Jockstrip: The world as we know it

By United Press International  |  Dec. 27, 2004 at 6:01 AM
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British bookies pay for white Christmas

LONDON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- The white Christmas that made British roads treacherous has cost bookies thousands, however, a white Christmas in London would have made it worse.

The first white Christmas for most of Northern Ireland, Scotland, north Wales and parts of northwest England in years has bookies paying bettors, Sky News reported Sunday.

Between 1971 to 1992 it only snowed in 1980 across the United Kingdom on Christmas Day, but from 1993 to 2003 it snowed five times.

Bookies tabulate a snowfall if sleet or snow falls at the weather centers in London, Birmingham and Manchester in England; Cardiff, Wales; Belfast, Northern Ireland, or Aberdeen, Scotland, during the 24 hour-period of Christmas.

"We're not too frosty about the prospect of paying out as it is the first time we have done so since 2001," Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush. "This said, we estimate it has cost us over $961,000 as the record gamble started with a flurry and turned into an avalanche."

Posh Fla. neighborhood invaded by vultures

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- An upscale St. Petersburg, Fla., neighborhood has been overrun by nearly 200 messy vultures, the St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday.

Some of Walden Lake neighborhood's invaders are red-headed turkey vultures, and others are black vultures. They are common in Florida during the winter. They leave in the mornings and return at dusk, leaving plenty of droppings on the ground and trails below. Residents have repeatedly complained about the smell.

The vultures, refugees from the north, feast on dead animals, garbage and rubber. Residents say vultures have visited the community for years, but not in such numbers.

The Walden Lake Community Association obtained a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year to shoot some of the birds. So once a week, volunteers are allowed to shot into the trees with shotguns.

Association manager Tom Daramus said the goal is to scare the birds away, not to kill them.

Daramus, who gets the angry calls from residents, said he will continue to encourage the vultures to find a new winter home - one far from Walden Lake.

Door to closed grocery left open

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- No checkers, no baggers, no service -- apparently shoppers at a suburban Chicago grocery store were unfazed even though the store was supposed to be closed.

Someone apparently forgot to lock the door at the Jewel store in Buffalo Grove, which was supposed to be closed for Christmas Day.

A number of people went into the store, took baskets and strolled the aisles until police arrived on a regular patrol and informed the shoppers the store was closed.

"The people left when they realized they couldn't check out there," village President Elliott Hartstein told the Chicago Sun-Times.

A manager was called to lock up. Hartstein said nothing was reported missing.

Surprise, Neb., surprise

SURPRISE, Neb., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A simple retirement gift of a silver coin appears to have turned into an unexpected bonanza for a man from Surprise, Neb.

Larry Svoboda got a couple of coins for his retirement, only to find that one of them appears to be an 1804 silver dollar, reportedly worth millions, WETV-TV, Omaha, reported Saturday. He received the gift from a man he often traded coins with.

"This guy sat down with me, shook my hand and said, 'Happy retirement', and he handed me two coins," Svoboda said. "I got home and got to looking and said, 'Whoa, this is real rare.'"

Only 15 1804 silver dollars were ever made. The first sold for $4.5 million.

Svoboda, who has visited dealers in both York and Lincoln to see if his coin was legitimate, plans trips to Colorado and Arizona to consult with coin experts.

Svoboda hopes he can get $2.7 million for the rare coin. He says he will share half of whatever he gets with the donor, who apparently was not aware of the coin's value.

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