Mind your language. But which language? As secondary schools continue to struggle with falling numbers and the curriculum seems to be in a constant state of flux, the place of modern languages becomes ever more tenuous.
When I was a lad at school - ein Jugend, a garcon and a gasúr - French and Irish were compulsory until O-level. I also studied German and Italian. It was a handy way of avoiding science subjects.
It was nothing exceptional for anyone at that time to study one or two languages until at least O-level. I make no claim that I or my fellow students emerged fluent and ready to hold discussions on world affairs auf Deutsch.
Nonetheless, we were given a good grounding. What hampered us in our attempts to learn languages was more often than not the greater desire of foreign students to practise their English more than we wanted to practise their language.
Of course, the traditional benefits of studying languages is that one gets to read another country's literature. It is always nice to have a couple of books by world-famous French or Spanish authors to impress visitors.
Better by far, however, was the fact that the right foreign exchange student could be persuaded to teach you some swear words.
I might not remember the German for 'East-West tensions' or 'nuclear stand-off' but I can still remember how to call someone an a**h**e. A swear word really is a linguistic gift for life.
And I can still recall the pride of a fellow student when he finally found out what the Spanish 'c' word was. Off he went down the street happily repeating his Iberian expletive.
Alas, such dedicated scholars are a thing of the past. The modern teenager has no interest in broadening his vulgar vocabulary.
Pity future generations who miss out on the fun of such learning, who don't have the discipline to repeat after me: the French for eff off is ... I am surprised that the educational powers that be have not come up with a GCSE on Coarse Continental Curses.
It would be sure to attract students more than the works of Camus and Goethe. I can just see the wee darlings leaving their classes: "Sir, I love French. I swear I do."
Roy a match for Mick
That famous spat between Roy Keane and Mick McCarthy in Saipan divided football supporters into two camps with people having no hesitation in offering strong opinions on who was right and who was wrong.
Keane's supporters were sure of one thing - he was a much better player than McCarthy. Keane is now manager at Sunderland, a club McCarthy managed. Keane is trying to succeed where McCarthy failed and keep Sunderland in the top flight. It is an uphill task with the club fighting relegation.
It is an appalling sporting vista for Keane supporters: Keane could be as bad at managing as McCarthy. Talk about humble pie.
Bairbre plays part for North
Sinn Féin accept partition - again. MEPs recently wrote to papers to demand an end to development to the Hill of Tara. Among the signatories were Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald on behalf of Ireland and Bairbre de Brún for, ahem, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland?
Surely, some mistake. At least she was not included in the list of UK MEPs.
Naomi's new role
Supermodel Naomi Campbell is to visit Trinity College Dublin to address the students' Philosophical Society. Not so much a case of "I think therefore I am" so much as "I thin therefore I am".
Philosophy and fashion have much in common. The pre-Socratic philosopher, Heraclitus, offered one of the earliest fashion comments when he said: " Everything flows."
There are those who think that he was making a deep comment on the meaning of life when, in fact, he was referring to how a toga should be worn.
Campbell is spoilt for choice when it comes to addressing philosophical issues: the Dialectic of Dieting; Plato and Pilates; Kant and Catwalk, Metaphysics and Modelling; Stoics and Shoes or Wittgenstein and Wardrobe.
Let us hope too that Campbell, who has gained a reputation as a bit of a diva and who has had to do community service for her tantrums, might also offer an insight into Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling.