Even Better Than the Real Thing?
There’s something to be said for traveling on the cheap, but if you booked your vacation with these guys, that something might be a dirty, dirty lie.
Persey Tours, a travel agency in Moscow, was having trouble staying afloat until it started selling fake vacations last year, the L.A. Times reports.
Fake vacations?!! You bet your lying eye.
For a paltry $500, you can have all your buddies believing you spent the last week walking along the Great Wall of China, or fishing off a hut in Bora Bora, or even chilling surfside at a resort in Dubai — whatever floats your baloney-laden boat, according to the Times.
But for Persey Tours, faking a vacation is serious business. So serious, in fact, that they go out of their way to provide vacation vouchers like ticket stubs, doctored photos, souvenirs and forged hotel receipts, the newspaper reported.
Say, for example, a wayward husband wants the missus to believe he spent the weekend catching fish. Persey Tours not only provides photos of the phony fisherman on the river, but also a fraudulent long-distance cell phone number and a lodge that will say the customer is staying there but is currently ... ahem ... unavailable. They’ll even throw in a couple of frozen fishies to boot.
Apparently, if it looks like the real thing in Russia, it cuts the mustard. A little bit of green can get you anything from fake car insurance to a forged pass to the Kremlin with a sham-tastic replica of Vladimir Putin’s John Hancock, according to the Times.
"It's like the French notion of faire montrer. It's better to look like something than to be something. It's a very Eastern way of thinking," Yuri Lubimov, advisor to the economic development minister on piracy issues, told the paper.
And for Persey Tours, no request is too … well … out there. Last year, the company made $2,000 helping a Siberian gas station owner fool his friends into believing he hitched a ride on the Russian space shuttle to the moon, according to the Times article.
"Of course he was smiling when he ordered this," Dmitry Popov, founder of Persey Tours, told the paper. "But he paid."
Fugitive Burger to Go, Please ... Wait, Scratch That
CASSADAGA, N.Y. (AP) — A jail escapee who has managed to elude a massive police search for more than a month has inspired T-shirts and even has a hamburger named after him.
State police continue to search an area of rural Chautauqua County for Ralph "Bucky'' Phillips, the 44-year-old inmate who escaped from a Buffalo-area jail last spring by using a can opener to cut through a kitchen ceiling.
He's accused of shooting a trooper outside Elmira in early June. The trooper survived, and Phillips remains on the lam in the woods around his hometown in the state's far southwestern corner.
That's where some bars are selling T-shirts and bumper stickers with sayings such as "Where's Buck?'' and "Got Bucky?''
With heavy media coverage of the manhunt helping to make the suspect a household name, a restaurant in Cassadaga has added a "Bucky Burger'' to its menu. The burger is available "to go.''
It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Brandon Routh Made of Butter!
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Visitors to this summer's Iowa State Fair will flock to see the butter carvings, including the traditional butter cow — but a new sculptor will be at work.
Sarah Pratt, a 29-year-old schoolteacher from Norwalk, is in the process of becoming lead butter sculptor after 15 years of learning from Norma "Duffy" Lyon, the fair's famed "butter cow lady."
Lyon, who's been carving butter at the fair for 45 years, announced in 2002 that she was cutting back to give Pratt the opportunity to take over the job.
So what's in store this year?
The butter highlights are "Superman Returns" star and Iowa native Brandon Routh, variety show icon Bill Riley and of course, the traditional butter cow.
"(Superman) will be standing upright, cape fluttering," Pratt said. "With the weight of butter, it'd be hard to have him flying."
Pratt, the mother of twin 2-year-old daughters, hasn't seen the movie yet, but plans to buy tickets soon.
"We wanted to incorporate pop culture, something people can relate to, famous Iowans," she said.
Pratt will also carve a tribute to Riley to commemorate the variety show emcee's 60th year at the fair, in addition to the traditional butter cow exhibit, all located in the Agriculture Building.
The Iowa State Fairs runs Aug. 10-20.
Lady-Chasing Grizzly a Real Man's Bear
GOLDEN, British Columbia (AP) — Boo the runaway grizzly bear has returned on his own to his enclosure at a resort, apparently because of the ease of getting food and the end to the mating season, officials said.
After nearly three weeks on the lam after busting out of confinement, the 4-year-old bear ambled back into the 22-acre artificial enclosure Saturday, said Michael Dalzell, sales and marketing director at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort outside this town on the western slope of the Canadian Rockies.
"We believe he came back because he recognizes this as his comfort area and a reliable source of food," Dalzell said Monday.
Resort operators should have plenty of time to figure out how to keep Boo from getting loose again, he said.
"We feel that now that mating season is over, his urge to escape will be minimized," Dalzell said.
Boo escaped twice within two weeks last month, the second time on June 25, when he bashed a nearly 400-pound steel door off its four bolts, destroyed an electrical box while tearing through two electric fences and scrambled over a 12-foot fence anchored with two feet of steel below ground.
Between escapes, resort operators and officials in the provincial Environment Ministry contemplated neutering him, but he made his second getaway before they could act.
"We're working again with the MOE to find a solution," Dalzell said, adding that he couldn't say what solutions were being considered.
The bear has lived in the enclosure since his mother was illegally shot by a hunter in 2002. It's unclear how long he could fend for himself and, being used to humans, would likely be a problem if left to roam, experts said.
Boo's apparent desire for a mate caught his keepers off guard because grizzlies usually don't mature until age 5. Officials said the regular and easy supply of food might have enabled him to mature a year early.
The resort isn't taking any chances and has made the bear enclosure off-limits to visitors, at least for the summer, Dalzell said.
Woman Can Keep 200 Cats, Can't Expand Collection
PIERSON, Fla. (AP) — After a nasty cat fight with her neighbors, a Volusia County woman has won the right to care for her cats: all 200 of them.
Kristy Grant was granted in a commission meeting to keep her cats, just as long as she doesn't add more cats. And they must stay on her property.
But residents say that's not enough and the litter of cats are nothing more than a nuisance. One neighbor says he's fed up with Grant's cats sleeping on his car and defecating up and down his driveway.
Grant has already fenced in her property, but animal control says the fence won't keep the cats from getting out. She hopes to install an electric fence but adds that she will need help raising the money.
Finders Keepers, But Only for a Decade or So
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — The best story behind Bernice Weinkauf's antique brooch is no longer about the aunt who gave it to her.
Ten years after losing the 70-year-old rhinestone clasp in a restaurant parking lot, Weinkauf was reunited with her treasured jewelry last week after the woman who originally found it finally placed an ad in the newspaper.
That woman, who did not want to be identified by the San Angelo Standard-Times, told the newspaper she "felt so guilty" for waiting so long. She had intended to locate the owner but forgot until rediscovering the brooch in an old purse, she said.
"This was just the time," Weinkauf said.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Taylor Timmins.
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