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The skinny

The skinny: Janitorial judge hands down guilty conscience

Law & Orderly

Janitorial judge hands down guilty conscience

The National newspaper of Papua New Guinea reports that resident Justice Graham Ellis was not at all happy with the conditions of the holding cells at the police station in Wabag. Being a judge, there were a lot of things he could do about this. He could order someone to clean the cells. He could hold them in contempt if they didn't. But Ellis chose to do something completely unexpected. He and volunteers from his staff showed up at the station in boots and gloves, with buckets and brushes, and cleaned the five cells and toilets. When police offered to help, the judge didn't allow them. The paper reports that the police watched in shame as the cells were cleaned. Conditions at the facility have been an issue for several years.

Precious poo

Land a watch from land time forgot

Providing incontrovertible proof that, eventually, everything is worth something, a Swiss watchmaker is making a watch out of coprolite that it will sell for $11,290. For that much cash, you might assume that a watch would be made of gold, or encrusted in diamonds. Or both. This watch has neither. Just coprolite. Unfamiliar with coprolite? It's 100-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur dung.

Cleaning up after dog pays off big

A diamond dealer was at the Robert Bernard Jewelry Store, appropriately enough in Rockville, Md., when the dealer dropped a $20,000 diamond on the floor. It's always a bad idea to drop a $20,000 diamond on the floor, but it is a terrible idea to do it in the presence of Soli, a dog owned by one of the store's owners. Soli thought it was a treat, and immediately ate the stone. A quick call to the vet confirmed that there was a simple yet totally unpleasant way to recover the stone: wait and follow. Owner George Kauffman explained the process on WJLA-TV: "It was not that pleasant. I followed him; I had to pick up his stuff; I had to go through the things. I can understand what it was like in the old Gold Rush." He found it, though, and returned it. It was not clear whether the diamond would be discounted.

Time capsule

Everything is there except for the booze

The town of Somerton, Ariz., just couldn't wait any longer to open up the time capsule that was buried there waaaaay back in 1985. There were letters written by residents. There were photographs, probably with people wearing leg warmers and feathered hair. Something called a "VHS tape." Weird. And a Time magazine with Ronald Reagan on the cover. Apparently he was president way back then. What wasn't there was a bottle of brandy, which concerned Pancho Soto, because he was there at the burying and the opening, and he knows it was there when they put the capsule in concrete on Main Street. "When we buried it, the bottle was there. I thought it was going to be there," he told the Yuma Sun. "I told my friends and co-workers it was going to be there."

Compiled from Times wire services and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster, who can be reached at

The skinny: Janitorial judge hands down guilty conscience 03/15/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 15, 2010 10:31pm]
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