Did this really happen?
AS THE CNN girl said: "It was a stunning moment, everyone thought this was a twisted joke … but this really happened …"
No, it wasn't the notoriously lying, fake news CNN reporting on Donald Trump's winning the American presidency, it was the great Oscars bungle. Warren Beatty opens the envelope; Faye Dunaway announces the Oscars Best Picture winner – La La Land.
The Los Angeles A-list audience bursts into applause. The cast, crew and presenters of La La Land take the stage. Acceptance speeches begin. Producer Marc Platt: "Keep dreaming, because the dreams we dream today will provide the love, compassion and the humanity that will narrate the story of our lives tomorrow …"
But then a man wearing headphones comes onstage and checks the cards held by the producers.
Fellow La La Land producer Justin Hurwitz: "There's a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture. This is not a joke."
And so it turns out. What a comedy script. Hollywood is right on the ball.
And what cunning use of déjà vu. What a play on the Miss Universe Universe contest of a year or so ago when Ariadna Arevalo, of Colombia, was crowned and was being cheered by the Las Vegas audience, when it turned out the actual winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, and the crown was switched to her. You couldn't make it up.
Another coup for Hollywood. Donald Trump has expressed hostility to the film-makers and all they stand for. His supporters boycotted the Oscars ceremony. But Hollywood steals his thunder in international comedy.
OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "My girlfriend told me to be more affectionate. So now I've got two girlfriends."
THE arresting headline is a feature of the newspaper industry. A collection of them comes this way:
· Diana was still alive hours before she died
· Republicans turned off by size of Obama's package
· Bugs flying around with wings are flying bugs
· Tiger Woods plays with own balls, Nike says
· Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25
· Federal agents raid gun shop, find weapons
· Marijuana issue sent to a joint committee
· Homicide victims rarely talk to police
· 17 remain dead in morgue shooting spree
· Worker suffers leg pain after crane drops 800-pound ball on his head
· Bridges help people cross rivers
· City unsure why the sewer smells
· Meeting on open meetings is closed
· Study shows frequent sex enhances pregnancy chances
· Man accused of killing lawyer receives a new attorney
· Barbershop singers bring joy to school for deaf
· Hospitals resort to hiring doctors
· Man with 8 DUIs blames drinking problem
· New sick policy requires 2-day notice
· Parents keep kids home to protest school closure
· Starvation can lead to health hazards
· The bra celebrates a pair of historic milestones this year
· Total lunar eclipse will be broadcast live on Northwoods Public Radio
· Miracle cure kills fifth patient
Those examples of the sub-editor's art are drawn from American newspapers. My favourite is still a double-page headline, in capitals, in the erstwhile News of the World, in England: "NUDIST CAMP MANAGER FINDS MODEL WIFE NAKED IN BED WITH CHINESE HYPNOTIST FROM CO-OP BACON FACTORY".
Oh dear, what can the matter be?
Three old ladies locked in the lavatory …
WELL, in this case it was just a single individual but he was well and truly locked and in an unusual way – he was headlocked. And, as in the jingle, nobody knew he was there.
Until a householder in Radcliffe, near Manchester in England, visited the loo to discover the head of a burglar jammed in the tiny window. When he went outside he found the fellow had his knees on the windowsill, his legs otherwise dangling.
The police were called and struggled to keep a straight face as they arrested the bloke and cautioned him in terms of the judges' rules, still in midair.
Then they called a fire crew who took 20 minutes to free him. Then he was locked up again.
Oh dear, what can the matter be …
TWO cowboys stagger out of a zoo, their clothes in shreds.
One says: "That lion dancin' ain't nuthin like as relaxin' and restful as they made out."
We learn something every day, and lots of times it's that what we learned the day before was wrong.