CALAIS, France (Wireless Flash) – Gondolas aren’t just for canals anymore. Two Venetian gondoliers have become the first to cross the English Channel in one of the tiny boats. The two men paddled across the 21-mile stretch of water in seven hours.

LOS ANGELES – Andre Agassi is already making bets about his unborn child’s prowess on the tennis court. The racket swinger jokes he has a $100 bet with Pete Sampras that his child will beat Sampras’ kid at a future tennis match.

HOLLYWOOD – Eriq La Salle – who has played Dr. Benton on ER since the beginning of the show – will call it quits after next season. The 39-year-old actor says he wants to produce and direct his own projects.

DARWIN, Australia – An Aussie swim coach is snapping his squad to attention by dropping live crocodiles in the pool. Mark Davies says the unusual technique has improved his swimmers’ speeds. Just in case you’re wondering, the croc’s jaw is taped and its claws clipped to minimize any danger.

NEW YORK – P. Diddy may not have Jennifer Lopez as a partner, but he does have David Bowie as a collaborator. The two recently teamed on a rap remake of Bowie’s “This Is Not America” for the upcoming Denzel Washington movie, Training Day.

LOS ANGELES – A special premiere of the Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie film Original Sin will be held in Los Angeles tonight. To celebrate, MGM will be serving an alcoholic apple cider known as Original Sin Hard Cider.

NEW YORK – Gary Condit is just as private about his haircuts as he is about his affair with Chandra Levy. MSNBC gossip reporter Jeanette Walls reports the congressman used a fake name and showed up in a hat, coat and dark glasses whenever he got his locks trimmed and highlighted at Washington’s tony Ilo salon.

WASHINGTON – Back-to-school shopping is going to take many folks back to the bank. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the average American household will spend $457 on school gear this year.

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. – A few pharmacy customers must be popping too many pills. According to a new survey by AmeriSource, 1 percent of Americans want pharmacies located near restaurants, not doctors offices.

HOLLYWOOD – The Showtime Cable Network is planning to make a movie about the 2000 elections, and is warning all parties that it will be “digging” for details. Showtime executives say the film won’t just focus on Al Gore and George W. Bush, but will also focus on other people connected to the election.