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Grumpy Santa fired

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine -- A mall in Maine has sacked Santa Claus after children and parents complained he was rude, grumpy and wouldn't even let one child sit on his lap.

Officials at the Maine Mall in South Portland say they're looking for a jollier Santa and hope to have him in place Thursday.

Jessica Mailhiot and her six-year-old daughter, Chantel, went to see Santa this week. They told a TV station he was rude and wouldn't let the girl sit on his lap when they said they didn't want to buy a $20 photo.

Chantel says when she asked Santa for an American Girl doll, he replied she'd get an "American football."

When the mom posted her story online, others shared similar experiences.

The station contacted the Santa but he didn't want to comment.

Go to the moon for $1.5B

WASHINGTON -- Attention wealthy nations and billionaires: A team of former NASA executives will fly you to the moon in an out-of-this-world commercial venture combining the wizardry of Apollo and the marketing of Apple.

For a mere $1.5 billion, the business is offering countries the chance to send two people to the moon and back, either for research or national prestige.

And if you are an individual with that kind of money to spare, you too can go the moon for a couple days.

Some space experts, though, are skeptical of the firm's financial ability to get to the moon. The venture called Golden Spike Co. was announced Thursday.

Dozens of private space companies have started up recently, but few if any will make it -- just like in other fields -- said Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks launches worldwide.

"This is unlikely to be the one that will pan out," McDowell said.

NASA's last trip to the moon launched 40 years ago today. The United States is the only country that has landed people there, beating the Soviet Union in a space race to the moon that transfixed the world. But once the race ended, there has been only sporadic interest in the moon.

U.S. President Barack Obama cancelled NASA's planned return to the moon, saying America had already been there.

On Wednesday, a National Academy of Sciences said the nation's space agency has no clear goal or direction for future human exploration.

Pizza-scented perfume

GOOD news for people who have always wanted to smell like pizza. Pizza Hut Canada has released Eau de Pizza Hut, a limited-edition perfume inspired by a Facebook post that jokingly asked customers what they would name a pizza-scented fragrance.

The company posted a photo ofthe fake perfume along with the caption, "Do you love the smell of a box of Pizza Hut pizza being opened? We thought so. If that smell was a perfume, what would it be called?"

The post got such a positive response the fast food company created 110 bottles of Eau de Pizza Hut and handed them out through a Facebook contest.

If you missed out on your chance to get a bottle of pizza perfume, Beverley D'Cruz, marketing and product development director, Pizza Hut Canada, suggested there may be more in store.

"For now, we've only produced 110 bottles of Eau de Pizza Hut, but who knows what the future has in store," said D'Cruz in a press release.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 7, 2012 A22

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