The 8th Annual Uncommon Loon Awards

Sexting quarterbacks, paranoid politicians, cash-hiding honchos—a look back in laughter at 2010’s looniest moments

Gathering No Moss

Less than a month after rejoining the Vikings, Randy Moss proved he could change uniforms but not his stripes. Fined for cursing at a reporter and refusing to respond to questions, he held a bizarre press conference in which he declared that henceforth he would be asking the questions in addition to supplying the answers. Coach Brad Childress had just one question for him the next day: How soon can you clean out your locker?

Wardrobe Malfunction

Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Kevin Ross struck a blow against baggy-pantsed suspects everywhere—while instantly boosting his street cred—when he quoted the pop hit “Pants on the Ground” in ruling that a police officer who discovered a gun while lifting a suspect’s droopy trousers had engaged in a lawful search and seizure. Now we know who’s still watching American Idol.

The World According to Bachmann

“I don’t want the United States to be in a global economy, where our economic future is bound to that of Zimbabwe,” Michele Bachmann said last summer, explaining her opposition to the G20 economic summits. Never mind that Zimbabwe is about a trillion dollars short of ever joining the convention of wealthy nations. After all, Bachmann argued, the semi-annual economics get-together is “one short step” to political unification of member nations, “and then you would have, literally, one world government.” Someone call James Bond.

Expect Less

Target enraged gay employees and customers last summer by donating to a group supporting gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, whose views on gay rights are decidedly conservative. When activists responded with a boycott of Target, the company’s CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, defended the donation as “intended to support business objectives such as job creation and economic growth.” And who needs employees and customers for that?

Sid, Bronzed Alive

Despite never having tossed a tam (so far as we know), Sid Hartman became a little more like Mary Tyler Moore when he, too, allowed a statue of himself to be placed in downtown Minneapolis. In response, the city immediately began developing new guidelines for approving statues. No offense, Sid.

False Prophet

James Wallace Fall, of Mound, claimed to have God on his side in his defense against charges that he took a second bride in 2001. No matter that he was already married, the new bride was his niece, and she was 10 at the time. “Jim Fall believes he’s a prophet of God,” says the detective who arrested him. “He says the Bible tells him [the marriage was] okay.” Fall’s favorite Bible passage? From 1 Corinthians: “Everything is permissible for me.”

Getaway Kart

Driving a go-kart at no more than 20 miles per hour, 19-year-old Say Hai managed to elude police in downtown St. Paul—despite being Tasered three times and getting clotheslined by a parking-lot chain. Attention, writers of the next Hangover sequel: Have we got some material for you!

Sexts to Be You

Brett Favre’s final season nearly ended before it began after he was accused of texting photos of his private parts to former New York Jets sideline reporter Jenn Sterger. As the NFL investigated, the Vikings record headed, um, south and Saturday Night Live lampooned the brouhaha with a mock commercial of Favre shilling for Wrangler “open fly” jeans.

We Don’t Censor

The Bell Museum was set to premiere its documentary on Mississippi River conservation, prophetically entitled Troubled Waters, when the museum’s overseers at the University of Minnesota pulled the plug. After it appeared that a university official was protecting agribusiness interests criticized in the film, the U relented. It even released thousands of e-mails from school officials showing the path to pulling the doc—a stand-up move except for one thing: Substantial portions of the e-mails had been deleted.


Leave It to Beavers

A new Bemidji sculpture walk featuring four-foot beavers painted by local artists seemed innocent enough—until some residents perceived a prominent image of a vagina in one of the works. The sculpture was removed then quickly reinstalled after a campaign to save it attracted national attention. No matter: Within a month, the sculpture was vandalized, with the controversial bits painted over. What boobs.

Where’s Wally?

A police sting at Target Field netted a number of vendors selling booze to underage drinkers—including longtime hawker Wally the Beer Man, who was suspended indefinitely. His supporters insisted that the “Curse of Wally” would haunt the team, and, sure enough, the Twins went down like dominoes in the playoffs.

Freedom of What Now?

Dan “Doc” Severson, a Republican representative from Sauk Rapids, attracted national attention to his run for secretary of state when he declared on the local Word of Truth radio show that a basis for separating church and state “does not exist in America.” Why not, Doc? “Because we are a Christian nation,” he argued.

Jesse the Investigative Reporter

Jesse Ventura told FOX News he’s certain that 9/11 was a government conspiracy “to get us into Iraq and get us into Afghanistan.” Where’s the evidence? So glad you asked! To find out, the former guv said, you’ll have to watch his truTV show, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.

Denny Hecker’s Money-Go-Round

Is the deposed auto king broke or not? A timeline:

✖ June 2009: He files for bankruptcy.
✖ July 2009: He somehow finds $200,000 to spend on gifts for his girlfriend.
✖ March 2010: He says, “I have no money, absolutely zero,” and seeks a public defender.
✖ October 2010: He comes up with the money for a private attorney and is shown to have spent tens of thousands of dollars in the past year on expensive meals, country club memberships, and private-school tuition for his children. As a result, he’s jailed. “It wouldn’t have happened if he had just stayed home and watched TV until the sentencing like I told him to do,” remarks the judge.

Badgers Behaving Badly

Think we’re loony? Then check out our neighbors.

✖ That’s Just Super
“I’m what people refer to as a real-life superhero,” a Milwaukee man told a reporter after he’d been seen snooping around his neighborhood in a red mask and black trench coat. Identifying himself only as the Watchman, he said he spends his weekend nights watching for suspicious activity. But not all of his neighbors approve—thus the disguise, which the self-appointed Superman said he wears to protect his family. “I’m the one who decided to do this. They should not have to suffer for it.”

✖ Booby Prize
Kenneth Kratz resigned from his job as Calumet County district attorney after news broke that he had sent more than two dozen racy text messages to a 25-year-old woman—while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend in a domestic abuse case. In them, he asked if she’d like “secret contact with an older, married, elected D.A.” and suggested that “a young, hot, nymph” like her would agree that he was “the prize.” Or not.

✖ This Next Trick is Called “Egg on your Face”
Talk about stringing them along: Kenny Strasser managed to get himself booked on several TV stations as a “yo-yo champion.” But at one station, the prankster’s yo-yo fell apart. At another, he claimed to have forgotten his yo-yo string, forcing a humiliated host to make small talk with him for the entire segment. As if spending a segment chatting with a real yo-yo champ wouldn’t have been indignity enough.

✖ Rock Star
Paula Wolf grabbed national headlines after police pulled her over in Stevens Point and found a blowgun, a slingshot, and a bucket of rocks in her van. The items provided ample circumstantial evidence that she was the one who had been firing darts and rocks at unsuspecting people on the street that night. Her explanation? She simply wanted to “hear people say ouch.” At least she didn’t want to hear people say, “Heads up, anvil!”