What a difference it makes in terms of transport arrangements between being a stroppy teenager before the Children's Court and the Minister for Health. The minister has an important swine flu meeting to attend in Luxembourg (blame it on the bureaucrats) in April so Ireland's permanent representative in Brussels arranges minibus transport for Mary Harney and advisors in Luxembourg at a cost of €1,000 for the day. A taxi doing the same work would have cost about €130. Contrast that with the 15-year-old boy brought by the gardaí to the Children's Court for failing to turn up to an earlier case relating to a public order offence. How is he to get home? he asks the judge. "They brought me here," he nods to the gardaí. "They should bring me home". An unimpressed Judge Aingeal Ni Chondúin tells the boy the Children's Court "is not a taxi service" and he will have to make his own way home – the three-hour, 15-mile trek to north Dublin might "take a bit of the smartness" from the boy.
Why not a woman? The slogan dates back to the days when Maire Geoghegan-Quinn became a cabinet minister in 1979, the first since countess Markievicz in 1919. MGQ was first to tell Charlie Haughey to shove it and now she's our first female EU commissioner after 12 very lucrative years away from domestic politics in the EU Court of Auditors. As commissioner MGQ will earn €238,918. Will she be first to take one for the team by renouncing her handsome ministerial pension since we can no longer afford full social welfare benefits? ... "Unfriend" is the 2009 Word of the Year, a nod by the New Oxford American dictionary to social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo, as in "to remove someone as a friend" ... Interesting word perhaps, but as sterile as all online relationships are when compared with the exciting unfriending that goes on in the real world: Lasanna Diarra's *****off you Irish p****. You're out!", or the objections of a Cat Stevens fan to Yusuf's decision to give his audience two shows in one by previewing his new work, Moonshadow the Musical as part of his O2 comeback at the weekend – "Play Peace Train you f**king b******s.
Oh the anticipation of a mighty, bruising row between a David and a Goliath. Oh the speculation over who will win, who holds the strongest mental reserves, who will buckle under pressure. Brian Lenihan nutmegs AIB's Colm Doherty and , even though he's the underdog – voted worst of 19 European finance ministers by the Financial Times earlier in the week – he manages to insist the insider who got the second top job in the government-supported bank takes a salary cut, down to a paltry €500,000 ... After exactly 104 minutes of hope, the nation does an imitation of Edvard Munch's The Scream. In every home in every suburb, down every lane, in every pub, in every club including the black-suit-and-tied Stephen's Green Club, in every car in every bar: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....
Irish football supporters unfriend Thierry Henry – that is Tee-air-ee On-ree to all supposedly informed commentators and analysts who have been mispronouncing his name constantly over the past two days – by setting up a hate Facebook entry for him and defacing his Wikipedia site with insults and various other unrepeatable comments. Henry, aka cheat, liar, thief, hypocrite, admits the ball was controlled by his hand but shrugs and asks what can he do? It is a decision for the ref, for Fifa ... Our national hysteria is rivalling Mariah (get-me-20-white-kittens-for-my-dressing-room) Carey and X-Factor contestant Danyl Johnson for diva-dom. Careless whispers from the X-Factor house say he stormed out of rehearsals again today, in a strop because he didn't like the George Michael song chosen for him and now because he is stressing because he feels under prepared. "Get over it," as Roy Keane says.
More Wet Wet Wet than Wham! are all parts of this godforsaken, rain-sodden country of ours as we continue fighting rising flood waters. Rivers burst their banks, roads become rivers and farmland turns into lakes. Homes are destroyed, hospitals evacuated, universities close. Tee-air-ee On-ree says he is sorry for Irish people and that a replay would be the fairest way of resolving the problem ."But it is not in my control," he says. But Fifa still says "non"... Is there no end to our misery?
"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."
Supermodel Kate Moss (35) quotes the first commandment of anorexia as her "life motto", trying to undo the damage by adding, "you try and remember but it never works"