No sex toys, please; we're British

Rogue dildo brings down Airbus; Republicans enveloped in "Purple Haze"; Leo "shark bait" DiCaprio?


Amy Reiter
April 21, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Remember the foil-wrapped cucumber in "Spinal Tap"? Well, Tufnell's revenge has struck again.

Imagine the humiliation of the as-yet-unidentified passenger who packed a vibrator into his or her luggage and blithely boarded a plane from Goa to London -- only to find that he or she was unwittingly taking the crew and fellow passengers on the ride of their lives.

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Two hours into the flight, after the crew of the A-300 Monarch Airbus grew suspicious about the contents of a carry-on bag, the pilot, Capt. Dave Johnson, radioed in a bomb alert and was told to divert the flight to Bombay, the London Evening Standard reported Monday. After the plane touched down in a remote handling bay and its 369 passengers were evacuated, bomb experts boarded the plane, gingerly examined the suspect suitcase and discovered the damning device: a battery-powered dildo.

The passengers (at least one of whom must have been suffering from a supreme case of "air rage") were later deposited safely at London's Gatwick airport, and Johnson got some good buzz from airline spokespeople. But the embarrassment ain't over for the toy-totin' passenger; Monarch Air says it is still "looking into the incident to find out how it got on board." They won't rest until they find the red-handed culprit.

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The Dick Morris and Mary Matalin jam session

I don't know about you, but I really hate it when Republicans compare disgraced flacks to Jimi Hendrix.

It was the sort of moment that could make a congressional scheduler burst into tears and flee the room. No sooner had GOP mistress of spin Mary Matalin taken the podium before a room full of House Republicans last Thursday than randy Republican/Democratic spin-ster Dick Morris burst in, panting apologies for his tardiness. Morris' calendar had him scheduled to be guest speaker that day, reports Roll Call.

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"I'm dead," the scheduler for Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who chairs the House Republican Theme Team, reportedly gasped. But his boss quickly came to his aid, enthusing, "This is great. It's like Eric Clapton's playing and Jimi Hendrix comes onstage to jam." Matalin and Morris (strange bedfellows, indeed) did end up sharing the spotlight, causing one meeting attendee who'd been planning to slip out early to "[clear] my schedule for the rest of the morning." Mercifully, Morris did not perform "The Wind Cries Mary."

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When the shark bites ...

There is justice. "Titanic" star and notorious nasty boy Leonardo DiCaprio, who's used to weathering media storms, had to put his survival skills to the test Friday when a monsoon interrupted the filming of his new flick, "The Beach," in southern Thailand. The storm whipped up whopping waves off the island of Phuket (try pronouncing that without smirking), and the boat floating Leo, co-star Tilda Swinton and members of the film crew was sloshed with water and sucked out to sea. Like "Titanic's" Jack and Rose, Leo and his compatriots had to leap overboard and wait to be rescued, which they, unlike Jack and Rose, rapidly were.

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The film's spokespeople deny a report in the British paper the Sun that the waters were shark-infested. But in Leo's case, there wouldn't be much meat for them to gnaw on anyway.

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On the other hand, it's quieter and you don't need Astroglide

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"You try to do it every day. It's like sex, but not as much fun."

-- Satirist Christopher Buckley on writing, at a reading Monday in Washington.

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Got books?

Can reading be as hip as drinking milk? Hey, it's all about advertising, baby. And, of course, about celebrity spokespeople. The Association of American Publishers has decided to put a little star power (with celebs a little hotter than "Reading Rainbow" host LeVar Burton, thank you) behind its efforts to promote May as Get Caught Reading Month. An ad campaign -- aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds, who the association says are distracted from books by stimuli like TV and the Web (you know who you are) -- will feature cuddly daytime talk goddess Rosie O'Donnell and Oscar-hosting funny gal Whoopi Goldberg ... reading. The literate ladies got to pick the books they appear with. Rosie chose Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees," and Whoopi showed her impish side with the classic "Peter Pan." That Whoopi, she'll never grow up ...

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So is it true about her and Tinker Bell?

Speaking of "Peter Pan," Sandy Duncan, famous for playing the puckish lost-boy leader, has been having trouble showing the world she can fly in her sexy new role as gun moll Roxie Hart in the Broadway musical "Chicago." The eternally cute-as-a-button star broke her foot rehearsing for the show (insert "break a leg" joke here), but her manager tells USA Today that she's determined to display her vampier side nevertheless. "The Sandy Duncan who always plays perky parts is very different from who she really is," he says. "Her accepting of this role was an effort to change that perky image. It's not something she has had an opportunity to play, but she's a babe." Maybe if you all clap really, really hard ...


Amy Reiter

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