Ian O'Doherty: Hooray for me!
Last Friday I wrote about the case of homeless man John Byrne (pictured).
Byrne, you probably recall, was the centre of a tale that was poignant, inspirational and sad when he jumped into the Liffey to save his pet rabbit after it had been snatched from his hands and hurled into the river by a nasty, vindictive little shit.
Indeed, regardless of what you think about this column, I think it's safe to say that we're all united in hoping Very Bad Things happen to the thug responsible.
Anywho, the story seemed to genuinely touch the nation and it was lovely to see the Animal Rights Action Network handing him a thoroughly well deserved award for his bravery and concern for animals.
And it would appear that my piece had some impact as well.
Because only yesterday a reader -- I won't name her in case she wants to remain anonymous -- wrote a lovely, heartfelt note about John's predicament and went so far as to include a cheque for a hundred quid for John.
In this time of economic crisis and people being forced to be that little bit more selfish than they want to be, it was a lovely thing to do.
In fact, just like John's story itself, it was the kind of gesture that brought a tear to my eye.
And the reason?
Well, I was due to meet some mates in the pub yesterday but I was skint, so that cheque sorted me right out.
You see, God does work in mysterious ways after all.
WELL, HE HAS A POINT
A few months ago, when Jersey Shore rip-off Geordie Shore was launched I wondered what city would be next to display their underclass.
And since taking the piss out of Liverpool is something I never tire of, I suggested that place. After all, Mersey Shore lends itself as an easy title.
Now, like the proverbial busses, not one but two Liverpool-related reality shows are coming to our screens and they both seem to have been commissioned on the basis of their programme title.
Yup, Mersey Shore is indeed one of the programmes involved while there is also Desperate Scousewives, a reality show about, well, about Scouse wives.
They're holding auditions at the moment and every fame-hungry scally, like Wayne Rooney's appalling cousin Natalie, is desperate to sign up.
But not everyone's happy about it. Former Lord Mayor of the city, MP Steve Rotheram, has slammed the notion of these shows, saying: "TV programmes about our great city seldom portray the positive side of Liverpool life. I think they often simply reinforce the stereotype so I'm not looking forward to it. A lot of people in London seem to think that Brookside and Bread were documentaries."
What about Shameless in Manchester and EastEnders in London? After all, they're hardly positive portrayals of their respective cities.
So, a Scouser moaning about being picked on when all the other major cities have the same TV shows devoted to them.
That's another stereotype in itself, surely?
UM, A SLIGHT DOUBLE STANDARD, PERHAPS?
The News Of The World scandal is the story that just keeps giving.
Rebekah Brooks' position looks completely untenable yet the fact that Murdoch is stubbornly hanging on certainly gives the impression that she knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and yesterday even saw some media commentators speculate that Murdoch might be moved to sell his entire print operation -- an act that would be the biggest humiliation in the man's life.
Nobody is coming out of this looking good and it's a genuine stain on journalism.
Actually, scratch the above sentence, there is one body emerging as a hero -- The Guardian newspaper.
The Guardian has been leading the charge on this case, so much so that Brooks even tried to blame them for shutting the paper down.
And they have received plaudits for the way they have championed proper journalistic ethics.
What some people seem to have conveniently forgotten, however, is that The Guardian's last high-profile campaign was . . . Julian Assange (pictured) and WikiLeaks.
What's the difference between hacking and . . . hacking?
Oh wait, I forgot -- Julian Assange is seen as an advocate for free speech, while Rupert Murdoch is seen as the devil incarnate.
Ah, the consistency of liberals . . .
HEALTH FASCISTS STRIKE AGAIN
Frankly, there are times I think I only smoke -- and I hardly do ever any more, to be honest -- is just to spite the virulent anti-smoking brigade.
Smug, morally superior in every way and convinced that smoking is some sign of lack of character, they drive me bloody mad.
Indeed, as Bill Hicks (pictured) -- praise be upon him -- pointed out: "Non-smokers die every day too."
Now, while I've never had a problem with smoking bans on public transport, restaurants and cinemas, the ban in pubs has crippled many establishments and in America, where common sense is usually in short supply at the best of times, many companies won't hire a smoker and will fire you if they catch you puffing away.
What's next? Just completely banning smoking?
Well, a councillor in the village of Stony Stafford in England wants to ban smoking in public places completely. That would mean outside pubs, in parks and walking along the street -- yup, absolutely everywhere. And he even has plans to allow ordinary Joes perform citizen's arrest on anyone they see smoking, which should certainly see a rise in hospital admissions.
He defends his plans, saying: "Just because a minority of people do something doesn't mean it should be protected. You don't support murderers and gangsters just because they're a minority, do you?"
I have two words for this zealot -- exhaust fumes.
Which does he think is worse?
YES -- WHAT AN APPROPRIATE IDEA
Desperate to prove to the world that he is of some value, Calum Best reportedly plans to open a pub in honour of his father. Yes, the father who drank his way through not one but two livers, doing enormous damage to the transplant cause while he was at it.
Honestly, opening a pub dedicated to a chronic alcoholic who died of the drink is a bit like opening the John F Kennedy shooting range, the Princess Diana traffic underpass or the John Denver wing of an airport.
Actually, he probably would have liked that last one . . .