Anna Nolan: Maybe Brian's threat to shame is the answer to stop vandalism
I absolutely loved shopkeeper Brian Noonan who threatened last week to reveal on social media the face of a stupid thief who stole hanging plant baskets from the front of his deli.
His store was robbed of the two hanging baskets last Tuesday night, and he said they were worth more than €70 each.
The newsagents had planned to enter Dublin City Council's Shop Front competition, and Mr Noonan said the baskets would have "a good chance of winning".
He said that the thief had until 3pm on Friday to come forward or a poster would go up in his shop and the CCTV footage would be shared on Facebook.
Surprise, surprise, the episode had a happy ending after Mr Noonan met the culprit.
He returned the baskets and also handed over cash to repair a wall bracket and for a donation to charity.
"He apologised for his actions and let's just say that this kind of thing wouldn't be a normal thing for him," Mr Noonan told the Herald.
I thought it was so clever, and it got huge coverage. I also admired the fact he wasn't afraid to take on crime. It brought to mind the terrible reputation we have here for mindless vandalism - the sort of drunken crime that happens at 2am.
People falling home drunk from the pub are egged on by pals to steal a bike, knock over a bin, pull up flowers or break bottles on the street.
And of course the famous Dublin one, put washing up liquid in the fountain in Dame Street.
I was once that idiot. I was 21 and walking home with some pals through the city centre and there were beautiful flowers growing along the street.
Thicko me decides to do some plucking and reefs a load of daffodils into a bunch to take home.
The following morning I woke up with them all over my bedroom. I was obviously too drunk to put them in a vase.
Most of us have been there at some level, waking up with a traffic cone or a fancy ashtray from a fancy bar.
Or as my friend once said to me when I commented on a Shelbourne Hotel wine glass in her kitchen: "Well, I presumed it was free after paying €18 for a glass of white wine."
What I'm sick of is the increase in vandalism that isn't done by daft teenagers. It's done by selfish, unscrupulous offenders who have no idea that their behaviour upsets, intimidates and scares people.
Fair play to Brian Noonan for having the confidence to confront the thief by using social media.
He got his baskets back. Maybe some naming and shaming is what we need to combat moronic vandalism.
If a couple don't have children it doesn't make them any less of a family
I remember hearing some friends discussing a married couple, saying they didn't have a family. I thought it was weird - they WERE a family. They were a couple. Surely that's a family? But to my friends, that couple were somehow seen as incomplete.
I think there is a perception that a family only truly exists when children are involved, and the pressure on women to have babies is still very strong in Ireland.
Babies are not the be all and end all. Yes, they are precious and a gift and blah blah blah. But a life without a baby is not a life less lived.
At one stage I did want to have a child, but it was not to be. And yes, there was a little sadness for a while, but guess what? My life isn't over and my days aren't filled with regret or devastation. I don't need to have a baby to be a happy, fulfilled human being living an incred- ibly exciting and wonderful life.
I know my family would have been supportive had I had a child, and I know I would have been a terrific mother.
However, just like I decided not to stay in London and just like I decided that I should buy two new pairs of Converse trainers every year, my many decisions in life have led me to where I am now. And here is a pretty good place.
As we've seen recently, it's all about choice. Although it might seem weird to the mothers of the world, women can choose to have a child or not to have a child.
That doesn't make them strange or sad. Their relationships are just as good as those with children, and their family unit is just as important.
So enough with the pressure to procreate - there's enough of you doing it and we're just as happy without, thank you very much.
Making fun of fat people isn't funny
I went to see Pitch Perfect 2 at the weekend. What a load of musical muck.
Pitch Perfect 2
There were many offensive elements in the movie, not least the self-ridiculing of Rebel Wilson (below) and her weight. Fat Amy, as she is known, did everything to make her physique the laughing stock of the movie.
It reminded me of being young in the playground and someone would make fun of themselves before anyone else got the chance to. I'm over the whole Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy thing of "let's make fat funny".
It's not funny giving young cinema-goers permission to laugh at people who are overweight.
Majority voted for Sepp Blatter - end of story
I WAS discussing Sepp Blatter with some pals, and wondering why there are no investigations into his dealings at FIFA. This is my good friend's dummies guide to Sepp.
"Metaphorically speaking, he knows where the bodies are buried. He goes down, they all go down.
"He also dispensed largesse, giving to clubs that were poor and needy.
"Crumbs from the king's table. Like Haughey being remembered for giving free travel while he lived like a king in Versailles".
Good answer. John Steinbeck once wrote that "power does not corrupt, fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of a loss of power".
Blatter (above) was re-elected as head of FIFA. Whatever about the corruption within the body, it is clearly not an issue for the 133 countries that are happy for him to still be there.