Desperate Small Town Erects World's Largest Fiberglass Chili Dog

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Vol 33 Issue 12

Only Two Golden Tickets Remain

PHOENIX—A third Wonka Golden Ticket was discovered Monday by American used-car heiress Violet Beauregard, reducing the number of undiscovered tickets to two. "It is imperative that I obtain a Wonka ticket," Pittsburgh steel magnate Alfred Van Crowley said. "My billions of dollars and thousands of loyal employees are of no comfort to me if I cannot tour the fantastic and mysterious Wonka factory and, most importantly, claim for myself a lifetime supply of chocolate, the most important substance in the universe." All other citizens of Earth have responded similarly, depleting supermarkets and sweetshops of crates of Wonka bars the moment they arrive. Analysts have noted with alarm that, thus far, no dear, good-hearted children have located tickets, with the first three going to nasty, wicked children.

Nine-Hundred-Pound Man Left To Die

MACON, GA—James Stotts, a 900-pound man whose morbid obesity has made him dependent upon family, friends and neighbors for most of his adult life, was officially left to die Monday. Too large to get out of bed or provide for himself in any way, Stotts, 37, had relied on aid from others for survival since first topping the 600-pound mark in 1986. "He can't even go to the bathroom by himself," said Macon councilman Gus Friar, co-sponsor of the Stotts-abandonment referendum, which passed by a wide majority. "I'll be damned if I know what he's going to do now. I guess he'll die, probably." Macon mayor Sandra Tomlinson was more conciliatory in her remarks. "It is sad and tragic that, in our society, a fellow human being can deteriorate into such a pitiable state. I hope he comes up with some way to help himself, although I can't imagine how."

Time Magazine Just Six Months From Big Cocktail-Nation-Craze Story

NEW YORK—Zeitgeist-monitoring sources reported Monday that Time magazine is a mere six months from a major cover story on the pop-cultural phenomenon known as "Cocktail Nation"—the retro-lounge revival of the early-'60s swinging bachelor-pad lifestyle that rose to popularity in the early '90s. "It is important that Time keep its readers abreast of cutting-edge developments such as Cocktail Nation," said Time editor-in-chief Ted Schildkraut. "We were also the first to bring readers the ultra-hip 'Riot-Grrrrl' movement of late '80s, which we featured in a big, timely, December 1996 piece." Other popular-trend stories that Time plans to run in the future: "Cigar Chic," in May 1999; "Everybody's Moving To Seattle," in 2001; and "Rap: The Beat Of The Street," in late 2006.

Congress Passes Freedom From Information Act

WASHINGTON, DC—Calling the unregulated flow of information "the single greatest threat to the emotional comfort and well-being of the American people," Congress passed the long-discussed Freedom From Information Act Monday.

Horoscope for the week of April 1, 1998

You will go down in crime lore after sweeping through Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts in a single afternoon, completing the most efficient tri-state killing spree in history.

The Boy Scout Crackdown

In a controversial decision, the California Supreme Court recently upheld the Boy Scouts Of America's right to ban homosexuals from its ranks, as either scouts or Scoutmasters. What do you think?
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Desperate Small Town Erects World's Largest Fiberglass Chili Dog

PURLEY, TX—After years of unsuccessful efforts to establish itself as a center of tourism, industry or Texas history, the tiny East Texas town of Purley finally put itself on the map Monday, when civic leaders unveiled the world's largest fiberglass chili dog.

The oversized wiener replica—centerpiece of Purley's campaign to become "Chili Dog Capital Of The World"—was christened at a ceremony attended by Purley's 233 residents, as well as reporters from as far away as Floyd County.

The monument that will soon have tourists "flocking to Purley in droves."

"In the name of the good people of Purley, Texas," said Mayor Owen Hudspeth, breaking a jar of mustard over the monument's base, "I hereby dedicate this statue as the official symbol of Purley chili-dog pride."

Conveniently located just 11 miles south of Highway 8, the giant simulated frank boasts a height of 27 feet and an estimated weight of two tons. According to Bernice Smalls, curator of Purley's soon-to-open National Chili Dog Hall Of Fame And Museum, the chili dog is the second tallest free-standing fiberglass food item in the world, second only to a 35-foot-tall corn muffin in Kearney, NE.

"To give you an idea of the size of this chili dog, consider that, if it were real, it would contain 24 million calories and 450,000 grams of fat," Smalls said. "You'd have to jog across Texas 415 times just to burn it off."

Added Smalls: "I certainly wouldn't recommend that to anyone on a diet."

The mayor said that the chili dog and the adjacent museum, opening June 1, should attract an estimated 400,000 tourists annually, pumping millions of dollars into the local economy and creating more than 300 wiener-related jobs. A two-star hotel is also under construction.

"We're really moving into the big-time now," Hudspeth said. "As Chili Dog Capital Of The World, Purley will be the vacation destination for millions of chili-dog lovers around the globe. I just hope we are equipped to handle the crush of visitors."

The massive chili-dog simulacrum is expected to help Purley lure tourists from the many other competing world capitals nearby, including: Centerville (Okra Capital Of The World); Tyler (Allen Wrench Capital Of The World); Nacogdoches (Carbon-Dioxide Capital Of The World); and Rusk (Unicycling Capital Of The World).

Purley Mayor Owen Hudspeth, who says the fiberglass chili dog will bring millions of tourist dollars to local businesses like the McMillin Grocery.

City councilman Bert Kendall, whose campaign to make Purley "Paprika City, U.S.A." was defeated last year in a 13-9 council vote, praised the chili dog at its unveiling.

"Purley has, in the past, been regarded as unexceptional," Kendall said. "But now, we have the world's largest chili dog. So, to that end, we are exceptional, in that no town anywhere has a larger chili dog."

Kendall's "Paprika City, U.S.A." proposal was just one of dozens considered by the Purley city council last year in an effort to increase the small town's notoriety. Among the items proposed for construction: the world's largest shoelace; a ferris wheel made of carpet; and "Truckhenge," described by city councilman Richard Serrano as "just like Stonehenge, only with trucks."

In the end, however, the chili-dog plan won out, and Purley residents seem pleased. "We sure are proud of our big old chili dog," retired farmer Cordell Bullock said. "Biggest chili dog in the world, that's what that sucker is."

"It's good to see that we've finally done something for the young people of this community," Purley High School math teacher Gwen Vernon said. "This will help teach children things like how big the world's largest chili dog is, and where it is."

Vernon noted that children can also learn about economics from the chili-dog museum's gift shop, which sells miniature plastic replicas of the chili dog, chili-dog snow globes, and T-shirts reading, "I Saw The World's Largest Fiberglass Chili Dog."

Bill Stone, owner of the local hardware store, put it best: "If you stand about 200 feet away, close one eye, and hold up your hand just right, it looks like you're holding a giant chili dog in your hand. That's kind of neat."

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