News of the Weird | News of the Weird | Chicago Reader

News & Politics » News of the Weird

News of the Weird


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Lead Story

Walter DeBow, who six years ago won a judgment for $3.4 million in damages against the city of East Saint Louis, Illinois, but who has been unable to collect from the bankrupt city, was given title in September to the city's main municipal building and 220-acre industrial park as compensation. (He had sued the city for a beating he took while in city jail that crippled him.)

Odds and Ends (Mostly Odds)

More than 100 "tobacco rebellions" were reported in Moscow in August because of the unavailability of cigarettes (22 of the 24 cigarette factories in Russia were closed for the summer for repairs). Several work stoppages were reported in other cities, including some by farmers refusing to bring in harvests. A pack of Marlboros cost 30 rubles on the black market--$48 at the official exchange rate--and a small jar of butts was going for 1 ruble.

Michael Faircloth, unsuccessful candidate for the senate in Australia, promised as part of his campaign in March that he would introduce legislation giving a $7.50 grant to everyone who voted for him.

Featured at the June Elvis Presley Impersonators Convention in Rosemont, Illinois, were a seven-year-old Elvis, a female Elvis, a Hindu Elvis, and 40 others. Panel workshops were held on the issues of whether impersonators focus too heavily on the Vegas era (rather than the leather era or the gold lame era) and whether there should be a code of ethics for Elvis impersonators.

The India Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists has set February 1991 for the first International Conference on Orgasm, in New Delhi, and has issued a call for papers.

In Natick, Massachussetts, John Patrick McKenna was born at precisely 56 seconds after 12:34 in the morning on 7-8-90.

Charles A. Hinkle, 38, was shot in his car in August in Riverview, Florida, by a woman to whom he had given a lift home from a bar. The bullet passed through the windshield and lodged in his dentures. Hinkle later told police, "It's the last time I'm Mr. Nice Guy."

Brent Paladino, 3, just out of diapers and into nursery school as of September, plays golf six days a week in Hartford, Connecticut, hitting about 300 balls a day. His father calls Brent "obsessed": "In the winter, I'll sit in the car with the heater on, and he'll be on the putting green."

A large-scale study of American television watching, supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and released in May, found that it takes more skill and concentration to eat a meal than to watch TV and that the longer people watch the more drowsy, bored, sad, lonely, irritable, and hostile they become.

At least 4,500 Muslims have made pilgrimages to Leicester, England, in recent months to see Zahid Kassam's discovery of an eggplant whose seeds spelled the name of Allah, and in March a Nottingham resident found another one.

It took 5,000 hours in the editing room, but director Armando Acosta's two-hour film of Romeo and Juliet, featuring one actor (John Hurt) and 150 cats, recently premiered at the Venice film festival. Juliet is playing by a white Turkish Angora, and she and Romeo fight and eat canaries in Brooklyn and Venice.

It took six-year-old George Hassapis ten minutes and 19 moves to beat U.S. chess master Orest Popovych in London in August.

Sayed Abdel-Aal, 40, left a suicide note in June in Cairo explaining that he had hanged himself in despair at the Egyptian soccer team's first-round elimination from the World Cup.

The National Association of Brick Distributors presented its prestigious "Brick Achievement Award" in June to MTV because of the many music videos that contain brick motifs. (NABD cited M.C. Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," which features 62 seconds of brick walls, and Elton John's "Club at the End of the Street," which "uses meticulous detail in texturizing the brick.")

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  →