People are Talking: The dawn of the new age of Angelina
This year, Angelina Jolie might be the only person to benefit from the leaking in December of the Sony Movies' emails. While movie execs hung their heads in shame, and the American and North Korean governments locked horns, Angie must have been at home polishing her halo.
There aren't many people who could benefit from being called a "minimally talented spoilt brat", but the newly married Mrs Pitt is one of them. And this Teflon quality is what will make Angelina Jolie's planned career shift from actress to politician a transition to watch in 2015.
Forget Madonna and her ever-changing images, the reinvention of Angelina Jolie has been a remarkable thing to behold, and it hasn't fully run its course yet. From the young woman who boldly revealed her drug abuse, psychological problems and bisexuality, Angelina has morphed into the world's number-one mother and human-rights activist.
It's not only that she has a lot of kids, it's that she has gone about having them in a consciously political way and, for example, that she lets them draw all over her wedding dress and make her wedding cake, when another parent would be thinking, "Oh, man, they'll make such a mess." She has become a paragon of patience and goodness and heaven help anyone who knocks her.
So, as last year ended, and Angelina's Tinseltown colleagues badmouthed her, she cleverly eschewed contradicting them in favour of highlighting some of her faults herself.
As she promoted her directorial project Unbroken, Angelina discussed the difficulties of married life, the direness of her cooking and her desire to be a better wife. Angelina came out on top again as the world's No 1 good person. Which is either the case, or contrary to her Tinseltown colleagues' claims, she's a very fine actress indeed. Which will serve her well in politics.
Royal baby watch for spring
Having produced the heir in a timely fashion, William and Kate swiftly moved on to baby number two who is due at the end of April. The weeks, and indeed months, leading up to the arrival of the 'spare' will be filled with ceaseless and ultimately pointless speculation about the new arrival.
"Experts" who have never actually met Kate Middleton, let alone examined her royal person, will confidently predict, from photographs, that she is carrying a girl. Other "experts" will equally assuredly state the fourth in line to the throne is without a shadow of a doubt a boy!
A host of Royal Specialists who may once have seen K-Middy at Ascot will announce that if the new arrival is a girl she will most certainly be called Diana, while another swarm of Regal Authorities will tell us she most certainly won't. Legions of therapists on morning television sofas, complete with toddlers approximately the same age as Prince George, will discuss the impact the new arrival will have on George, and suggest ways he can cope with sibling rivalry.
At some point, inevitably, someone is going to publish a freaky face made by merging William and Kate's heads and say this is what the baby will look like. Once Kate goes to hospital, the 24-hour news channels will devote themselves to round the clock news coverage of the outside of the hospital - featuring all the other 24-hour news channels patiently waiting there. Reporters with nothing to report on will report on each other. Finally Kate will appear with William and the baby for a photo call, her post-birth body will be praised and condemned and whatever she and the baby are wearing will be sold out in seconds.
Anne Marie Scanlon
Irish team needs Smarmy Nigel
It's going to be a rugby kind of year. We look well set for the World Cup in September. Particularly after winning last year's Six Nations and then beating South Africa and Australia during November. There's talk we could end up as champions of the world.
This won't end well. It certainly didn't back in the 2007 World Cup. We went to France full of high hopes and nearly got our arses handed to us by Georgia in the qualifying round. Rugby has the about the same following in Georgia as Enda Kenny does in Tallaght. It was that bad.
We're better as underdogs. We need smoke coming out of our ears because some smarmy Nigel with an English accent said we are a plucky bunch with no talent. That's what we need now. That's why we need a disastrous Six Nations this year. Forget about all the talk about momentum and manning up, going forward. The hope now is that we lose 30-0 to a 13-man France next month. That's because both their props were sent off for being so goddam beautiful. And their second rows spent time in the sin-bin for smoking in the lineout.
George Hook will hopefully call it the worst defeat since the Battle of Kinsale. Now we're talking. This is the only way to win the Cup. Imagine, the team on a double decker bus, parading past the Taoiseach on O'Connell Street. An adviser bringing him up to speed on rugby. It's like Gaelic football but with better haircuts, Enda. Or it's like Gaelic football but with better haircuts, Gerry. Yikes!
Ireland to be free at last
No need to wonder what the coming year will bring. According to the band of born-again Bolsheviks poised to take over the country in the coming months, the future has already been decided.
After the revolution, we'll all be living in a land of milk and honey where the sun shines every day and the streets are paved with gold. It'll be like the Celtic Tiger again, when everyone had more money than they knew what to do with, the only difference being that this time everything's going to be free.
Quite how we're going to pay for Paradise isn't clear yet. Something to do with squeezing the rich until the pips squeak. And once the pips run dry? Look, the class warriors will figure out the niggly little details later, OK? We could, er, borrow the cash. Or something. Though hang on, isn't that exactly what caused the current crisis?
Of course, it could be that left-wing politicians are just making pledges they can't keep - you know, like every other politician in history - and that, when they do get into power, they'll be just as useless as the rest. But surely not? They seem so sincere! Still, on the basis that the best clue for what will happen in the future is to look what happened in the past, I wouldn't get my hopes up, people.
The real question on everyone's lacquered lips is, did we blow our wad with the whole Panti thing last year or do we still have another five months of gay marriage debate left in us?
If past form is anything to go, by the run up to the referendum in May is bound to be marred by a lot of preposterous BAI rulings and hyper-sensitive commentators speaking out about gay marriage (before hurriedly claiming they don't really care about gay marriage). Gay people will travel to and from recording studios with their own protective bigot in tow. Panti will win the Nobel Prize. And drag queens will begin to feel the awful pain of society expectations to settle down and have kids, causing an acute shortage of cute Third World babies.
We can be guaranteed that in the run-up to the referendum, everyone will claim they are a victim of everyone else's online trolls (being the victim is how you win a debate in Ireland).
There will be a huge amount of celebrity bandwagon-jumping as famous people "bravely" throw their weight behind a referendum which only has 89pc support among the general public.
And finally, with the will of God they might get some attractive gays - rather than the usual dumplings - to get married for the inevitable post-referendum photo op.
Take that, generation tax!
Because so many of us are either down and out, out of funds or Down Under because of our never-ending recession, our Government has come up with ever more imaginative ways of squeezing cash out of us.
Creative taxation generation is the one area where the coalition has managed to think outside the box. They figured out that most people live in houses, so they said - tax that ! Then they noticed that humans tend to drink a lot of water and seem concerned about their personal hygiene so they said - tax that! Add those charged to income tax and an alphabet soup of revenue like PAYE, VAT, USC and we don't have much left.
But in 2015 those innovative bean counters who brought us property and water tax are determined to bring it to the next level. Footpath tax is their big hope with the establishment of Irish Walk. There are thousands of miles of footpath infrastructure and people insist on depleting this valuable resource by walking on it. The government is currently debating whether the footpath tax will be a flat yearly payment or else a metered system every time you step on a path. Once Irish Walk has been established, look out for Irish Air to tax oxygen and Irish Talk to charge for word usage. That'll shut up the begrudgers.
Sunday Indo Living