News of the Weird


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Enterprising reporters get stories by earning the trust of their sources, which Simon Eroro of the Post-Courier (Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea) obviously did. At a banquet in November, the News Limited (Rupert Murdoch’s empire) awarded Eroro its “Scoop of the Year” honor for reporting on militant tribal fighters of the Free West Papua movement — a scoop he had to earn by agreeing to undergo a ritual circumcision, with bamboo sticks, to prove his sincerity.
The Litigious Society
An Illinois appeals court finally threw out a lawsuit in August, but not before the two-year-long battle had created a foot-high pile of legal filings on whether two “children” (now ages 23 and 20) could sue their mother for bad parenting while they were growing up. Among the claims were mom’s failure to send birthday cards or “care” packages during the kids’ college years and calling her daughter at midnight to ask that she return home from a party (and once failing to take the girl to a car show).
People With Issues
• In November, Tommy Joe Kelly, unsuccessfully acting as his own lawyer, was convicted of slashing a stranger’s tire by an Austin, Texas, jury, despite his explanation. “OK, I’m going to tell you the truth on this one,” he said from the witness stand. “It doesn’t sound right, but it is. I … had hemorrhoids at that time, super duper bad.” (There have been 391 tire slashings in Kelly’s neighborhood over the last four years, but he was charged with only one count, and sentenced to 10 years in jail).
Least Competent Criminals
• Dale Foughty, 56, was charged with robbing a convenience store in Jacksonville, N.C., in October, despite attempting to intimidate the clerk by dressing as Spiderman. However, the clerk poked Foughty in the stomach with a broom, sending him away empty-handed.
Two men, attempting a robbery of the Ace Smoke Shop in Altadena, Calif., in July, fled after grabbing only part of the store’s cash. They were frightened off by the manager’s barking Chihuahua.