Ian O'Doherty: Well, are you excited yet?
Just like everyone else in the country, I watched Friday night's horror show through my fingers.
In a rather horrifying example of football imitating life, we were in the now familiar position of being played around with by Germany. They were utterly dominant in every part of the field to the point where even they seemed slightly embarrassed by their dominance -- although it's unlikely Frau Merkel feels slightly awkward at the power she holds over us.
The football was sterile and . . . actually, hang on a second and let's be more realistic.
The football we played in Poland was sterile and timid, we didn't have enough of the ball this time to describe our play as anything at all.
I mean, 98pc possession for Germany during one five- minute period?
And just to compound the feelings of forlorn hopelessness felt by every Irish football fan, the manager seems determined to add grievous insult to terminal injury by the manner in which he treats the players and the media -- and by automatic extension, the fans.
Indeed, 'honour' is an important concept in the Italian psyche and if he had any he would have walked by now.
But I received a rather appropriate email yesterday.
It was an electronic petition against the slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands.
The pictures of these creatures being bludgeoned to death as the sea literally turns red are both stomach churning and heart breaking.
So, we're going to a place where senseless animals are mercilessly slaughtered?
Well, that's what happened to us on Friday, so our players should feel right at home.
And the controversy continues . . .
The X Factor continues, not that many people seem to be paying much attention.
As much as I admire Louis Walsh and as much as I personally like the guy, it's hard to escape the inevitable feeling that the show has simply passed its sell-by date.
And when that happens, the gimmicks tend to come even thicker and even faster than normal.
The most recent spat saw Louis and Gary Barlow having a hissy fit over one of the contestants which seemed so contrived that it verged on laughable.
And then last Saturday night saw the dampest squib of a controversy yet.
Speaking to one of the contestants, the appalling Tulisa (pictured) referred to her as a 'MILF' -- a harmless phrase about good-looking women of a certain age that nobody even uses any more.
But producers immediately forced Dermot O'Leary to apologise to any viewers who might have been offended by the term.
And you know what?
Some of them were.
Indeed, one irate parent took to the Twitter machine to condemn the programme, saying that they were horrified that their young son was forced to hear such language.
There's just one slight problem with her outrage -- if she wants to protect her precious little child, then maybe she shouldn't be allowing him to stay up until 10.30pm, the time the remark was made.
Just a thought.
Wow -- they really didn't think this one through
Where do you stand on the children's rights referendum?
Like most people I've spoken to about it, I remain proudly, assertively, determinedly . . . utterly confused.
On the one hand, nobody wants to see kids left in a horrible home situation; on the other, people are uncomfortable with handing the State more powers.
Therefore, as usual in this situation, I'll simply look at what the advocates are saying -- and vote contrary to what the ones I don't like are saying.
So I was rather interested to see that Sinn Féin is advocating a 'Yes' vote.
And I was even more interested to see yesterday that the man leading the Sinn Féin campaign, Brian Tumilty, is also convicted of possession of a weapon that was linked to the Kingsmill massacre.
Now, there is no suggestion that he was present at the scene of the crime, but you have to wonder about the political nous of anyone who thinks of putting a guy with gun convictions in charge of a children's rights referendum.
Fianna Fáil has said that: "Sinn Féin is treating the Irish people like idiots."
Which is very true -- but that denunciation would carry more weight if it didn't come from Fianna Fáil.
Now that's what I call showing off
As a kid, I spent many hours of impotent frustration that developed into pure rage when I was trying to do the Rubik's cube.
I have no patience and no head for that sort of thing.
And I was brought back to those days yesterday afternoon when I saw the story of American student Michael Kotch.
Kotch has a new habit -- he does one-handed push-ups -- while solving the Rubik's cube with the other.
He can now solve the puzzle in less than a minute while doing the exercise.
And does he think we're impressed?
I know I'm not.
Bloody show boater.
And the secret word is . . . EUGH!
A rather horrible report came out yesterday which proclaimed that cash is, actually, filthy.
The report says that the examined notes contained everything from e.Coli to . . . well, some pretty disgusting stuff.
In fact, the researchers said that the average note is as dirty as a toilet bowl.
Thankfully, none of that concerns me.
Because I have no money anyway so it doesn't apply.
Which isn't much consolation, now that I think of it.
Not much at all . . .