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Ian O'Doherty: I'm an asylum seeker, get me out of here

Where do you stand on asylum seekers (although hopefully you don't literally stand on them, that would be mean and wrong)?

Do you believe that the world should have no borders and that everybody should be allowed to move freely about without having to bother with such fascist, discriminatory things such as proper visas?

Or do you think that the only people who should be allowed into the country are those who have a skill to bring to the table and who will benefit both themselves and their new home?

Okay -- now where do you stand on asylum seekers who want to go back to where they came from but aren't allowed? Aha -- bet you never thought of that one, did you?

That's the rather strange case of Moroccan Rashid Ali.

Ali has tried to escape from Britain five times after his asylum application was turned down.

Indeed, he hates Britain so much he even ended up in Ireland as a stowaway at one point, but obviously he didn't last long here.

And why can't the British authorities deport him? Well, in a piece of bureaucratic gymnastics that wouldn't look out of place in the movie Brazil, they claim that because he doesn't have the right papers they can't process his deportation order, while the poor bloke is now suing the British government, saying: "I just want to go home. I hate it here."

But there's a simple solution -- why doesn't he just stow away on a boat going to Morocco?

Damn, they're clever

They just don't give up, do they?

Just before Christmas you will remember the story of Mossad being accused of training sharks to terrorise tourists in Egypt.

Indeed, only last week, Egyptian television featured an interview with a local diving instructor who claims that he has seen sharks in the region with GPS guidance systems on the fins -- presumably to make sure they don't swim into Israeli waters and cause trouble there by mistake.

But now the latest example of Israeli skullduggery comes from Saudi Arabia, where authorities have arrested an Israeli spy. A vulture.

The bird was part of a migration study which was conducted by Tel Aviv university, but when a local saw that the bird had the university name tag on his leg he called the cops who immediately arrested him.

The vulture, in his defence, says the whole thing is an unfortunate case of mistaken identity -- he claims he is actually a buzzard and the whole thing is a Zionist plot to make him look bad.

A slight double standard, perhaps?

Race once again rears its ugly head in America, where two interesting stories about use of the word 'n***er' have emerged.

In the first, an American journalist has been sacked from a Fox News local affiliate.

The station had done just an item on the local chapter of black rights group the NAACP where the word was used by some of the interviewees. The journalist, who is white, asked a colleague: "Can we say n***er now?" and was promptly suspended, even though black hacks in the newsroom regularly use the phrase.

And now it looks like Huckleberry Finn is the latest book to fall victim to mad people.

The children's classic is banned from many American schools because of its use of racial epithets, but a new edition is being compiled which all excise all those nasty words and replace them with something more culturally sensitive.

So, from now on, expect Jim to be referred to as "an African American displaced person and unpaid indentured servant" while all the injuns will simply be "noble native Americans who are the true owners of the land".

It all seems like the kind of Bowdlerising rubbish that right-on Americans like to get their knickers in a twist about -- because, as we all know, there's an entire generation of kids who have grown up knowing that you can never, ever use the word -- unless you're a rapper, a movie star or black American footballer, that is.

But that's not fair!

A small British airline has been forced to remove one of its services from their list -- allowing passengers to join the mile-high club.

The company offers a single-engined Cessna and raunchy couples were allowed to avail of the service provided.

But now authorities have decided that it is too distracting for the pilot and banned the practice.

"I'm absolutely devastated," said one passenger, a Mr N Prendeville from Cork, Ireland, "my wife had got me a ticket for my birthday, like. She said I could use some time on my own."

Sure, what's the big deal?

When you think of life in the navy, what's the first image that springs to mind?

For most of us it would obviously be Das Boot, the classic German WWII submarine adventure that featured incredibly tense scenes as they battled British mine sweepers, unbearable claustrophobia and, most memorably for me, those unbelievably itchy looking jumpers they all had to wear -- truly, war is hell.

But it would appear that life on American aircraft carriers such as the USS Enterprise is a lot more fun than working on the subs.

The captain of that boat, Owen Honors, has been "assigned to administrative duties" ie sacked, after it emerged that he had made a series of lurid videos which showed suggestive scenes and contained anti-gay jokes.

Even actress Glenn Close has become embroiled in the scandal, after footage of her from the movie Serving In Silence (she plays a lesbian in the navy) was included.

Honors was obviously only trying to maintain morale within his crew.

Indeed, every Tuesday, at the Indo editorial meeting, the boss insists on showing us the latest dirty movie he has made while telling us off- colour jokes.

Although he baulks at showing footage of Glenn Close.

He's more of a Meryl Streep man, you see.

Ian Spied

Book Worm

Like some 1950s Hibernian version of Withnail & I, JP Donleavy's The Ginger Man remains a classic to this day.

Centred around the adventures of the mad, eccentric and utterly irresponsible but still loveable Dangerfield, The Ginger Man is as much a part of Dublin's contribution to world literature as Ulysses.

And a hell of a lot more fun to read.

If you've never read it, use up one of those spare book vouchers we all have lying around after Christmas and get your hands on it. You will not be disappointed

Irish Independent