You'd think a book would be the least dangerous thing you could send to your friend who's just begun their summer holiday. Nothing could be much safer, it might seem, than relaxing on a deckchair, in a peaceful garden or hotel poolside terrace, with a book and a cool drink. But this is Northern Ireland, and when we send parcels, we have to risk assess.
There's a rumour going around, propagated by [some] polyamorists, that polyamory is a superior ideology to monogamy. Let's face it, 'limitless love' does sound wholly honorable and blissful, even if 'limitless sex' with multiple partners sounds ~ for most of our sex-negative society ~ quite the opposite.
A pot-smoking friend once regaled me with his theory of a collective human consciousness, his idea being that supposedly we are all connected by some sort of invisible net that links our minds. I remember laughing heartily at the concept as I inhaled secondary smoke while thinking this is what drugs do to one's brain- invent wild theories without any foundation whatsoever.
The upcoming European elections will offer a valuable insight into the current state of democracy in the EU. While the vote will lay the foundations for a greater involvement of citizens in the Union's policy-making process, a poor result may end up undermining the legitimacy of the EU system as a whole.
What if Valentine's Day, or relationships in general, were a stark reminder of the most painful and distressing events that you ever experienced? What if they triggered a trauma so terrifically challenging that it forever altered your approach to life? Welcome to Valentine's Day, and relationships, for adoptees.
The challenges of The Co-operative Bank and the furore around the role of the former chair, made co-operatives - businesses that are member-owned - an unhappy national news story in late 2013. Three months on and I feel that I can breathe again. But what difference did these high profile troubles make to the wider co-operative sector and the long-term reputation of our business model?
Getting fired because of a bad joke is certainly a painful experience on its own. But watching the joke as it makes its way to the front pages of major international newspapers, pushed by a global wave of public indignation, is definitely a lot worse. Especially when it's just a few days before Christmas.
Repeat business is great for me, probably not so much for a plumber; that might just mean they hadn't got it right the first time round. Yet seeing clients more than once ensures I know just where to take them, how far they can go and helps me to push them even further if they wish. I don't get it right every single time though...
Currently I believe that what is urgently required is greater truth and integrity from those in whom we put our trust. The trouble is, the embedded culture of secrecy and obfuscation makes this objective extremely difficult to achieve. Moreover, simply increasing performance measures and targets will definitely not help.
Energy companies should be more transparent and structured in the way they justify price increases. The disparity between what Ofgem and the energy companies have said has left the latter in an awkward position. The four energy firms that have announced price hikes so far, have said that the rises are due to increasing wholesale prices, and the cost of transporting energy to homes.