MY LOCAL NEWS AGENT enjoys the sight of me on Sunday because I use a small bag to carry away my Sunday papers. I often walk up around the Rock before walking into the corner shop because Sunday is late opening all around town and the inserts are never unpacked before 0830. The bag weighs more with the papers inside than it does with a quick dash to the shops for milk and sundries. Because I save all my important questions for Sundays and my selection of newspapers guarantees I can get those questions answered. Today, I have questions about Facebook, rugby, CSI, electricity and new McWords.
1. Why did Facebook become so infectious so quickly, just about the most exciting place on the web to be seen and be seen? James Harkin thinks it's because of the way people are invited by friends, how friends announce lifestyle things, and the "instinctive, almost tribal urge to show off how popular you are and who's in your gang." For some reason, Cybercom does not rank Facebook as one of the Top 10 websites visited in Ireland.
2. Neil Francis, how about boiling down the Ireland-Argentina rugby fixture? "There will be a street fight for 75 minutes and when Argentina realise that there will be a stalemate, it'll be settled by penalties. We have to bet that O'Gara is better at doing it than his Argentine counterpart. That's how close it is."
3. On the anniversary of 9/11, who's walking the streets of New York when he should be in Ireland thinking about Podcamp Ireland in Kilkenny? Keola Donaghy should be enjoying the auld sod but Ireland has not offered its one hundred thousand welcomes.
4. Energy prices in Ireland: up or down? "Electricity prices are expected to fall by 6% from November 1 to coincide with the launch of an all-island energy market," says Niamh Connolly on the front page of the Sunday Business Post.
5. What symbolises the new Russian appetite for individualism? The Iron Laddie, Vladimir Putin, as shown in broadsheets throughout the summer and again in The Sunday Times Magazine "Bigger Picture".
6. What's CSI say about the Madeleine McCann DNA finding? "The DNA evidence which led to the shock decision to name Kate and Gerry McCann as official suspects in the disappearance and possible death of their daughter, Madeleine, is incomplete and not a perfect match ... sources close to the investigation have revealed to The Obserer." The DNA profile of blood found on the floor of the family's holiday flat is not conclusive.
7. What's this about broadband lagging in Ireland because of lack of demand for broadband? Alex Meehan's article in the "Managing Your Business" supplement to the Sunday Business Post writes about the broadband revolution and the subheading "Driving Demand" unveils that "from a business perspective, the key will be creating the applications that drive this demand." The full page article, accompanied by Maura Hickey's perfect snap of the smiling Geoffrey Shakespeare, chief technology officer at Eircom, effuses that "broadband is set to revolutionise the working world." All it takes is a little nudge from the demand side, and all sorts of Irish locations will be set up with broadband. As might be expected, there are others who do not share this view.
8. What new vocabulary words are seeping out of David McWilliams' latest book, written four generations after the Irish Famine? There's no indexical listing in the Sunday coverage but McWilliams proposes a right to return for Irish who were swept away in the diaspora. DISCLOSURE: That tactic might work for me during the next five years as I decide to permanently root myself in Ireland. Perhaps I should buy The Generation Game and learn first-hand.
9. Who is the world's smartest artist? Sculptor Matthew Barney who is considered to be the Damien Hirst of the American art scene. Sean O'Hagan writes Barney is "respected and lambasted in equal measure, his epic films featuring genital close-ups ans Vaseline sculptures are as baffling as they are engaging."
1. James Larkin -- "Here's Looking at Us" in Financial Times Magazine, September 9, 2007.
2. Neil Francis, Rugby Analyst -- "Laporte's blundering proves costly as Pumas expose French and prove disastrous for Irish" in Tribune Sport, September 9, 2007.
3. Keola Donaghy reports from New York, September 8, 2007.
4. Niamh Connolly -- "Prices for electricity are set to fall by 6 per cent" on the front page of the Sunday Business Post, September 9, 2007.
5. Propaganda: Photographs from Soviet Archives is published by Bonnier Books. ISBN 9781905825431
6. Ned Temko and Mark Townsend -- "Madeleine: DNA find is 'not a complete match'" on the front page of The Observer, September 9, 2007.
7. Alex Meehan -- "Broadband is the new revolution" in the "Managing Your Business" supplement to The Sunday Business Post. You can get that 20-page insert today or in Dublin Castle during the SFA Annual Conference on 11 September 2007.
8. David McWilliams -- "Calling our Children Home" in the News Focus section of the Sunday Business Post, September 9, 2007.
9. The Observer Magazine cover story is one in which Matthew Barney talks about film, festishism and life with Bjork.
10. Marianne Macdonald -- "Girl Wanted" in Observer Woman, September 9, 2007.