ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Vladimir Putin showed a whimsical side this weekend, taking a stage to play a piano and sing Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" in English.
The Russian premier wowed a celebrity crowd including Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner and Goldie Hawn at a children's charity dinner in St. Petersburg, ABC News reported.
Putin initially took a seat at the piano, carefully playing the opening notes before heading over to the microphone. His spokesman said Putin learned the lyrics in his English class and takes music lessons when he can.
Putin has been showing a softer side lately. Last week he invited the 5-year-old winner of a nationwide competition to name his new Bulgarian Shepherd puppy to his official residence to meet the dog. Buffy was a present from Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
The folksy photo ops are a contrast to images of Putin swimming in Siberian rivers or stalking a tiger with a tranquilizer gun.
Canadians love their Christmas cards, eh?
OTTAWA, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Canadians still love getting Christmas cards by snail mail, a survey reveals.
The survey conducted by Harris/Decima for Canada Post found 8-of-10 Canadians really like getting a holiday card in the mail, Postmedia News reported Monday. That's up from 71 percent in 2008.
The average Canadian will mail out about 15 cards this holiday season with nearly a quarter of all Canadians (23 percent) sending out more than 21 cards.
Canadian women are especially fond of mailing best wishes (75 percent), but the men aren't that far behind (62 percent).
About 40 percent of those polled said they would resort to sending some digital cards this year. But the average was only five per person.
"While Canadians are communicating electronically more than ever before, there is still nothing better than sending and receiving a card in the mail, especially at this time of year," Postmedia quoted Mary Traversy, senior vice president of transaction mail at Canada Post, as saying.
"We're ready to deliver all those greetings and recommend getting them in the mail by Friday to avoid disappointment."
The survey of 1,001 Canadians was conducted by telephone Nov. 5-10. Its margin of error is plus 3.1 percentage points.
Survey shows mistresses get better gifts
NEW YORK, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- American men spend twice as much on their mistresses during the holidays as they do on their wives, a survey reveals.
And the survey by an outfit purporting to be an "infidelity service," AshleyMadison.com, says the No. 1 gift cheaters are buying this year for that little something on the side is jewelry. Lingerie and time at a day spa also are high on the list.
But that's not to say men are exactly lavishing their mistresses with bling -- the survey indicates the average is just $125, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
The wives can expect perfume, bath and body products, and gift cards under the Christmas tree, the newspaper said.
AshleyMadison.com, which says it has been keeping an eye on this aspect of holiday gift-buying for five years, says it got 143,717 responses this year, up from 28,994 in 2006.
And with the United States going through some tough economic times, the survey found men are showing financial restraint -- spending 22 percent less on their wives compared with 2006, while putting a freeze on their extramarital spending.
Man gets cash back, but no wallet
DESTIN, Fla., Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A Florida man who left a wallet containing $2,000 at a Subway restaurant said the wallet's still missing but the money was returned.
John Teeter said workers at the Destin eatery gave him access to security footage from about 8:40 a.m. Wednesday when the cameras captured him leaving and a girl ordering food and taking the wallet, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported Monday.
Teeter posted video and pictures to a Web site and he said the girl contacted him Friday with an apology and a promise to return the money. He said he received the money from the girl, but she told him she had already thrown away the wallet, which contained his ID and credit cards.
Teeter said he will not be pressing any charges.
UPI Almanac for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014
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