A message to Mary Lou: if you want to unite Ireland, you must unite its people and leave war cries where they belong - in the past
Dear Mary Lou McDonald,
Dear Mary Lou McDonald,
The boy was 16 years old and he'd agreed to come down to meet me in the Belfast Telegraph building. For obvious reasons he didn't want a reporter to be seen coming up anywhere near his house.
In the aftermath of that shocking story about the violent aggravated burglary that left an elderly lady in Aughnacloy fighting for her life, a striking picture of PSNI officers appeared in some media reports of the follow-up investigation.
As we draw to the end of Veganuary - the now annual drive to persuade the nation that vegan is the way to go - the one big vegetable-related story that sticks in my mind from a month of commercial attempts to cash in on the campaign is the sad saga of the cauliflower "steak".
The Pope has a point. According to his holiness, the world is now but one step away from nuclear war. One quick button push.
You could be forgiven for thinking that we've cornered the market on symbolism in Northern Ireland with our addiction to flags and emblems.
Not for a second, says Barry McElduff, Member of Parliament for West Tyrone, did he realise any possible link between the product brand name of the loaf he was videoed balancing on his head - and the Kingsmill massacre.
Today is Day Three. And if you are one of the millions who annually launch into a self-improvement/health kick to mark the start of another new year, giving up the booze and the fags, the buns, the hoarding of clutter and the irrational spending on stuff you don't need, you will know full well the significance of Day Three.
Congratulations Eamonn Holmes OBE. Or as we should perhaps more accurately call him, Mr Television OBE.
The overarching problem with winter wonderlands, I always think, is that the 'wonder' bit in the title tends to raise expectations somewhat.
There are lies, damned lies and now something called the International Statistic of the Year.
Clever PSNI officers have been using the recent snowy, frosty weather as a means of spotting cannabis factories in local houses.
Somewhere in our house, in one of those places where I put things to be safe but can never ever lay hands on them again, there is a torn sheet of paper with the names of a squad of rugby players from the 1930s written in thin, elegant strokes.
In a week in which Brexit has dominated the headlines, I've been focused on a small Brexit of my own. My own breaking news ... the other night walking up stone steps with some friends I misjudged my footing. Like Theresa May, I hit a hard border.
And so congratulations are in order. To Harry and Meghan, of course - and also, if we are to believe Arlene Foster's Twitter feed, an unsuspecting Prince William.
Here's another thing Gerry missed out on. The Gerry Adams Christmas Annual. Jeremy Corbyn has one.
According to reports from the medical front, doctors are steadily making progress towards the day when they will successfully carry out a head transplant. Aside from the scientific challenges, what always intrigues me about this story (and, yes, I'm being a bit of a pedant here) is whether the operation should actually be termed a 'head transplant'.
A court in Frankfurt has ruled that Kuwait Airways did not break the law by refusing to carry a passenger who had booked a flight with the airline company last year.
The hospitality business is a tough world even in the best of times and the best of places. It's a bit of an understatement to note that Belfast in the early Eighties was neither of those things.
Stormont. There we all were wracking our brains for a solution to the latest impasse and all but giving up hope - and suddenly there steps forward a saviour with all the answers.
About a week ago I was walking through Belfast mid-afternoon when I spotted some sort of incident unfolding on the corner of Castle Place and Royal Avenue. Being nosy (a healthy attribute in journalist, I always feel) I sped over to where a number of police vehicles were parked.
From the mouth of the Chief Constable himself we learn that Northern Ireland currently has around 100 fully operational paramilitary and organised crime gangs. The former, of course, may also be filed under the latter heading.
Harvey Weinstein ... how exactly did Hollywood allow that to happen? For in-depth analysis, we go over now to the red carpet outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, where the doyennes of the US movie industry are gathered, resplendent as ever in their designer T-shirts, spouting slogans about female empowerment and support for the sisterhood.
Should penny-pinching be a degree subject? The debate about student fees - keep, cut or entirely abolish? - has been back in the headlines ever since old Jezza rashly intimated he might scrap them altogether.
As someone almost once said, there are lies, damned lies... and things we tell the tourists.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who fell in love with a handsome prince. She'd been over to his palace to visit the Queen. He'd been over to meet her folks.
Ryanair and Stormont. Spot the difference. Two major entities trying to get back off the ground this week. Without pilots. Well might we laugh at the lunacy of trying to run an aircraft without the necessary crew up front - but we've little room to smirk in Northern Ireland.
Given the seriousness of so many of the stories making the headlines this week, the difficulties encountered by singer Paloma Faith as she passed through security at Gatwick Airport pale a bit by comparison.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced that they are expecting a third child. Of all the many people whose hearts will have been uplifted by this happy news, I think we can safely say who will have been first among them.
The MMA fighter Conor McGregor is said to have earned $100m for his clash with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jnr. The last time there was a "purse" that spectacular was when Arlene Foster got a billion after a successful election fight.
A couple of weeks ago we were down in Dublin for a few days. We got talking, as you do, to other out-of-town visitors, many from America.
The death of Ards-born David Anderson, who was Hillsborough Castle's Household Manager for a quarter of a century, has seen tributes flooding in.
Surely the most startling thing to come out of the controversial Channel 4 Diana: In Her Own Words documentary was her disclosure that she and Charles had only met 13 times before they were married.
Today's special on the menu at Restaurant Brexit - American-style chicken ... "Whole chicken lavishly coated in a sumptuous chlorine sauce, accompanied by US-farmed beef infused with piquant antibiotics and drizzled with our own-recipe hormone jus.
This week I want to talk about sexism. But first I want to get Stephen Nolan out of the way. Carmel on line 1 is right. There is a bit of the green-eyed monster lurking behind some of the criticism of Stephen Nolan's newly-disclosed, humongous BBC pay packet.
In the famous words of the Victorian writer Walter Bagehot, in order for the monarchy to survive: "We must not let in the daylight upon magic." Walter's concern was that the mystique of royalty could be punctured by anything which afforded the masses overly generous insight and access.
Proof that we are now officially into the Silly Season - a major news outlet reports that someone has spotted the face of Casper the Friendly Ghost on the kneecap of the Duchess of Cambridge.
When I first heard of the scale of the cash coming here as a result of the DUP deal with the Tories, my immediate reaction (shameful, I know) was, 'Let's just split it, Arlene'.
The tragic case of little Charlie Gard, the desperately ill baby boy whose parents have spent months fighting to take him to America for treatment that may or may not save his life, would touch any heart.
Multi-millionaire Adele fell foul of some fans after she had to cancel a couple of Wembley concerts.
Not since the 1996 Brits when Michael Jackson flung wide his arms and, with the wind blowing up his cassock, delivered a presumptuous portrayal of himself as the Messiah, have we seen an onstage performance of such singular conceit. Until...
If only I'd known a while back when we were moving house and needed to put some furniture into (expensive) storage that Belfast City Council apparently can keep the stuff for you for free.
In New York, the city's Public Theater has just finished a run of the great Shakespeare tragedy Julius Caesar, set in the modern day with one of the foremost military and political leaders in human history depicted as a bloke with a bouffant hairdo and long red tie.
Frankly, I blame Prince Charles. Years ago, I noticed that Prince Charles never did anything as commonplace as just get angry.
Call off the election! In the immediate wake of the weekend horror in London a raft of concerned citizens took to social media to demand a polling day postponement. An online petition was even launched.
It must be a bit of a gunk to supporters of IRA terrorism that anger at Jeremy Corbyn's links to the Provos should have come to so dominate this current general election campaign. It has certainly surprised me.
A news agency has released what's been described as a "composite picture" of a handshake between Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, which Macron himself described as "symbolic" of how he won't be making "concessions" to Trump.
A power surge that lasted "only a few minutes" is said to have led to the IT failure at British Airways which, in turn, led to chaos affecting 75,000 customers in 170 airports in 70 countries.
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter... How often have we heard that idiotic old trope trotted out here in recent years?
How much do you think a drugs lord makes off a deal that takes the life of a 15-year-old child? I’m not talking here about the low-level skunks who sell the stuff on the streets.