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Rob Moodie, a prominent lawyer and former police union official in Wellington, New Zealand, arrived at a July hearing wearing a navy blue two-piece skirt suit, a blue-and-white blouse, stockings (over unshaven legs), and a diamond brooch. The 67-year-old Moodie, a married father of three with a bald head and a gray mustache, announced that he'd always preferred women's clothes and would now be wearing them in his professional life as a way of distancing himself from what he said was a corrupt and male-dominated legal system and from the "male ethos" generally.

Inmates Taking Their Best Shot

Earlier this month WCAX TV in Burlington, Vermont, reported on Steven Buelow, who was paroled ten years ago after serving time for a rape and murder he committed as a 15-year-old; following incarceration for subsequent minor offenses, he was being held at the state prison at Newport until he could find a residence on the outside. According to officials, Buelow picked at least 15 women out of the Burlington-Middlebury phone book and in July sent them letters introducing himself, describing his appearance and situation, and explaining that he needed a place to stay. One woman told the station, unsurprisingly, that she was "terrified" for her family's safety and considered moving away; Buelow, following a meeting with his caseworker, agreed to cut it out.

In July officials in Springfield, Vermont, rejected as incomplete an application for a liquor license filed by Paul Murphy, who requested permission to sell alcohol from his home. Even filled out properly the application would have been denied, the liquor control department said, as the address Murphy provided was that of the state prison where he's currently incarcerated.

The District of Calamity

After the robbery and murder of a 27-year-old man in Washington, D.C., in July, the Washington Post reported that three weeks earlier police had been given the address of two of the suspected killers when the victim of another robbery found out that an item bought with her stolen credit card had been delivered there.

In June the D.C. inspector general's office blamed "apathy, indifference, and complacency," as well as inadequate training, for the uniformly poor performance of emergency workers in the events preceding the death of retired New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum in January. After the 63-year-old Rosenbaum was found semiconscious on the sidewalk, EMTs, police officers, nurses, and doctors all concluded he was simply drunk and accordingly treated him with less than maximal urgency, when actually he'd been severely beaten with a metal pipe. (The ambulance driver got lost on the way to pick Rosenbaum up, then took him to a hospital that wasn't the closest to the crime scene but simplified the driver's trip home afterward.)

Frontiers in Justice

New York's Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics ruled in July that judges may carry a gun in the courtroom as long as they comply with all applicable gun laws and remain "patient, dignified, and courteous." (The ruling did, however, advise judges to keep their guns concealed.) And in May Jinsoo Kim filed a lawsuit in Orange County, California, alleging that Stephen Son had signed a contract saying he'd repay $170,000 Kim had invested in his corporation. Son's lawyer conceded such a contract had been drawn up and signed by his client but disputed its validity; Kim's lawyer suggested a jury might consider it especially valid considering it was written entirely in blood.

Fetishes on Parade

In July police in the Dutch city of Groningen arrested a 40-year-old man who had allegedly been seen for at least six months rummaging through garbage (particularly near student dormitories) in search of used tampons; a spokesperson said the man had also on occasion written letters to the tampons' users. Also in July, 54-year-old Paul Zakszewski was arrested in Salem, Massachusetts, for allegedly making audiocassette recordings in a women's public bathroom. And in June Mark Asimus, a 45-year-old high school English teacher in Denver, was arrested after an alleged online chat with a police officer posing as a 14-year-old girl; authorities said Asimus wanted to pay one girl to badly beat up another (he requested a bloody mouth and nose) while he watched.

Those Who Can't Do

After this year's valedictorian at Gallatin High School in Nashville briefly interrupted graduation ceremonies in May by trying to deliver a speech--an honor reserved at Gallatin for the student body president--the principal went to the police and filed charges against him. (They were later dropped.) And the Buffalo News reported in June that attendance at Buffalo's public high schools had plummeted following the adoption of a new grading system under which students' final grades for each course were determined by simply averaging their grades from each of four marking periods; heavily weighted final exams were eliminated. Apparently the kids figured out that since the lowest possible grade for a marking period was 50, if they averaged just an 80 for the first half of the year they could skip the second half entirely and still finish with a passing 65.

Least Competent Animals

In Ketchum, Idaho, in July a 12-foot Burmese python named Houdini ate a queen-size electric blanket; vets had to open the snake up to get the blanket out. And earlier this month Barney, a Doberman guarding a tourist attraction near Wells, England, chewed up an exhibit of rare teddy bears valued at more than $900,000.

No Longer Weird: A Look Back

Continuing a review of frequently recurring stories that have been retired from circulation: Highlights from spots 11 through 20 on the NLW list include burglar falls asleep during job; visitor to courthouse, forgetting contents of pockets, inadvertently places stash on table at security checkpoint; driver's license applicant completes road test by crashing into examiner's station; and person attempts to buy drugs from police officer obviously conducting a drug raid.

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

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