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Bright and Brief

February 10, 1987

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Sam Matar gave his brother a 2 1/2 -carat diamond for his birthday - encased in an 18,000-pound block of concrete.

Not to be outdone, brother John concealed his gift to Sam in a large furniture truck filled with balloons. A note on the side of the truck said: ″You gave me 2 1/2 carats - here’s 4 for you.″

Inside were four rotting carrots, Sam Matar told the San Francisco Chronicle in an interview published Tuesday.

For each of the last 10 years, Sam, who lives in Carmel, and John, who lives in Chicago, have been sending each other outlandish birthday gifts.

John got his block of concrete on his 45th birthday last July and spent several days hacking away to get at the diamond.

When Sam’s 38th birthday approached on Sunday, he left town.

″I was all over the place - San Francisco, San Diego, Denver, and even left some false trails,″ he said.

Finally, on Sunday, he landed in Las Vegas, Nev., where his hotel told him the gift had arrived.

Sam said he found a box containing the carrots after a 20-minute search.

The silliness started a decade ago when the bachelor brothers started exchanging insulting birthday cards. That led to unusual gifts, such as John getting 100 goats on his 43rd birthday. Other gifts have included an elephant, a 4,000-pound ″pet rock″ and 8,000 pounds of manure.


NEW YORK (AP) - Purebred collies, spaniels and shepherds mingled with whippets, pappilions and pulis as preliminary rounds of the Westminster Dog Show got under way.

In Ring 3, five bulldogs squared off for their best of breed. The dogs strutted, posed and trotted before a judge.

″Ciggy just loves to compete. She’s a real ham,″ said Mary Wakeman, a veterinarian from Hampton, Conn., said of her champion puli, covered from head to foot with black dreadlocks.

A total of 2,671 show dogs in 139 varieties gathered in Madison Square Garden on Monday for the two-day event, now in its 111th year.

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