Sinead Ryan: 'Best to keep abreast of all the free stuff'
I'm at the age where the State is beginning to worry about me. Or at least, it's worried about the cost of me.
Having been more than happy to swipe half my income for the last 25 years, it is now, somewhat ominously, beginning to offer me the free stuff.
It's a passive-aggressive approach, since what it's really trying to do is save itself money in the future. The first sign that your age is potentially going to cost younger taxpayers money is the "invitation" to attend a mammogram screening from BreastCheck.
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"Congratulations! You're now well and truly middle-aged and your droopy, lumpy boobs are now our concern," it states. It doesn't really, but it might as well do.
When you get there, there's really no masking the fact you've climbed into the back of a truck in a shopping centre car park - you can nip in to get your groceries afterwards - but they've kitted it out like any other medical waiting room, with a tiny cubicle to (whisper) "remove your bra"; they even give you a little basket to put it in. Cute.
Mammograms are not fun. Boobs are not meant to be hammered between two rigid panels and squeezed until you honestly think you might start producing milk again after decades.
So, I'm intrigued by the approach taken in St Paul, Minnesota, where breast clinics are creating a more conducive atmosphere for relaxation, including chair massages, goody bags and warm bathrobes.
It's called the 'Mammoglam'. I know … but it is America. The spa-like ambience includes calm colours, low lighting, gentle muzak and inspirational quotes on the walls. I'm thinking … "Girls have got balls; they're just a little higher up" - Joan Jett, or "I had no clue my boobs would fall into my armpits eventually" - Katy Perry. Or even, "My mother always told me that the perfect breast fits into a Champagne glass" - Cameron Diaz.
Anyhow, lookit, it's free and important and all that stuff. So, go. A spa treatment would be great, as would investment in alternative engineering solutions to smashing your sensitive bits between two hard plastic plates.
I'm fairly certain that if, oh say, testicular screening was done in the same way one would have been found by now, eh?
Gold proves 'psychic power' is made of lead
I was fascinated by the case of Leitrim-based Simon Gold, recently convicted of massive fraud in the High Court.
He swindled people out of thousands, mainly desperate farmers seeking bridging loans secured for business during the recession, and he managed to launder €1.6m in funds through four fake names, a fake company and fake bank accounts. He was found guilty on 20 counts by the jury.
He described himself as a "qualified financier, merchant banker and consultant". In real life, however, he was an astrologer, tarot card reader and, eh, "psychic".
You'd imagine he'd have seen it all coming.
Give storms names and they just keep coming
There's a new competition open to name the storms for the 2019/20 season. I heard Evelyn Cusack on the radio asking for submissions. But "nothing silly" she added disappointingly, which rules out any Boaty McBoatface fun.
Her own daughter had recommended "Stormzy" which knocks the Storm Emmas and Storm Fiachras out of the ball park.
Other failed entries include "…In a teacup" and "-y weather", which is a shame. Although since we started naming them I can't be the only one who thinks they're coming around more often.