Carols have residents wishing for earplugs
NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Intended holiday cheer being spread by retailers in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., has some area residents pleading for a "Silent Night."
The Flatbush Business Improvement District has installed a series of speakers that play a loop of Christmas carols throughout the day, the New York Times reported Monday.
The problem is the level of the speakers, described by many as "earsplitting."
"It's annoying. Tell them to shut it off," a police officer walking his beat told the newspaper. "It's so loud we can't even hear our radios."
"That (expletive) music is annoying," said Dayshawn Collins, 17. "Someone ought to break those things."
One of Santa's reindeer living in Midwest
LAKE VILLA, Ill., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The owner of a Wisconsin Christmas tree farm is the proud owner of one of Santa Claus' reindeer.
The reindeer's name is Douglas, as in the fir, and he was previously owned by a Mundelein, Ill., man who had changed his name to Santa Claus, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Rich Rosko, who lives in nearby Lake Villa, owns a Christmas tree farm in Wisconsin and has three pet reindeer of his own. He met Santa seven years ago when he appeared at the stable where Rosko kept the animals.
Santa wanted to buy the reindeer, but Rosko said he couldn't part with them. Instead, he referred Santa to reindeer breeders. Rosko said that was the last he heard of him until he received news this summer that the man named Santa Claus had died of a heart attack, the newspaper said.
A Mundelein man had bought two of Santa's reindeer. One had died and he was looking for a home for the other.
Rosko took Douglas into his herd.
"We have one of Santa Claus' reindeer. I can legally, totally say that, and it would not be fabricated at all," he told the Tribune.
Museum to honor unlucky, dead sparrow
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- A Dutch museum will honor a common house sparrow that caused an uproar when it was shot for knocking over a massive display of stacked dominoes.
Animal rights activists were incensed at the shooting last month, when an exterminator downed the bird as workers toiled at building a record-setting domino maze for a televised toppling event. A tribute Web site was set up attracting more than 24,000 hits, and radio stations offered bounties for anyone who could knock down more of the dominoes before the event.
The organizers of the event say they broke their own record of 3,992,397 dominoes, set last year, by successfully felling 4,155,476.
On Friday, the man who shot the bird was fined $200 for shooting a protected species, the BBC said.
The Rotterdam Natural History Museum Monday announced the bird had been kept frozen by the Ministry of Justice, and said it would be stuffed and featured in a tribute display next year, perched atop a box of dominoes.
Ford Theatre gets Mary Lincoln's chair
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Washington's Ford Theatre now has the chair Mary Todd Lincoln was believed sitting in the night her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, was killed.
The carved-back, cane-seat parlor chair from the presidential box was donated to the U.S. government by an anonymous Virginia family last week, the Washington Post reported Monday.
"This is a fabulous thing we've been given. We're very excited about it," Gloria Swift, the National Park Service's curator for Ford's Theatre, told the newspaper.
The chair apparently made its way out of the building via a construction worker on the crew charged with turning the theater into an office building after John Wilkes Booth assassinated the president.
The worker gave the parlor chair to the Virginia family, where it was handed down for generations, Swift said.
The space was restored in the 1950s with replicas of the chairs on which Lincoln and his wife were sitting that night. Lincoln's chair is in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearbon, Mich.