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Paper Monitor

11:29 UK time, Thursday, 28 August 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Flied mushrooms. Come again? Catching sight of these words while reading Metro over the shoulder of a fellow commuter, a faint bell rang in Paper Monitor's head.

A dated joke poking fun at the muddling of an "l" and an "r". Familiar. But unlike the Daily Mail's "Blitish Airways" cartoon of 2006, there isn't even an Asian connection.

Mail cartoonist Mac's excuse was that the Japanese were eyeing a stake in BA. But the Metro sub who came up with "How flied mushrooms forced a plane down" was writing a headline about a Ryanair flight between Budapest and Dublin on which a passenger suffered an allergic reaction to mushroom juice seeping from an overhead locker.

Just as Mac's cartoon never made it onto the Daily Mail website, Metro's online headline is "A bag of mushrooms grounds Ryanair flight".

Meanwhile, a question for any budding Journalism 101 students out there. You will know that "Dog bites man" is not news but "Man bites dog" is news. (Incidentally, Paper Monitor dreams about a parlour game called Unsupported Headlines in which one makes up a great headline and then devises a story to fit. A favourite example is about how a man's holiday is ruined by persistent insects, the headline being "Bites dog man".) But given all that, what does that make "dog bites dog to save man"? Or, more accurately, man sticks Rottweiler on to Pit Bull to stop it mauling a toddler.

Strangely, it is not a tale that appears to have made the UK papers - not even the Mail, renowned for its coverage of tales of the unexpected from the animal world.

Talking of which, there are mice in Monitor Towers, and no, not of the kind invented by Douglas Englebart. Suitable columnist-based names for our new friends, please, via the Comments button below.

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