Natives of the Erromango section of the Pacific island Vanuatu recently held a formal “conciliation” with the great-great-grandson of the British missionary whom the islanders’ ancestors ate when he came ashore in 1839. Charles Milner-Williams’s forebear, Rev. John Williams, was regarded as the most famous Christian missionary of the era. Vanuatan legislator Ralph Regenvanu told BBC News that cannibalism was traditionally a sacred warrior practice for “vanquishing a threat [and] absorbing the power of the enemy.” Nonetheless, he said, the island has long felt “guilt,” and even a “complex,” from killing and eating Rev. Williams. In penitence, Vanuatu symbolically gave the Williams family a seven-year-old girl, who will not be eaten but whose education Milner-Williams promised to underwrite.
(1) In November, the Seattle Police Department, investigating a complaint about a beating, interviewed a 25-year-old man hospitalized after being found screaming in pain impaled on a metal fence. He said he had run away from a barroom fight and momentarily thought he was a “ninja warrior” capable of leaping the fence. (2) Sean McDowell, 24, was arrested in Ashland, Ore., after attempting to steal a 4-foot-tall stuffed giraffe from the front of a children’s store. A police officer had witnessed an inebriated McDowell grab the giraffe and make simulated sexual movements, then walk away, and then return 90 minutes later to snatch the animal for good.
YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD FOR A DIVORCE
While reporting on Britain’s oldest newlyweds in November (husband 94, wife 87), the Daily Telegraph also noted that in 2008, Bertie Wood and her husband, Jessie, of Falmouth had decided to end their 36-year marriage, evidently at a point where they felt they needed a fresh start. Both were 97 years old at the time. Jessie has since died, and Bertie lives in a nursing home.
TAKING HIS WORK HOME
In November, a Chicago judge ruled that former firefighter Jeffrey Boyle is entitled to his $50,000 annual pension even though he had pleaded guilty in 2006 to eight counts of arson (and allegedly confessed to 12 more). Boyle is known locally as “Matches” Boyle to distinguish him from his brother, John “Quarters” Boyle, who is now in federal prison for bribery following the theft of millions of dollars in state toll-gate coins. Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. concluded that Matches’s arsons were wholly separate from his firefighting.
LIFE’S A SNITCH
Salvadorean citizen Ernesto Gamboa, who worked for 13 years in the Seattle area as a snitch for federal drug agents and contributed to at least 92 convictions for drug and weapons-smuggling, was “fired” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in May after asking the agency for regular employment. Gamboa originally entered the U.S. as a visitor but overstayed and now aspires merely to an “S visa,” granted to aliens who assist law enforcement. Not only did ICE deny that request but, according to a November Seattle Times report, the agency informed Gamboa that he should prepare to be deported.
RULES ARE RULES
(1) Shawnee Mission Northwest outscored the competition at the Kansas Girls State Gymnastics Championship in November, but finished in third place because of a one-point penalty for a rule violation. The school’s coach had inquired about a balance-beam score outside the five-minute “window” for inquiries. The two schools that were tied for second place were declared co-champions. (2) Environmentally conscious David and Katie France live 400 yards from their recycling center in Blandford, England, and decided in October to hand-carry their garbage instead of driving their car the short distance. However, they were refused entry, based on a “safety” rule requiring that trash be brought in vehicles. – MauiTime, Chuck Shepherd