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Ian O'Doherty: Wow. What a guy. . .

Okay, I have a declaration of interest to make.

As a Man United fan I take great pleasure in watching Very Bad Things happen to Liverpool -- but only to a point.

After all, you always want your biggest rivals to at least be in a position where beating them is an achievement rather than a formality.

Indeed, we had a similar situation here in Ireland recently when many Rovers fans who are friends of mine were praying that Bohs wouldn't go under -- after all, you want to be able to beat them twice a season and if they're gone, where's the pleasure left?

But no matter how much of a Manc you are, any decent football fan will have watched the Fernando Torres fiasco with a sense of increasing disgust.

We all know that most footballers are mercenaries now. They come for the money, kiss the badge when they score and then bugger off somewhere else for more money. That's the game these days.

But what made this whole affair so utterly sickening was that the Spanish international spent the last few years eulogising the city and the club, even claiming that Kenny Dalglish was his childhood hero.

So, to see him not only go to an English club -- something he swore he would never do -- but then diss Liverpool by saying the move had finally brought him to a 'top level' club will surely stick in the craw of anyone who loves football, regardless of affiliation.

And have we learned anything from this utterly tawdry and depressing event?

Well, it's another reason to bloody well hate Chelsea.

Honestly -- I never thought I'd write anything in defence of Liverpool.

I really am getting old.

Aw, their feelings are hurt

RTE's spoiler against the Vincent Browne Show, The Eleventh Hour, is certainly promising.

It features a strong team (Keelin Shanley is a fine reporter while Daire O'Brien, for his sins, is an old mate of mine -- although I'm not sure he'd like that made public, now that he's gone all serious and stuff) and having Liam Fay on board as well gives it a guarantee that it will be astute and funny.

But I seriously doubt we will ever see anything quite as hilarious as the performance of Eamon Dunphy and Fintan O'Toole on the show's inaugural episode.

Joined on the panel by the political analyst Elaine Byrne, the duo attempted to explain their aborted plan to start a new party called Democracy Now.

Now, anyone trying to do something in the current climate is to be lauded and the pair of them deserve some respect for that, even if the whole thing looked like it was shrouded in hubris.

But what was truly brilliant was to see first Fintan O'Toole take offence at Byrne referring to them as "angry middle-aged men".

This, according to overly sensitive Fintan, was both "ageist and sexist".

Dunphy then took up the cudgel, by referring to Byrne as a "young woman" before repeating O'Toole's accusations of ageism and sexism against her.

Honestly, it's just as well the pair of them didn't get into politics -- they have about 150 years combined experience in the world of hackery and they start crying when a "young woman" calls them on their bullshit?

Well, it's a skill of sorts

Are you a fan of talent shows?

Do you watch these things avidly, as starry-eyed hopefuls take the stage to try and impress the stern judges?

Do you share every hope and aspiration and go on one of those emotional journeys that people are always talking about?

Well, then you should check out China's version of Britain's Got Talent (I'm guessing it's probably called something like . . . China's Got Talent?) where the star turn is a Shaolin monk who has an extremely unusual skill -- he likes to get kicked in the balls.

According to reports: "Cross-legged members of the audience watched in horror as various members of the panel were invited to kick the monk as hard as they could between the legs. The monk just smiled and bowed after each kick."

Now, any bloke reading this will already be wincing and, indeed, some of you may even have burst into tears. I know it took me about 15 minutes to read the report on the wire because I kept on thinking I was about to be sick.

But it begs one obvious question -- how on earth do you discover you have a talent for being kicked in the bloody nads?

And how often do you have to practise before you get to withstand the pain? Honestly, could you not just take up juggling or something?

In fairness, that's a great idea

How well do you get on with your wife? Cold, lukewarm or hot?

Well, all marriages have their ups and downs and sometimes we do things we regret. In fact, Mrs iSpy says the biggest regret of her marriage was turning up at the wedding, which was a lovely thing to hear.

But you have to take your hat off to one British immigration official who really knew how to get back at his wife -- he put her name on a terrorist watch list while she was out of the country.

The woman, who had been visiting family in Pakistan, then spent the last three years stuck in the country, trying to figure out why on earth she was labelled a terrorist while her husband, according to investigators: "Had the time of his life."

It's a terrible thing to do, obviously, but go on, admit it -- you'd do it too if you could.

DVD Time

At the time it was the most expensive war movie ever made and it's easy to see why.

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1974), the account of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, is still visually impressive. Told from both sides of the story, there's no CGI, no special effects, just amazing aerial stunts and stunning battle sequences. Let's put it this way, it takes the awful Pearl Harbour starring Ben Affleck and shows them how it's done -- 30 years before the Affleck one.

Sample quote: "In all my 50 years of public service, I have never seen a document so crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions, on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any government on this planet was capable of uttering them."

Irish Independent