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Remembering 'world's ugliest dog' all year long

When we learned that Sam, "the world's ugliest dog," had passed away this week, little did we know that Sam's demise would be transformed into a unique business opportunity.
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When we learned that Sam, "the world's ugliest dog," had passed away this week, we imagined the world greeted the news with emotions ranging from sadness to amusement to relief. But little did we know that Sam's demise would be transformed into a unique business opportunity: A photo calendar!

If you have grown bored with Sports Illustrated swimsuit models or Pam Anderson in various stages of undress, you can mark 2006 with monthly depictions of "purebred" Sam scratching his diseased skin, sitting next to a stone gargoyle that looks like his long-lost brother and, of course, wearing a Santa suit for December.

The late canine's owner, Susie Lockheed, says she will donate a portion of the $18 calendar's proceeds to a Utah animal shelter, which we think is a nice gesture. And for those who may think Ms. Lockheed's publishing venture is doomed to failure, you might be interested to know her blog devoted to her hard-on-the-eyes pet has received a supposed 45 million hits since its August launch.

But where to display the snaggle-toothed Sam calendar? For those on a diet, the refrigerator would be great place. If your pet is suffering from low self-esteem, put the calendar in his doghouse so he can think, "I may be hosting a flea convention and my breath smells like a sewer, but at least I'm not that."

For those of you who can't get enough Sam stuff a separate Web site sells a T-shirt, photo magnet and an "ugly mug" coffee cup — presumably designed mainly for left-handed people, as Sam's picture would face away from you when you take a sip.

  • Not-so-bad ideasIf you're the nation's largest home-improvement chain and pride yourself on keeping prices low, then you must also keep a keen eye on controlling costs. But Home Depot may have taken the concept a bit too far when it banned a customer for walking out of a store with a pencil.

CarpenterMichael Panorelli, 51, was accused of shoplifting from a Methuen, Mass., Home Depot store last week after he absent-mindedly pocketed a pencil he had used to do some quick math.Panorelli was with a client and had just bought some lumber when the client picked up a pencil sitting next to a cash register for Panorelli to use. Panorelli pocketed the pencil and was met in the parking lot by a worker who asked for identification.The worker presented Panorelli with one letter saying he was banned from Home Depot and another advising that he would be hearing from the company’s lawyers.After Panorelli went public over the pencil punishment, Home Depot apologized, saying the incident was prompted by a narrow interpretation of its shoplifting-prevention rules. We're guessing the store's management is drafting a memo addressing the issue — as long as they can find something to write it with.

  • We know foodies can be obsessive about their favorite fare, to the point where they join clubs that deliver choice cheeses, fine wines and select steaks to their door every month. But do  gastronomes have the appetite to join the Peanut-Butter-And-Jelly-Of-The-Month Club?

For the bargain-basement price of $249.95, you get a 13-month supply of "unique" peanut butter spreads, plus "original" jellies made from "obscure fruits, wild flowers, and even one concocted from kudzu, 'the vine that ate the South.'" Sounds delicious. But sorry, Wonder Bread is not included.