When we sat down to assess our most popular posts of the year, the result wasn't entirely unexpected -- a blend of the sublimely bizarre, the achingly silly and the shockingly outrageous news from the year. In short, the average American's news interests in a nutshell.
Below are our top 10 posts from 2009, with links back to the original articles so you can relive the madness for yourself.
10. Killing Tom Softly With MySpace's Song: Our report on the beginning of the end of Myspace, as founder Tom was ignominiously ousted from his own company.
9. The Houston Zoo's Newest Giraffe: As Cute As He Thinks He Is? There is just about nothing better than getting up close and personal with a days-old giraffe. Or is there? (Stay tuned until the end of this list...)
8. The KBR/Halliburton Rape Case Goes Forward: Chris Vogel stayed on top of the case of a contractor who was raped in Iraq, an ever-evolving story with large-scale implications.
7. Man Wants to Lick Hooters (In Courtroom): Another court case, this time involving sexual discrimination at everyone's favorite wing place. If a man wants to be a Hooters Girl, what's stopping him? Well, Hooters...obviously.
6. San Angelo Mayor Springs a Hell of a Surprise on His Town: Or should we say a series of surprises? This was the Russian nesting doll version of a surprise for the small west Texas town.
5. The Bushes, Like You Have Never Seen Them (Or Wanted To): You've been warned.
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4. Judge Reportedly Questioned Whether Woman Was Raped Because She Was "On Top": Next in the court docket... Is it a woman's fault if she was sexually harassed because she showed part of her ankle?
3. That Fancy-Ass New H-E-B on Buffalo Speedway Hates Blondes: Everyone loves a good blonde joke.
2. The Top 20 Freaks You'll Meet at Ren Fest: This is pretty self-explanatory. And not particularly kind. But, come on. These folks were pretty much asking for it.
1. Houston Zoo to Unveil OH DEAR GOD THAT IS CUTE: And our number one news story of the year -- the one that captured hearts across the nation -- was of Toby, the zoo's brand-new red panda. See? There is something cuter than a baby giraffe after all.