Wacky Travel News

Fake Sputnik Capsule – Berlin

Wacky Travel News that’s out of this world – (as is the totally inappropriate commentary that follows.

October 19, 2017 Edition

Suspected dark web drug kingpin arrested after traveling to US for world beard championships                                                                                                                        By Rob Thubron on Sep 29, 2017
If you’re a dark web drug dealer, it’s probably best to take certain precautions if you want to avoid being caught. Traveling to the US from your home in France to compete in the World Beard and Mustache Championships, for example, seems like an unnecessary risk, but that’s how one suspected drug kingpin was caught.38-year-old French national Gal Vallerius stands accused of acting as an administrator, senior moderator, and vendor for dark web marketplace Dream Market, where visitors can purchase anything from heroin to stolen financial data.Upon arriving at Atlanta international airport on August 31, Vallerius was arrested and his laptop searched. US Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly discovered $500,000 of Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash on the computer, as well a Tor installation and a PGP encryption key for someone called OxyMonster.Dream Market had been the subject of a multi-agency investigation since February 2016. In addition to his role with the site, agents had identified OxyMonster as a major seller of Oxycontin and crystal meth.”OxyMonster’s vendor profile featured listings for Schedule II controlled substances Oxycontin and Ritalin,” testified DEA agent Austin Love. “His profile listed 60 prior sales and five-star reviews from buyers. In addition, his profile stated that he ships from France to anywhere in Europe.”Investigators discovered OxyMonster’s real identity by tracing outgoing Bitcoin transactions from his tip jar to wallets registered to Vallerius. Agents then checked his Twitter and Instagram accounts, where they found many writing similarities, including regular use of quotation marks, double exclamation marks, and the word “cheers,” as well as intermittent French posts.The evidence led to a warrant being issued for Vallerius’ arrest. When he made his first visit to America to compete in the “full beard 30.1 – 45cm” category at the Austin, Texas event, Vallerius was arrested in Atlanta before he could catch the connecting flight. He is expected to be transferred to Miami, where he faces up to a life sentence for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

WOEFULTOURIST says, “Who knew that dark-webbers were so proud of their grooming skills.”


Dyson Will Build Electric Cars by 2020                                                                                   Bob Sorokanich / Road & Track / September 26, 2017
It’s been rumored for more than a year, and now it’s confirmed: Dyson, maker of painstakingly-engineered vacuum cleaners and other high-tech home appliances, is moving into the world of electric cars. Sir James Dyson, founder of the company that bears his name, has just announced a bold new plan to offer a range of electric cars as early as 2020.
The UK’s AutoExpress reports that Sir James circulated a letter to Dyson employees today informing them of the company’s move into electric cars. The founder has committed to a two-billion-pound investment (roughly $2.7 billion at today’s exchange rate) in the project – half for the car itself, and half to develop the new solid-state battery technology that will power it.
Sir James told AutoExpress that his company will not seek a partnership with any existing automaker to carry out its car-building plan.
“We’re not a johnny-come-lately to EVs,” Dyson told the British outlet. “I was interested in an all-electric car back in 1998 but the industry wasn’t interested. It wasn’t a fashionable thought in 1998; it wasn’t fashionable three years ago. I was very disappointed that none of [the existing manufacturers] solved this problem until bad publicity about diesel engines forced them to. I didn’t see what an existing manufacturer could offer us.”
The executive revealed to AutoExpress that the project has already been under development for two years, though he admitted that “we don’t have an existing prototype […] and what we’re doing is quite radical so there’s not an existing chassis that we can use.”
As for what the eventual Dyson car will look like, Sir James was a bit cagey. “It’s not a sports car and it’s not a very cheap car,” he told AutoExpress. “It’s about technology and using technology in an interesting way. We’re not going for the Leaf end [of the market].”
Sir James did promise that the Dyson line of electric cars will carry the same design flair that sets the company’s appliances apart from the crowd. “There’s no point in doing one that looks like everyone else’s,” he said. “We’re not in that business. You’ll have to wait and see. We’re trying to be radical.”
AutoExpress reveals that Sir James plans for his company’s electric cars to use solid-state batteries, an advanced technology that traditional automakers have not yet fully solved for automotive applications. Solid-state batteries promise more energy capacity, quicker charging, and safer packaging compared to today’s lithium-ion batteries.
According to Sir James, the first Dyson electric car will arrive in 2020, and kick off a range of Dyson vehicles. And he expects the automotive branch will become the biggest moneymaker of the Dyson empire.
As he told AutoExpress, “we know it’s a crowded market. But if you produce a product that has tech that’s genuinely better, that product people want, then it’s possible to make money. The vacuum cleaner market was crowded when we entered it, after all. If our car business goes anywhere I’d expect it to be bigger than the rest of it [the other Dyson divisions] quite quickly.”

WOEFULTOURIST says, “He bets the Dyson cars will really suck and have incredibly clean carpets.”


Builders: Bomb shelter business booming                                                                             August 16, 2017
Tensions between North Korea and the United States are stirring memories of the Cold War and inspiring fear-fueled home improvements: bomb shelters.
Building backyard bomb shelters caught on amid the missile crisis of 1962, when the Soviet Union brought nuclear-tipped missiles to Cuba and aimed them at the U.S., The Telegraph reported. The threat of nuclear war loomed for two weeks as President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev faced off.
Builders say shelters are making a comeback.
“When Trump took office, it doubled our sales, and then when he started making crazy statements, we got a lot more orders,” Walton McCarthy of Norad Shelter Systems LLC in Garland, Texas, told The Telegraph. “Between now and a year ago, we’ve quadrupled our sales.”
Atlas Survival Shelters, McCarthy’s California-based competitor, sold 30 shelters in three days last week, The Telegraph reported. In 2011, its first year of business, the company sold a total of 10.
At Rising S Company the last month, business has been booming, WFAA reported. The Texas business is currently building 40 underground bunkers, and has 80 more in the works.
“Ninety-nine percent are calling and they are worried about North Korea,” Gary Lynch of Rising S Company told WFAA. 
Lynch said bunkers cost $45,000 and up. Clients’ requests have included the usual, such as kitchens, family rooms, and bedrooms, and the extravagant: swimming pools, gun ranges and even horse stables.

WOEFULTOURIST says, “And if the President starts ranting and raving about the looming zombie apocalypse, the boom will accelerate exponentially.”


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Tourist Tips – New York City

Looking Uptown from Madison Square Garden – NYC


WOEFULTOURIST loves Manhattan, however even he realizes that there are aspects of the City which could easily confuse tourists who are not as familiar with the inns and outs of the place, as he is.

This is especially true for those visitors who try and deal with life in a logical and intelligent fashion.  If this describes you to a tee shirt, then you indeed have cause for concern because logic and common sense tend to be frowned upon, in the Big Apple.

So, as long as you don’t expect everything to run like clockwork, or the subway system to have routes that have some sort of rhyme or reason for where they’re located, you will do just fine.

If however, you are one of those people who do not expect disruptions to your very well detailed plans which entail, among other unrealistic expectations, that you will not encounter lines at any of the major tourist traps – er-attractions, then in WOEFULTOURIST’S humble opinion, you are going to have some issues during your stay.

So, to help minimize the blow to your sensibilities, WOEFULTOURIST will try to explain some of the major confusions which you will no doubt confront on your visit to the Big Apple.

To begin with, Madison Square Garden, home to professional sports teams, as well as a world famous venue for major concerts and shows, is not actually located on Madison Avenue.  Nor is it to be found anywhere near Madison Square.  While there is a garden in Madison Square, you are not likely to cross paths with members of any professional sports teams, practicing there.  Still confused?  Good.

You should also keep in mind that Manhattan is an island.  The whole “Manhattan Island” deal should have given that away.  As such, to get in or out of NYC, you have no choice but to deal with bridges, or tunnels.  One of the bridges you might encounter is called the Throgs Neck Bridge.   For your own well being, please do not ask a local what a “Throg” is!  The tragic demise of the Throg family is still difficult for many New Yorkers to come to terms with even though it happened many years ago.  So simply accept the fact that the Throgs were a very powerful and important New York City family and that honoring any part of them, including their necks, shows that the City is not as heartless as one often reads about in the tabloids.

Still focusing on the whole island thing and that islands are what they are because they are surrounded by water, tourists should be cognizant of the fact that if you go the furthest east that you can, you will be confronted with the aptly named, East River.   Similarly, if you go as far west as you can you will encounter another river.  It’s name?  The Hudson River, of course.  Anyone answering West River please take your note books and iPads and have a seat in the back of the bus.

In lower Manhattan sits a park called Bowling Green.  While no bowling occurs there today, for many years it hosted all of the major US bowling championships.  Specifically it held that designation from 1776 up to 1812.  That year, someone made an overture to Philly and with one big bang, those buggers swooped right in and took over the whole shebang.  So remember, although you can’t actually bowl in Bowling Green, anymore, you can, and should, remember.

Finally, and this may come as a shock, but Times Square is not a square, or even a parallelogram for that matter. It is actually a bunch of triangles formed by Broadway (how they still get away with that politically incorrect term still astounds WOEFULTOURIST) bisecting the entire area on a diagonal.  Plus, even though Mr. Times moved out years ago, there was an insanity clause in his contract that requires NYC to continue using his name until the next Ice Age.

WOEFULTOURIST hopes he has helped to create some confusion and allow you to better enjoy your visit to the Big Apple.

As for the high prices, traffic jams, ever present police sirens, panhandlers, garbage and people who don’t know how to walk in a straight line, all WOEFULTOURIST can say is, “Welcome to New York, baby!”

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Wacky Travel News

Fake Sputnik Capsule – Berlin

Wacky Travel News that’s out of this world – (as is the totally inappropriate commentary that follows.

October 17, 2017 Edition

Belgian hotel rents fish to lonesome guests
Ariel Camilo/freeimages.com / September 06, 2017

A Belgian hotel is offering its solo guests a fish for companionship for around $4 per night.

The Hotel Charleroi Airport has been running the fish rental service for several years, but has only recently caught peoples’ attention after a social media post went viral.

“We started a few years ago. The idea was to surprise our guests, as we always try to do,” hotel manager David Dillen told The Independent. “It’s brilliant to see how people react to it. They smile, they take pictures to put on social media. We rent a few fish per week.”

Dillen also put animal cruelty concerns to rest by adding that the hotel takes “very good care of our fish.”

WOEFULTOURIST says, “Fish are not only good listeners, they taste great.”


Taco Bell adding booze at 300 new locations
Kellie Keesee/CNN / Posted: September 20, 2017

Fast-food giant Taco Bell is planning an expansion with more than 300 new restaurants in urban areas, ditching drive-thrus and offering alcohol, according to Food & Wine.
Fast-food giant Taco Bell is planning an expansion with more than 300 new restaurants in urban areas, ditching drive-thrus and offering alcohol, according to Food & Wine.

The new restaurants will be “cantina-style” with new artwork, open kitchens and digital menu boards. These locations will also serve beer, wine, sangria and “Twisted Freezes,” which will be slushies made with tequila, rum or vodka.

“One of the cool things happening in America right now is the revitalization of urban areas, and we’re seeing millennials moving into downtown areas,” said Mike Grams, Taco Bell’s COO.

Grams says with the addition of these new locations, it shows Taco Bell “isn’t afraid to try new things.”

WOEFULTOURIST says, “Because your body doesn’t generate enough gas from Mexican food without the beer.”


On the hunt: Lithuanians race to pick wild mushrooms
Liudas Dapkus, Associated Press, September 26, 2017

VARENA, Lithuania (AP) — Hundreds of Lithuanians ran around with baskets and buckets Saturday in a southeastern pine forest.
Why you ask? It’s the national championship of wild mushroom picking — a competition always held on the last Saturday in September.
That’s when conditions are “not too dry, not too wet, the humidity is perfect,” explained mushroom hunter Janina Juodine.
A rainy, relatively warm summer created ideal conditions for the foraging festival in Lithuania, where forests cover more than 33 percent of the Baltic country and mushroom-hunting is considered the second-most popular sport after basketball.
“Walking between trees and looking for big brown mushrooms is a great way of spending a Saturday,” said Julius Sostakas, an IT engineer from Vilnius. “It is a part of our cultural heritage.”
Mushrooms — fresh, dried, salted or marinated — are considered an essential element in Lithuanian cuisine, used in many dishes to add special flavor to meat, fish and potatoes.
More than four hundred edible varieties can be found in Lithuania’s forests, including edible boletus, slippery jacks, chanterelles, blewits and morels.
The festival Saturday took place 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the capital, Vilnius, close to the border with Belarus. It drew thousands of onlookers as well as local mushroom sellers dressed in Lithuanian folk costumes — colorful knee-long skirts with embroidered aprons and woven sashes.
“This is a great event,” contest judge Rimute Avizininene told The Associated Press.
She said 21 teams had participated, adding that the largest picked edible boletus — known in the country as the king of Lithuania’s forests — weighed 621 grams (22 ounces).
A local team called Mushroom Nightmares won Saturday’s contest by delivering 58 kilograms (128 pounds) of mushrooms.

WOEFULTOURIST says, “If the mushrooms there are so wild, how come a team of pickers get over 120 pounds in a couple of hours without losing any blood in the process.”



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Everything In Its’ Place

A collection of ocean side bars, though not in Oceanside. The palm trees should have given that away.


For decades WOEFULTOURIST has been told that, “There’s no place like Nome.”

“Nome is where the heart is.”

Which is all fine and dandy, he supposes.

But on rare occasions, he has a need to know where some of the other body parts reside.

Yet no bar trivia contest he has ever been a part of, and there have been good and plenty, has delved into that all important subject matter.

Which got WOEFULTOURIST to wondering all sorts of things, none of which are pertinent to this current topic.

Which somehow, following bread crumbs leading to grandma’s house have not yet been eaten by hungry birds, leads indirectly to the brain and where it dwells.

Since WOEFULTOURIST succeeds in not using that particular organ unless he has been left with no other option, he has no real idea what type of lodgings it would most likely be found in.

Possibly a library.

Possibly a university.

Possibly a university library!

So where would one find the finest university library?

How should WOEFULTOURIST know.  The only “library” he ever encountered while at college was a bar called, “The Library”.

And since much knowledge was dishonored at that lovely drinking establishment, the only conclusion WOEFULTOURIST can draw is that the brain is to be found in a university bar, though not likely in Nome.

When it comes to lungs, WOEFULTOURIST knows a good pair when he sees them.

And the best ones he has (seen) was at an oceanside bar in Fort Lauderdale.

Or was it at an oceanside bar in Seaside?

Or a seaside bar in Oceanside?

Which is all too confusing.

And since his brain lives at a university bar nowhere near where he currently resides, all WOEFULTOURIST can deduce is that the lungs reside at a bar, overlooking some body of water, though not likely, Nome.

Which seems kind of appropriate, somehow.

As for the bladder, well that’s a no brainer (water side).

It resides in a bar.

Bathroom to be specific.

One with the fresh smell of freshly picked daisies.

One that’s large enough to accommodate anyone and everyone.

One that never has a line in front of it.

That’s right.

The bladder resides in a bar restroom (not likely in Nome) that doesn’t really exist.

Except, that is (but what am I) in the wishful minds of patrons waiting in line to use one.

The body aches and WOEFULTOURIST isn’t there to offer any help.

Sorry but you’re not cutting in front of him, even if you do wet yourself.

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Surfing – Munich

Surfing, Munich style.


The older WOEFULTOURIST gets, the less he understands.

He secretly wishes that it was solely due to alcohol destroying all of his brain cells and leaving just enough to be able to take care of basic human functions like being able to eat soup without dribbling it all down his shirt.

But that’s not the real reason.

Fact is that the older he gets the more complicated life gets.

And the more you complicate things, the more difficult it is just to keep up with the Jones sausage guys.

Or keep your head above the waterboard.

Or keep pace with the trotters.

Way back in his youth, life was pretty darned simple.

You had your simple rules to live by.

All ten of them.

If you failed to abide by the rules, you were punished for doing so.

Of course being young and full of yourself you tried to get around abiding by the rules, only to get caught and punished twice as hard.

Because that’s what you do when you’re youthful.

You think the older folk are slow and gullible and you can easily pull a fast one on them – failing to take into consideration that the old folk once were young folk and did the same things that you are attempting, with the same results.

They’ve seen it all, while you’ve hardly seen anything.

Now on occasion there were exceptions to the rules, which were always explained in a simple and succinct fashion.

Namely, “Because I said so.”

Today, however, it seems that there are more exceptions to the rules than there are adherents.

“That’s true, but only on Tuesdays and Saturdays.”

It’s gotten to the point, that WOEFULTOURIST finds it’s a much simpler strategy of existence to simply accept the fact that nothing makes sense and go through life shrugging a lot, while acknowledging, “You gotta admit, that’s pretty weird.”

Which is basically how he felt when in Munich, Germany.

No, not the massive quantities of high quality beer consumed by locals and tourists alike.

No, not the fact that even though he was in Germany, the locals spoke English better than he did.

No, it was the surfing.

And he’s not talking about sitting in some café, opening up his laptop and letting everyone in the area steal his passwords, emails and other electronic material which he never bothers to hide from prying eyes (an Eagles song, if he remembers incorrectly) since it’s just too complicated and life is too short.

No, he’s talking about “hanging five”, “surfs up” and “way to go, moon doggie.”

That’s right, in the heart of the Englischer Park dudes and dudettes go surfing.

With boards and stuff.

No, it’s not in a man made water park with man made waves.

No, Munich isn’t within a thousand miles of an ocean.

Yes, on a short stretch of the Isar River, which runs through Englischer Park, somehow waves are formed which local enthusiasts discovered allow you to surf.

How and why there are waves in a slow, meandering river flowing through a park, is probably complicated, so not worth the trouble of trying to understand.

How and why someone discovered that the waves could be ridden with a surfboard (given the amount of said surfboards present in the middle of Germany at the time of the discovery) is also probably complicated, so not worth the trouble of WOEFULTOURIST trying to understand.

Instead, WOEFULTOURIST simply stood and stared, recognizing that none of it made any sense.

So he shrugged, took a few pictures to convince the neighbors that he hadn’t lost all of his marbles (along with his brain cells) and acknowledged to no one in particular, “You gotta admit, that’s pretty weird.”




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