• “THIS parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his maker! He’s a stiff! Bereft of life. Now give me $500,000 and we’ll call it quits.”
Not quite how the famous Monty Python sketch went originally but still an accurate description of a US court case this week.
Ex-con Thomas Goodrich is suing a prison warder for half a million after claiming he was denied a phonecall that would have saved his pet parrot’s life.
He was being held for 12 days over an outstanding arrest warrant and an expired driving licence when he claims he was denied the chance to contact a friend to feed Freddie – a £15,000 gold and blue macaw which had been his beloved pet for 20 years. When he was released, he found Freddy dead.
Two other parrots, both Amazons, survived. “They apparently had enough food in their cages,” he said.
The defence claim that the parrot is simply resting and that its lack of movement is due to it being tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

• THERE are people who are so stupid they are funny – David Hasselhoff, Frank Bruno – people so stupid they are cringeworthy – Kerry Katona, Jodie Marsh – and those who are so stupid they are dangerous – and to the name George W Bush you can add a fuckwit fan of Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers.
Yes, it’s that time when the events of the last year are reviewed and analysed, and it would be be unfair to ignore the most bizarre, time wasting and life endangering 999 calls.
And it’s got to be said, 2008 was a vintage year.
The most ridiculous would have to be the furious female who wanted the emergency services to investigate why she could not get through to cast her vote in the dancing show’s finale.
Others included a priest complaining he was not allowed to use a toilet in a WH Smith store, a man who said shop staff had put unwanted mushrooms on his pizza and a report that Santa was breaking into a house with Rudolf.
Cops reckon 40 per cent of the 560,000 calls to 999 each week were hoaxes or time-wasting, while 59 per cent involve the behaviour of Scouse scallies who play professional football.

• WITH the credit crunch in full effect eveyone needs a bit of extra cash, so we’ve got an idea – why not get your mates to bet you $10,000 that you won’t slice your own arm off, because if you do it you will barely be inconvenienced at all by it.
The inspiration for this brilliant, foolproof plan is John Stirling of East Sussex who chopped his left arm off with a chainsaw 11 weeks ago, following a slip while cutting wood in his garden.
After his neighbour wrapped a belt around his arm/stump and put the limb in a frozen pastry, surgeons immediately carried out a 14-hour operation to save him and, not only is he alive, he can already move his fingers and has even been back to work.
Mr Stirling has described having it re-attached as like “winning the lottery”. He added: “It’s unbelievable actually. Obviously it’s nowhere near how it was before I cut my arm off but to be sitting here at work after 11 weeks, it’s a miracle.”
We bet he only returned to work to pick up the winnings off his gutted workmates in order to buy his kids Christmas presents.
So try it. Even if it does go wrong, it’s just a bit of armless fun.

• LIKE most of you, we can’t stop ourselves bemoaning the fact that school is much easier than it was in our day and that children get so mollycoddled by teachers that they probably even wipe the snotty noses of the tiny tearaways.
Well, the staff at Broad Oak Primary School in Manchester have obviously grown tired of this part of their job as they have produced a DVD telling kids aged 5-11 how to blow their noses, and the right and wrong ways to act when they have a cold.
Unsurprisingly, one parent condemned the exercise as “a complete waste of time. I send my kids to school to learn, not for someone to show them how to blow their nose. My lad said ‘Everyone knows how to blow, we use a hanky not our sleeve’.”
He’s obviously a shrewd cookie, it took us until 25 to learn that.
Pupils must also look at a Kleenex-sponsored website with their parents, called Sneezesafe, to help understand cold germs and how they are spread, under the heading ‘Tissues to the rescue!’.
Aah, so that was what Fungus The Bogey Man was all about.

• WE recently reported the sad news that Woolworths stores have ceased to exist in the UK, but we can’t help wondering if they would have survived if they had access to the marketing geniuses at a shop in Wenzhou, China, where customers receive discounts if they hit an image of George Bush by throwing shoes.
The activity, with a slogan “Hitting for world fame and good fortune”, saw customers hitting zones A-D receive a discount from 20-50 per cent. It was so popular among shoppers that the store had to call police to maintain order.
During the first 30 minutes of the special promotion they sold 64 pairs of shoes and earned more than £1,000.
The most successful customer was a man who had previously been doing a lot of preparation with his personal trainer.