Strippers Take It Off and (Still) Get Paid

Strippers in Sydney, Australia, just can't wait to take it off — time from work, that is.

Thanks to the persuasive efforts of their union, the Striptease Artists Australia, unionized exotic dancers and adult entertainers will be entitled to overtime, rest periods, meal breaks and maternity leave, the Associated Press reports.

"We've got rights to have public holiday pay now, which we've never had in our career before," said union spokeswoman Mystical Melody. "We've got rosters and set hours. We can't work more than 10 hours a shift."

In the past, some of the country's clothes-shedders haven't been shy about criticizing the union for its efforts. They feared the demands for increased pay and regulated "office conditions" could lead to job losses — and then they might lose the shirts right off their backs.

The deal outlined basic requirements for workplace conditions but didn't go into specifics about pay rates, industrial relations commissioner Bill Mansfield said.

"The majority of workers in the industry are women," Melody said, "So it's probably a really great thing for them to be able to feel confident of having a job after they've had their babies."

Bob Kasun easily defeated Jeff Harris on Tuesday by a margin of 246 to 83.

The 79-year-old four-term councilman died March 6 of lymphoma and renal failure. His funeral was Monday.

Councilwoman Luche Giacomino, who survived a recall attempt, said she was happy to win but especially pleased that Kasun was not voted from office.

"I am just tickled to death that Bob won," she said.

Kasun was a Bisbee native and football star at Bisbee High School. He retired as an electrician in 1975, and later worked more than a decade as Bisbee's building inspector.

The Bisbee City Council will now decide whom to appoint to fill out Kasun's term, which expires Dec. 2.

The 'Keep the Change' Heard Round the World

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — The couple at one of waitress Amanda Newkirk's many tables seemed ordinary enough. The woman ordered a turkey burger, fries and two Coors Lights. The man had a bacon cheeseburger and sweet tea.

Their bill came to $26.35. They left Newkirk $1,000.

Newkirk, seven months pregnant and teary with excitement, read the handwritten note on the check: "Keep the change! Have a great day."

The 19-year-old thought it had to be a joke. But the manager at Ruby Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of the ten $100 bills with a counterfeit-detection pen.

Newkirk couldn't figure out why the couple had given her such a generous tip. She didn't think her service had been very good.

A couple days after the March 7 incident, Newkirk got her answer.

A 28-year-old widow who said she had been going through a tough time called Newkirk's general manager and said she had left the tip while at lunch with her fiancé.

"It involved a lot more than good service at a great restaurant," said Erin Dogan of Roanoke County. "I didn't need it. It helped someone who ... needed it. God put us there together. God answered my questions."

Dogan, whose husband died last year, said she's a shopaholic and could have easily spent the money at a nearby mall, but she decided to put it to better use.

"It made me feel phenomenal," Dogan said. "It has changed my life."

Newkirk plans to use some of the money to help pay for medical bills related to her pregnancy. But aside from a few national radio and television appearances, life continues as normal for the teen.

"I'm not going to retire with a thousand dollars," she said.

Thanks to Out There reader Sipke H.

A Gift for That Special Someone Who Really Has Everything

BRIDGEVILLE, Calif. (AP) — The first town ever auctioned on eBay soon will be back up for sale on the online auction site.

Nearly two years after he bought the tiny town of Bridgeville, Orange County financial adviser Bruce Krall said Friday he plans to re-auction the Humboldt County hamlet on eBay next month.

"Due to family reasons, I'm pretty much tied to Southern California for the foreseeable future," Krall said. "We can't move up there. It only makes sense to pass it on to somebody else."

Krall said the auction will open April 4 with a minimum bid of $1.75 million — more than twice what he paid for the 83-acre property about 40 miles southwest of Eureka.

Bridgeville, a picturesque village with about 25 people on the Van Duzen River, sparked a bidding war in 2002 when it became the first town ever put up for sale on eBay.

The buyer, who won the auction with a $1.78 million bid, never came to see the property and the deal fell through. The property was eventually posted on traditional real estate listings, and Krall bought it for about $700,000 in May 2004.

Since then, Krall said he has invested "multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars" to restore old buildings, remove dilapidated structures and clean up mounds of garbage. He also found new tenants for the houses and received a conditional use permit for a riverfront resort.

"It's come full circle," Krall said. "Now it's been fixed up, and I think it's actually ready to be sold on eBay."

I'll Have a Glass — Make That a Box — of Dirty Aardvark Cabernet

WASHINGTON (AP) — A fish, a monkey, a kangaroo — Americans just can't get enough of the animals swimming, swinging and hopping onto wine labels.

In the super-competitive business of selling wine, animals give new brands an edge. Americans buy twice as much of new wines with beasts on their labels as they do other new wines, according to the marketing information company ACNielsen.

"And I think it taught the industry a lesson: You don't need to get bogged down into the details of wine pretension or snootiness to be a success, if you have the right product," Brager said.

Humble is the name of today's wine game. In addition to using colorful, funky labels, some of the hottest-selling wines have swapped their corks for screwcaps or are being sold in boxes.

California's FishEye Winery, which has a fish on the label, fits into that category. FishEye comes in 3-liter boxes as well as in traditional bottles.

It makes the wine less intimidating, said company spokeswoman Laurie Jones. Approachable wines with memorable labels are able to attract consumers, especially when they're affordable, she said.

Most "critter" wines are priced between $8 and $12, according to ACNielsen. It's more than just critters, said Jon Fredrikson, a San Francisco Bay area industry consultant.

"They've just become so much less intimidating and more approachable, especially to people who don't drink wine," Fredrikson said.

About 1,000 brands were introduced over the past three years, Brager said. Only about 400 had staying power — sales of at least $20,000 last year. Of those, critter brands outsold the competition about 2 1/2 to 1, Brager said.

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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