THE END is nigh for 2016 but first we have one hell of a party season to get through.
Secular Ireland and Catholic Ireland are united in that fuzzy, spine tingling feeling which lies somewhere on the spectrum of psychosis and childhood joy.
Very few among us don't get caught up in the zany fun of Christmas songs at this time of year. I've been playing Christmas FM at home and in my office to keep spirits' high, (mine included) and it works for the most part.
What with all of the shopping to be done and the deals to be grabbed, nevermind the Christmas parties and Christmas day planning and all the emotioanl tug of warring that can entail with the Significant Other, it's hard to maintain any semblance of reason, perspective and calm.
In our house the Santa lists were finalised this week and The Whirlwind Princess very kindly included a request for a pair of socks for The Little Fella, amidst her request for umpteem items of sparkle and shine.
Family visits are now just around the corner and with a busy period of work and play to contend with, things can all get a bit much. A cursory glance at a Delia Smith Christmas Eve to do list, beginning, with, wait for it, an early a.m. shopping trip, followed by about ten hours of chopping, stirring, invasive turkey stuffing and baking, had me reaching for the port, but I found the kids bubble machine liquid instead.
The panic, which rises and rises at this time of year, wasn't always thus. For men anyway!
I can't be dealing with that right now Delia.
Another article in the Mail on Sunday drew my gaze, one about our inglorious leader Enda Kenny, who always appears inglorious in that publication, which has come in for some criticism as of late for its right leaning bent.
Kenny appears to be the latest politico villain to use Gmail to send emails. The article describes how he used his private non-secure Gmail account to receive details from the Deaprtment of Finance that were so 'commercially sensitive' that they still can't be revealed.
The Daily Mail newsroom may not be as tuned into Christmas FM as us in provincial-land, and writing in wild broadstrokes, complete with an encircled photo of Kenny's iPhone, they describe how Kenny's spokesperson has poured cold water on the revelation saying he only uses his Gmail for non-sensitive official correspondence. The paradox gets the reporter in a lather and following swiftly on from a Sunday Independent article about how the Taoiseach and six other Cabinet members had private email and password details compromised by international cyber criminals responsible for the world's biggest hacking scandals. Serious questions about cyber security across Government and the level of information about senior ministers available online to criminals were raised. The database, which is used by Irish and international cyber security analysts, shows the Taoiseach and five of his Cabinet colleagues had personal information stolen by hackers who targeted business networking website LinkedIn. There is no suggestion that the minsters or Taoiseach's Oireachtas email accounts have been compromised; however, the addresses and LinkedIn passwords are available for sale. So anyone who wants to spend a bomb so that they can impersonate Enda Kenny can give themselves a Christmas present to remember.