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Sounding Off

On the surface, “Sound Opinions” on WXRT-FM (93.1) is a talk show about rock ‘n roll–about bands that rule and bands that suck; about albums great and awful; about the search for backbeats that move the soul. But listen closely and it’s about more than that. Listen closely, and “Sound Opinions”–perhaps the country’s only rock … Read more

The Bully of Toulon

For years, a rough-hewn man named Curt Thompson threatened and intimidated his neighbors in the small farming community of Toulon, Illinois. Many complained about him, and a few filed charges, yet little was done, and residents learned to alter their lives to avoid him. Then one night, authorities say, a newcomer paid him a call, and the town’s worst fears came true

Heavy

By the time he died at 32 in 1958, Robert Earl Hughes of tiny Fishhook, Illinois, weighed more than 1,000 pounds, earning a place in The Guinness Book of World Records as the largest man on earth. Except for his neighbors and family, few people knew much about his life until recently, when an astonishing photograph sent the author in search of Hughes’s real story: Raised in a sharecropper’s cabin, trapped in­side half a ton of flesh, this literate, companionable young man had dreamed of seeing the world. Aside from some carnival tours and one disastrous trip to New York, he never lived his dream. But in his short life, he found something else.