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Curious Times: Living Room Pubs, Ugly Dogs and Space Tourists




It's time once again for the only literary contest that matters, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the Dark and Stormy Night contest), which challenges writers to create the worst possible opening sentence to an imaginary novel. This year's winner is David McKenzie of Washington, who came up with this piece of crap: "Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May," a sturdy whaler captained by John McTavish; for it was on just such a night when the rum was flowin' and, Davey Jones be damned, big John brought his men on deck for the first of several screaming contests." Check out for a list of finalists in several other categories, including this winner from the detective genre: "She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida--the pink ones, not the white ones--except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn't wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren't." And then there's this gem from the romance category: "The first time I saw her she took my breath away with her long blonde hair that flowed over her shoulders like cheese sauce on a bed of nachos, making my stomach grumble as she stepped into the room, her red knit dress locking in curves better than a Ferrari at a Grand Prix."


A man in Santiago, Chile, has hit upon a successful business idea in which he transforms your boring old living room into a replica of your neighborhood pub. A simple phone call to his company will bring a team of workers to install a temporary bar, barstools and a fully stocked wall of liquor to party it up with your friends. You just sit back and get hammered while his bartenders and waiters make it effortless for you to get all your friends shitfaced. "The idea is for the owner of the house to relax and enjoy, he doesn't have to worry about anything when he calls us," says owner Dennis Hennings. ( PROOF THAT ALCOHOL MAKES YOU STUPID

A group of "wine terrorists" in France has been attacking shops selling cheap wine from Spain and Italy in southwestern France. They accuse the merchants of cutting prices to unreasonably low levels, which put French wine makers out of business. In their latest attack, the group pulled the plugs on eight huge vats at a wine cooperative and let more than 1 million bottles worth of red, white and rose wine pour into a river. (The Telegraph)


I guess it's my job to let you know that the world has a new ugliest dog as judged by the annual competition at the Sonoma-Marin County Fair. However, this year's winner, "Pabst," isn't nearly as ugly as tradition dictates, and it would seem that the judges simply wanted to break the stranglehold of the Chinese crested breed, which has dominated the competition for the past decade (or they were bribed). Nevertheless, you can check out Pabst and his competitors at


New Mexico has begun work on the world's first spaceport---a massive $200-million project that will be home to space tourist flights offered by Virgin Galactic, as well as space-related scientific research projects and other commercial interests to be carried out in space. Spaceport America, which boasts a 10,000-foot-long runway, will be finished in about 18 months when Richard Branson and his family will take the world's first family trip into orbit around the Earth, to be followed by a waiting list of 300 space tourists who have each put up $200,000 for six minutes of weightlessness during the two-hour flight. (BBC)


Eight spaceships traveling at 30,000 kilometers (18,641 miles) per second would take 10 billion years to explore just 4 percent of the Milky Way.

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