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Ian O'Doherty: What to do -- laugh or punch?

This column has some, shall we say, rather odd friends.

And they do tend to have some rather interesting opinions.

But Aiden Lambert, an old mucker of mine, really crossed the line when he mentioned that he saw Mannix Flynn out on the street canvassing the other day.

So, he asked the candidate that if he got elected and didn't have to canvass any more would he "no longer be a . . . Mannix Street Preacher?"

This prompted a round of terrible puns in the office -- if the conversation had happened a few days ago would it have been a Mannix Monday?

If he had a row with a constituent would it be a case of Mannix On The Streets Of Dublin?

Sorry for sharing that, but there's no way I'm keeping those puns in my head without inflicting them on you as well.

Okay, now I'm decided

Readers of around my age, and certainly readers of my age who are from Dublin, will well remember the legendary Simon from The International Bar.

Simon was the gruff barman with the constant pipe in his mouth who can also make a decent claim to being one of the most important men in the history of Irish comedy.

And the reason? He set up the legendary Comedy Cellar in The International, which quickly became a Mecca for Irish comedians, where all the finest, from Ardal O'Hanlon to Dylan Moran, learned their craft.

And, after he retired a good few years back, the place never felt quite the same.

So, you can imagine my surprise when there was a knock on the door last night and who was standing there only the man himself.

He was canvassing for a candidate -- I won't mention their name on the grounds that an endorsement from me is likely to do more harm than good to their electoral chances -- and managed to convince me to give him some form of a vote.

But maybe that only happened because I was still in a state of shock -- having waited the entire campaign with not one canvasser calling in (the Fianna Fáil guy actually put a leaflet in the letter box and then literally ran away) Simon was the second one to actually knock on the door that evening.

That's the thing with modern canvassers -- you wait ages for one and then two arrive at the same time.

Oh, so it's an illness now?

A new study has come out that says, surprise, surprise, New Yorkers have a propensity for something called "intermittent explosive disorder".

This, when translated into everyday English, means that they have a tendency to throw an eppo every now and then.

And, apparently, they are most likely to do it on the sidewalk when someone bumps into them.

Frankly, the hustle and bustle of a New York sidewalk is one of the myriad charms of what is, quite simply, the greatest city the world has ever seen.

But now a new survey from the University of Hawaii says that 'Pedestrian Aggressiveness Syndrome' is actually a genuine illness.

They say that the symptoms of 'pavement rage' include: "Glaring at others, walking too close to people, enjoying thoughts of violence and, ultimately, full-blown pavement rage where the sufferer gives some poor dawdler an earful."

So glaring at others, getting annoyed at others who are getting on your wick and entertaining thoughts of violence against stupid people is now a sickness?

Well, that explains it then -- I'm not the argumentative, bolshy tool that my friends accuse me of being -- I'm actually just sick.

So, you see -- it's not my fault.

Oh for God's sake

The old pun that smokers are a dying breed is becoming increasingly true.

Indeed, prejudice against smokers is now becoming completely acceptable and common place.

And, even though I don't really smoke any more, I completely sympathise with the rights of a smoker to enjoy, as it were, a puff.

Now I don't mean in restaurants or cinemas, where people have a reasonable expectation to enjoy their dinner or movie without being touched by cigarette fumes; I refer, rather, to bars being allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to allow smoking or not.

That way, mature adults get to make their own informed decisions about whether they will enter a smoke-filled environment or not.

But the assaults on individual freedoms continue apace. Here in Ireland we have zealots who want to ban people from smoking in their own cars -- apparently unaware of the irony that a car produces more pollution in one day than a smoker will in his or her lifetime.

But things are even worse in, of all places, Honduras where they have just introduced a ban on people smoking . . . in their own home.

The new law states that: "Families or individuals may complain to law enforcement authorities when smokers expose them to second-hand smoke in private places and family homes."

It's ridiculous, of course, but it certainly opens the door for some mischief -- after all, if you have a row with one of your mates or a family member, you can simply call the cops and rat them out, saying that they assaulted you with their cigarette smoke the last time you went around for dinner.

Hello, anything to say . . . ?

He has a lot to say on pretty much every topic you can imagine, particularly matters that are absolutely none of his business. But foreign interloper Gerry Adams has been rather silent on the issue of his old pal Gaddafi.

As Gaddafi goes completely kablooey in Libya (as I'm writing this, there are unconfirmed reports coming off the wires that he has bombed his own airport) Adams has remained strangely silent on the massacre.

Some people have expressed surprise at his silence but think about it -- you just know that he is sitting in his bunker somewhere in the Northern Irish part of Great Britain, watching the trouble in Tripoli unfold and feeling pangs of jealous rage that he's not allowed to treat his own critics the way his old mate Gaddafi can.

Irish Independent