Etc...

It seems I've been had

In Abergele, Wales, recently, someone decided that Harry Tomlinson was - ahem - ripe for a practical joke . In the retiree's yard grows a tree that for 30 years has been producing apples. But suddenly it was bearing a veritable fruit salad. Also nestled among the leaves were plums and even berries. Harry noticed ... and just couldn't keep his discovery to himself. Soon the news media became involved, as did experts from the Royal Society of Horticulture and the Welsh College of Horticulture. And that's where it all came unglued, so to speak. The scientists investigated and found that the nonapples had cleverly been attached by hand . Said one scientist: "Somebody has been led up the garden path here." As for Harry, he's back to contemplating another ordinary apple crop. He says he thinks the trick was "rotten."

Big Apple: Yes, it's pricey (until you look at Tokyo)

While it's a stretch to say that living in New York is a bargain, it begins to appear that way in a side-by-side cost comparison with Tokyo. The Japanese capital is the most expensive city in the world, according to the latest survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which works with companies sending personnel overseas. In an examination of more than 200 costs for basic needs and consumer items, Tokyo ranks first and New York 13th. A sampling of how prices in the two cities stack up:

Monthly rent (unfurnished two-bedroom luxury apartment) Tokyo $4,595 New York 3,500
Bus or subway ride Tokyo $2.58 New York 2.00
International daily newspaper Tokyo $4.59 New York 1.63
Music CD Tokyo $24.12 New York 19.95
Coffee by the cup (including service) Tokyo $4.02 New York 3.30
Fast-food hamburger meal Tokyo $6.32 New York 5.75

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