Ian O'Doherty: Loving the alien -- Vatican style
As you may or may not have noticed, things are pretty wobbly right now. The economy, locally, nationally and globally is, to use the technical term, completely banjaxed and we're being led by a man who is so stupid that he can't see why people are so upset at his radio interview.
Although, frankly, I'm fervently clinging to the hope that he was, indeed, pissed, because if he was actually sober and at the top of his game when he spoke on Morning Ireland then things are even worse than we thought.
So we all have our minds on rather gloomy, depressing subjects.
But not the Vatican.
In the middle of the Pope's controversial visit to Britain -- I noticed five Algerians were arrested last Friday in connection with a plot to kill the Pope, further proving just what a religion of peace Islam is -- the Vatican's chief astronomer has been turning his eyes to the Heavens -- and he reckons that aliens are out there. And they have souls.
Guy Consolmagno believes that God may have created more than just us and while we are unlikely to ever find it, he hasn't dismissed the idea of the Vatican sending missionaries into space "to convert aliens to Catholicism".
He has been mocked for his statement but he may as well look for intelligent life elsewhere.
Because there's sod all of it on this planet at the moment.
It's a long way from Thatcher
There are two schools of thought when it comes to prisoners and how to treat them.
The first says that prisons should be a place of rehabilitation, where the poor, socially disadvantaged criminal is actually himself a victim and if we give him a big hug and lots of nice treats, then he will be lovely to children and small animals on his release.
The other mindset says that prisons should be places of deterrence -- that once you have spent time there you will be so freaked by the experience that you'll spend the rest of your life on the straight and narrow.
So, can you guess which camp Minister For Jails Crispin Blunt belongs to?
The Tories used to be seen as the hang 'em flog 'em brigade but they have gone all touchy-feely under Call Me Dave and Blunt has issued a directive that all the fruit issued to prisoners must be of uniform shape and size because: "An undersize apple served will create issues of order and control and we have to be sensitive to that need."
He also says that prisons must be: "sensitive to religious and cultural needs" -- although you could also argue that if someone's religion was that important to them, they wouldn't have committed a crime in the first place.
And he also stressed how important it is that lags get a good breakfast and that porridge must be tasty.
Honestly, is this any way to treat cereal offenders?
(Right, that's it, that's the last awful pun you are allowed to use. Just get out -- ed.)
The Devil is in the details
A family in Bucharest have complained about a new tenant -- they say that Satan is squatting in their bathroom.
They say his face is in the bathroom tiles and: "The bathroom is always cold, no matter how much we turn the heat up and it is very spooky."
They have even said that they might be forced to call in an exorcist in an effort to vanquish the porcelain Prince of Darkness.
Or, alternatively, they just could call in Barry from Cillit Bang -- one rinse and the devil's gone.
Sarkozy -- he's a Nazi, y'know
Everyone is a Nazi these days it would appear.
Atheists, we have been told by the Pope, are as bad as Nazis.
Israel is constantly accused of using Nazi tactics, a slur which is frankly more pathetic and morally illiterate than genuinely insulting.
And now France's grand fromage, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been accused of being one as well.
As a Jew, you can understand that he might be a touch sensitive about such insults.
So he went suitably Tonto after EU commissioner Viviane Reding said that France's perfectly reasonable policy of evacuating illegal Roma settlements in France and returning them to their native Romania and Bulgaria was "a disgrace and a situation I thought Europe would not have to witness again after World War Two", before making the Nazi jibe.
Sarkozy, rather brilliantly, then suggested that if Luxembourg, where Reding -- a fanatical ideologue who wants to impose strict gender quotas -- hails from, was concerned about the plight of the Roma maybe they should take them in.
The suggestion, quelle surprise, was quickly dismissed.
So, class, let's walk our way through this one, shall we?
France repatriates unproductive, unemployed and parasitic people to their own country. The Nazis murdered millions upon millions. Including Roma.
Yup, that's an entirely reasonable argument.
Tony Wilson may, sadly, no longer be with us, but Michael Winterbottom's excellent 24 Hour Party People brilliantly tells the story of the mad musical scientist that Wilson was, as well as the craziness that surrounded Manchester and the Hacienda at its peak.
Sample quote: "The smaller the attendance, the bigger the history. There were 12 people at the last supper. Half a dozen at Kitty Hawk. Archimedes was on his own in the bath."
You think Oasis were hard lads? Then head over towards Motley Crue: The Dirt, one of the most engrossingly hideous books about a band ever written.
Utterly depraved, to the point that even other hedonistic metal bands were left in their wake, the antics of Tommy Lee and the rest of the crew are detailed with disgusting relish.