The Super Bowl may be the “holy grail” for Las Vegas sports gambling, but outside the United States, horse-racing, soccer and, surprisingly, pro tennis dominate. Tennis provides bettors with 19,000 matches a year (compared with 1,200 NBA games, 2,400 Major League Baseball games and fewer than 300 NFL games), with betting on 400,000 individual games and even on individual points, of which there are nearly 2.5 million, according to a January New York Times dispatch from Melbourne, Australia. In January’s Australian Open, a routine fourth-round women’s match between players ranked ninth and 28th in the world attracted more than $4 million in wagers — on just the first set.
The continuing crisis
Following alarming reports, the Ohio attorney general’s office began working with the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association in December to be vigilant for pet owners who might be commandeering their dogs’ and cats’ painkillers — for their own use. Worse, other reports suggested some owners were deliberately injuring their pets just to obtain the drugs.
In Chedzoy, England, in January, the border collie spaniel Luce was “re-homed” after Royston Grimstead, 42, learned that she had chewed completely through a wheel arch on his $120,000 Aston Martin. Said Grimstead, “She had this guilty look on her face.”
A magistrates court in Aberystwyth, Wales, convicted Rhian Jeremiah, 26, of criminal damage in January for biting into the roof of a Fiat 500 during an alcohol-fueled incident last year. Said the car’s owner, “I could hear metal crunching” (but, said Jeremiah’s lawyer, “not quite like” the scene in a James Bond movie featuring the character “Jaws”).
Following an evening of heavy drinking, according to police in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in January, a former schoolteacher, 52, was charged with fatally stabbing his host, 67, during a dispute over whether poetry or prose is the more important literary form.
One Russian man shot another (nonfatally, with rubber bullets) in the town of Rostov-on-Don in September in an argument over theories of German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
Nadja Svenson, 22, was charged on Christmas Eve in Londonderry, N.H. (a night with clear skies, apparently), with stabbing her father in the chest during bickering over the position of the Big Dipper.
The first-ever skydive by Makenzie Wethington, 16, in Chickasha, Okla., in January was a catastrophe — a tangled parachute that opened “halfway” with the girl unable to reach the emergency chute. She fell into a spiraling free fall from 3,500 feet and landed with a thud, but somehow survived. Mackenzie had shattered vertebrae, a split-in-half pelvic bone, two broken ribs, tooth loss and various internal injuries. Said her sister Meagan, to incredulous doctors and nurses, “She, obviously, she hit the ground, but she did not hit the ground. God’s hand caught her.”
RiDQulous: The headline read “Man Arrested Allegedly Trying to Sell Stolen Brains at Dairy Queen.” David Charles, 21, was charged in Indianapolis in January with arranging the deal involving 60 jars of mental patients’ brains (some from the 1800s) stolen from the Indiana Medical History Museum. The buyer (actually, an undercover cop) had agreed to meet at the restaurant.
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