When the mad-cow scare exploded across the Continent four years ago, the European Union swung into action, demanding a precise count of the number of cattle in the barns, pens, and pastures of its member states. Today the scare is over, but apparently no one has bothered to put a stop to the flow of bovine data. At the last tally, according to the EU's statistics agency, Eurostat, there were 80,587,601 cows - give or take a heifer or two. Meanwhile, Eurostat can't say how many humans live in its 25 states. It's time, the agency director complained, to stop compiling "unnecessary" data.
In Trieste, Italy, one apparently may tell off a tormentor using almost any other choice of words except, "You're nobody!" Last week, a court there fined a man who lost his temper at a parking lot attendant $370 plus costs for "damaging the dignity" of the other fellow.
Let the shows go on! On Monday the Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers reached a new tentative contract agreement that averted a potential strike on Broadway. That's good news for ticket-holders to shows like the Emmy-winning "Avenue Q." which may be the hottest ticket in town. Other productions, however, enjoy much greater longevity. The longest-running, current Broadway shows with the number of performances through July 11:
1. "The Phantom of the Opera" 6,861
2. "Beauty and the Beast" 4,183
3. "Rent" 3,415
4. "Chicago" (revival) 3,187
5. "The Lion King" 2,810
6. "Aida" 1,788
7. "The Producers" 1,339
8. "42nd Street" (revival) 1,325
9. "Mamma Mia!" 1,132
10. "Thoroughly Modern Millie" 927
- www.playbill.com/ Associated Press