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Parade ends 2007 with a laugh

MIAMI, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The 26th King Mango Strut Parade in Miami was headlined by acts and floats poking fun at current events and politics.


The irreverent attractions at the annual parade Sunday included a man dressed as daredevil Evel Knievel wiping out while attempting a bicycle jump over a group of friends and a "Brokeback Havana" float featuring Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and a sign that said they were "partying like it's 1959," the Miami Herald reported Monday.

The parade was also attended by a woman posing as astronaut Lisa Nowak, who -- with a diaper duct taped to her waist -- chased an Audi containing parade participants posing as the troubled astronaut's ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

"She took my boyfriend away," yelled Antionette Baldwin, the woman dressed as Nowak. "We used to go for long walks in space. You were my space cowboy!"

A 12-person team made up a broken ice mass designed to represent the melting of the polar ice caps as a result of global warming, the Herald said.


"You make me hot and I'm melting for you," yelled Luis Hernandez, who made up a portion of the ice flow.

Organizers may scrap Hogmanay tickets

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The sagging popularity of Scotland's world-famous Hogmanay New Year's celebrations had organizers considering not charging for the event.

Steve Cardownie said Sunday the Edinburgh street party had become a victim of its own success with revelers being lured to "copycat" celebrations elsewhere in the city, The Scotsman reported Monday.

In 1997, an estimated 300,000 people crammed into the city center for the event, but just about 100,000 opted to shell out money for tickets this year.

"At one time, the street party was the only one of its kind in the UK, but it has now been replicated in cities like Newcastle, Liverpool and Glasgow so people aren't coming to Edinburgh in the vast numbers they did in previous years," Cardownie said.

"That means we might not need the enclosed spaces and the expense of stewarding, which could also allow us to get rid of charging people for tickets."

The city council also is planning to move part of the evening indoors so the event is less dependent on good weather, The Independent reported.


LA studying car-living program

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A Santa Barbara, Calif., program that allows people to live in their cars in selected parking lots is being considered as a model for Los Angeles.

The 5-year-old program, administered by the New Beginnings Counseling Center, allows people to live in cars and RVs in parking lots owned by the city, the county, churches, non-profits and a few businesses, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The Venice Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles is studying the program with Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl as a possible solution to the increased crowding of city blocks brought about by an influx of people living in their cars.

"The streets aren't meant for living -- it's not acceptable," said Mike Newhouse, president of the Venice Neighborhood Council. "And most folks here think it's not acceptable that anyone should be forced to live in a vehicle."

Santa Barbara's Safe Parking program employs caseworkers who check in with those allowed to live in the lots and help them obtain jobs, medical attention and car repairs. The caseworkers also assist those involved in the program with the process of applying for low-income housing.

Scholars brew up ancient Irish beer


GALWAY, Ireland, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- An ancient site in Ireland is believed to have once been a brewery and two archaeologists tried to prove the theory by using it to brew up a batch of ale.

The stone-mound site near Galway had puzzled scholars for years. However, Billy Quinn and Declan Moore heated the stones with a roaring fire to produce a pungent ale that samplers said was actually pretty tasty.

"People drank it by the liter," Quinn told the German magazine Der Spiegel Monday.

The Gaelic site is estimated to be about 3,000 years old and had been though to be anything from a blacksmith forge to a sauna.

Quinn admitted that subsequent batches, which were produced mainly through trial-and-error, weren't quite as successful, Der Spiegel said. The main thing, however, is that the purpose of the site and scores of others like it scattered around Ireland may have been identified.

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