After Gerard Depardieu's unscheduled comfort break on a Dublin-bound CitiJet aeroplane, a rival airline was quick to cash in. "P***** off with high fare airlines?" shouted an ad in the papers yesterday. "Fly Ryanair". Full marks for the speedy response, but would Monsieur D have fared better on the no-frills carrier? They'd have charged him £50 a time for a) standing up during taxiing, b) exposing his baguette to public view, c) peeing into a non-Ryanair-approved bottle and d) getting it all over the floor. The bill would have been énorme.
* Health'n'safety story of the week concerns top Australian sword-swallower Chayne Hultgren, 33, known to New Yorkers as The Space Cowboy. He was arrested in Manhattan for "brandishing a sword" and "creating a hazardous condition on the street". Heedless of his protests, the cops confiscated his ironware and took him to the nick, where they left him for 24 hours with junkies and sex offenders. "To make matters worse," the Newslite website wittily reported, "as officers left him in the cell, they apparently said loudly through the bars, 'and don't tell these guys you swallow'. "
* A cry for help (literally, for once) from Martin Allen, charismatic manager of Notts County footie club. On the club's website, he's posted the plaintive plea: "Good afternoon. I am desperately trying to find someone that can teach me to whistle. This may sound like a joke but I can assure you it's not. This is not for my dog, this is for me to whistle from the technical area. Any ideas, please let me know asap." For God's sake, man. You just put your lips together and blow...
* What can you do when Computer Says "Nein"? The Casino Bregenz, on the shore of Lake Constance, Austria, boasts "international casino style and culinary highlights" for its punters. It must have seemed paradise when Behar Merlaku, 26, playing a slot machine, saw on the display screen he'd won a jackpot of €43m. The owners hastily explained that the machine was giving a "faulty display" due to a "malfunctioning computer chip". Merlaku was a bit upset – and his mood didn't improve when the casino offered him a free meal (for one) and a voucher for £60. Honestly. There's no pleasing some people.