John Walsh: The habits some monks get into...

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The Independent Online

* Vatican spoilsports have cracked down on a Roman monastery. Twenty monks from Santa Croce Basilica – built to house nails from the True Cross – were booted out after evidence was found of "lifestyles... probably not in keeping with that of a monk". Such as? Well, their abbot was a former fashion designer with a cult following. Among their showbiz worshippers was Madonna (no, not the mother of God, duh), and a former nightclub dancer used to entertain them with her "holy dance", writhing before the altar clutching a crucifix. Apart from that, I can't see what they're complaining about.

* Fans of Pulp Fiction will recall the dialogue between Jules and Vincent about whether giving your boss's wife a foot massage is tantamount to having sex, and as likely to get you into trouble. A similar conversation will be heard in a French court when a cabinet minister, Georges Tron, faces accusations of sexual harrassment by two women employees. He allegedly offered them regular "therapeutic reflexology sessions" on their feet. They claim he was up to no good. We wait to see whether the court agrees with Jules that sex and foot masaging are indeed in the same ballpark.

* Scientists at Imperial College London have emerged after three months of measuring an electron with hot news: it's round. Rounder than a tennis ball, a hula hoop or Ken Clarke's tummy, this is one really round object. It's the roundest thing around. If it were the size of the solar system, any deviation from perfect roundiosity would be less than a hair's breadth. "We have measured the shape very precisely," said the team leader, "It is very, very round." Got that? No way was that three months wasted.

* A precedent has been set in a Chicago court. During a small-claims dispute over a used car, attorney Thomas Gooch noticed jurors' eyes were on the woman with a huge cleavage beside him. He accused his rival lawyer of planting her there to distract the jury from his address. "I like large breasts," he confessed, "but I object to somebody I don't think is a qualified paralegal sitting at the counsel table... dressed in such a fashion as to draw attention to herself." He asked the judge to banish her, but his rival proved the woman was his "paralegal assistant" and she stayed. Courtrooms could be much more fun in future.