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Ian O'Doherty: The best teacher in the world...

Who was your favourite teacher when you were in school?

Let's face it, we all had one guy -- or girl, if you want to be all PC about it -- who was an inspirational figure. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that everyone had some sort of Dead Poets Society teacher who completely changed your life.

No, I simply mean that most of us had one teacher who didn't make you feel like you were a complete loser who was barely worthy of life (okay, I admit, I still have some issues about my schooldays).

Well, the chances are that no matter how good, bad, mad or indifferent your teachers were, they couldn't match one Lancashire school's headmaster.

Mike Richards held assembly earlier this week and it's certainly an assembly none of the pupils will ever forget.

During his normal address in front of the assembled staff and pupils, he suddenly broke his regular speech and informed them that ... World War Three had broken out.

The kids then heard a loud air raid warning going off and a loud explosion before being told that London had already been bombed and destroyed and that they were next. They were then hurriedly rushed (well, is there any other kind?) into the school cellar where they were told they were going to be evacuated, if they survived, into the surrounding countryside.

As you can imagine, some of the kids were ever so slightly traumatised by the event, but Richards says that he was teaching them about World War Two and what kids had to go through during the Blitz.

Let's wait for his next lesson on the Holocaust. What's he going to do, make the kids put their heads into an oven?

Still -- for making hundreds of children cry at once, Mr Richards, you are my hero.

Okay, man the barricades

So just how angry are you right now?

Thursday of last week was probably the weirdest day in the history of the State.

When you have a Taoiseach who is no longer allowed to appoint ministers, and when you have those ministers forming a queue to jump overboard, you know something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Frankly, watching the RTE news was like watching some strange and terrible dire prediction of a future Ireland -- except it's not the future, it's the here and now.

But there is one consolation -- at least we still have Mary Coughlan in power.

In fact, Cowen seems to think that she has done such a good job at Education that he handed her the Health portfolio as well.

Now, there is nothing more terrifying than the thought you might get sick when that stupid, arrogant, moronic, stuck-up bint is in charge, so there might be some increase in the health standards of the Irish people.

Frankly, when I heard that she had been put in charge of Health, I immediately resolved to cut down on my drinking and knock the fags.

What's she going to get next, the portfolio for Silly Walks?

Ladies, I'm available

There's a new initiative in Georgia that has proven to be a rather large success.

A local entrepreneur has set up a business called 'Husband By The Hour', where women can rent out a man for a set period of time.

I could try and write his name but every time I do the spell check on the computer starts to cry so let's just call him Barry, and he says that he set up the service to: "assist women who need help with such things as minor repairs".

And, surprise surprise, he expresses his astonishment that the vast majority of the calls have come from women who are looking for, ahem, other sorts of assistance.

So, I would like to formally announce that I am personally opening the Irish franchise of this fine operation.

I can't do repairs or anything, but am open to other offers.

I said this to my boss and he wondered about the wisdom of writing such a thing, given the fact that Mrs Ispy has a bit of a temper -- but she simply refuses to read the column in the first place so I reckon I'm safe.

Well, we've all been there ...

You know how it is, you stand waiting for the train, the train is late and then you have to join the throng of angry commuters who are already late for work and pissed off.

So what do you do? Well, if you're Irish, you just stand there and grumble without actually doing anything about it.

But, however, if you're Chinese man Xiao Wang you take rather more proactive action -- such as stripping off in protest.

According to the hero of the story: "After all that queueing I couldn't take it any more so I marched into stationmaster's office and showed him just what I thought of his station by taking off all my clothes."

He's not the first person to have done this, of course. In fact, I've been banned from the Luas for the last six months because of a similar incident.

Freedom of speech -- but not for all

QThe banning of wannabe Koran burner Pastor Terry Jones (insert your own Monty Python gag here) from Britain has proved one thing -- the Tories are just as bad as the cowards in Labour.

So, it also begs the question -- if they refuse to allow Jones in on the grounds that he is a hate monger, will they deport the scum who burned the Poppy on Remembrance Day?

Chance would be a fine thing.

Book worm

It's not exactly what you would call an easy read, but Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones is undoubtedly an important work.

It tells the story of Max Aue, a sort of Nazi Zelig who participates in the massacre at Babi Yar before going to Stalingrad, Auschwitz, Birkenau and then Berlin in the last days.

A truly repugnant character, Aue gives unflinching detail of the atrocities committed and makes no real attempt to apologise for them. To be honest, I'm still not sure whether I really liked The Kindly Ones or completely hated it, and for that reason alone, it's worth reading.

But this multi-award winning novel is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Irish Independent