewhat reluctant lecture from the vice president of the United States on how to make a chicken sleepy, veeerry sleepy.

        Al Gore stopped in Ms. McCreary's classroom as part of a quick tour of the school's crumbling physical structure.

        After looking at the peeling paint on the windows, Mr. Gore chatted with students.

        Just as Mr. Gore was about to leave, 11-year-old Hessam Akhlaghpour of Clifton piped up to tell the vice president he had heard him talking on CBS' 60 Minutes about how people in his native Tennessee would hypnotize chickens for amusement.

        “Tell us how to do it,” Hessam said. Mr. Gore laughed and started backing toward the door.

        “No, really, tell us how to do it,” Hessam insisted, like a mini-Mike Wallace.

        So the vice president, after warning the kids “not to try this at home,” told them: Hold a chicken's head on the ground. Take a finger or a stick and draw circles around the chicken's head.

        “He'll try to follow the stick and, in no time, he'll go "cluck, cluck' and he's out,” Mr. Gore said.

        Hessam said he was satisfied with the explanation.

        “I was just curious,” he said.

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