As our beings and doings are more publicly exposed by the speeding social rotations of the world, I find it increasingly hard to be sincere, to hold a conversational opinion that matters without the equivalent of a flippant emoticon at the end of each tentative statement, Liz Breslin writes.
Having exhausted every other angle on rugby this week, Liz Breslin's family started chatting about concussion tests.
At the end of the day, my wise Irish friend used to say, there is always the night, Liz Breslin writes.
In the years I spent tefling - teaching English as a foreign language - there were plenty of memorable times, mostly arising from linguistic mix-ups or sudden moments of clarity, especially when tefling in English-speaking countries with a whole range of cultures sorted according to how well they could conjugate and idiomise.
Over the school holidays, now drawing to an exhausted close, I have given up Facebook and taken up skiing.
Sitting around the lunch table with three generations, we wondered: Is the news mostly bad or sad these days?
You know how it is when you wake up in the morning with a supremely annoying lyric dancing around in your brain?
Here's an experiment. Look around the room you're in and notice all the yellow things.
Skeletor, Captain Hook, the Great Train Robbers, The Child Catcher, Fagin, Margaret Thatcher. Of all the villains that marked my childhood, there are two more sinister than all of these. Mr Neat and Mr Tidy. Do you remember them? I'll just run their story by you.
When I was young and ignorant, I thought the Great War sounded just that, great.
There are those who say maths is boring. But most of us know the truth. Maths is like oxygen: important and inescapable, lurking.
It's a bit over 40 years since Gil Scott-Heron penned the piece that would earn him monikers like ''the godfather of rap'' and ''founder of the spoken word movement'' for the rest of his days.
There are lots of contenders for the saddest lines ever written.
I was brought up on traditional Christmas stories, the sort that saw me going to midnight Mass and arranging holy plaster figures in a home-made wooden crib.
The news that our terrorism alert levels have gone from very low to low in the past few weeks has brought to mind those swingometer rural fire warning rainbow charts.
When I lived in Japan for a year, I saw many marvellous things. A photo booth in Osaka that could merge two faces to show you what your offspring might look like.A vending machine selling hot coffee on the top of Mt Fuji. Shops that sold sock glue. Students that wore thick white ruched socks held halfway up their legs with sock glue.
After a week at home with the flu (the real sort, the doctor said), we'd tried most things.
Sometimes the numbers don't add up to much of anything, Liz Breslin writes.
Let's face it. There's a lot wrong with the world these days. But two things make me really mad. Stainless steel pineapple slicers and planned obsolescence. Let me explain.