It was a dark and stormy contest
SAN JOSE, Calif., July 12 (UPI) -- A retired mechanical designer in California submitted 60 entries to win the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction contest for the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel.
"My motivation for entering the contest was to find a constructive outlet for my dementia," said Jim Guigli, who lives in the Sacramento area.
The contest honors 19th-century British author Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, best known for "The Last Days of Pompeii." Bulwer-Lytton created the immortal opening: "It was a dark and stormy night" in his 1830 novel, "Paul Clifford."
The contest started at San Jose State University in 1982 with three entries and now receives thousands of spoof sentences from Bulwer-Lytton wannabes worldwide.
Guigli's winning entry was:
"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."
Paper clip becomes new home in trade-up
KIPLING, Saskatchewan, July 12 (UPI) -- A Canadian man who played an online trade-up game has managed to secure a free house after starting with a lone red paper clip and making just 14 trades.
Kyle MacDonald, 26, of Belcarra, British Columbia, set out to see how far he could go last July, and beginning Wednesday, will move into his 1920s farmhouse in the small town of Kipling, Saskatchewan.
His trades increased to a pen, then a doorknob, a camping stove for a generator, and his final trade was the house for a walk-on part in the movie "Donna on Demand," the Globe and Mail reported.
Kipling Mayor Pat Jackson admitted the house trade was done for the publicity, although eager town volunteers had already hustled to paint and clean up the two-story, three-bedroom house.
The agricultural town plans to hold "the world's largest party" and auditions for the movie role on the Labor Day weekend to attract tourism, Jackson said.
The town council also plans to build the world's largest paper clip, which has to be larger than the current record of about 36 feet, Jackson said.
Famed NYC diner sits idle in Catskills
NEW YORK, July 12 (UPI) -- One of New York City's most famous diners escaped demolition, but has been sitting transplanted in unopened obscurity in upstate New York.
The Munson diner opened in the Big Apples' Hell's Kitchen area in the 1940s, and was a haunt of Andy Warhol, the New York Post said. It also served as a backdrop in the "Seinfeld" and "Law & Order" series on occasion.
To save it from being torn down to give an adjacent Volvo dealership more land, it was secured and moved by truck in May 2005 to the slumping town of Liberty, in the Catskills.
More than 20 interested parties have approached owner Jeremy Gorelick, but he said they weren't "the best fit" or didn't have the $250,000 start-up capital required.
Fans of the original site at the corner of 11th Avenue and 49th Street are even more miffed that since the eatery was hauled away, the car dealership hasn't done anything with the land but board it up, the report said.
U.S. funeral homes ditch the gloom
SAN ANTONIO, July 12 (UPI) -- U.S. funeral directors are changing the gothic image of funeral homes to reflect the more positive image of death held by most baby boomers.
San Antonio's Mission Park Funeral Chapels & Cemeteries chief Robert Tips told the San Antonio Express-News that as baby boomers become their primary customers, the U.S. funeral industry has shifted to a "celebrating life" mode.
The boomer generation is all about convenience and service with a smile, he said.
Tips said Mission Park is building five new funeral homes in San Antonio that will include facilities for weddings and banquets as well as concessions for funerals.
"The days of morbidly gloomy funeral homes are rapidly coming to a close," Tips said.
California homebuilder thinks very small
SEBASTOPOL, Calif., July 12 (UPI) -- A California homebuilder who offers houses that measure just 100 square feet says his creations take a fraction of the time to keep tidy a regular home does.
Jay Schafer is the founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., whose Tumblweedhouses.com Web site features more than 10 designs, some of which feature tiny gabled roofs, CBS News reported.
They are priced between $20,000 and $40,000, and have a kitchen and bathroom, and room for appliances -- even stacked washer and dryer combinations in larger models.
Schafer told the network said the homes are built to withstand winds of 180 mph, and said he spent an Iowa winter in one and paid just $170 for heating propane the entire season.
"A sense of space has much more to do with the quality of a place than with the quantity," he told CBS. "A well designed little house can feel roomy and a poorly designed mansion can feel crowded."