Archive for January, 2010

Oh dear.

RTE’s latest effort at a topical quiz show ‘That’s All We’ve Got Time For’ will undoubtedly be compared to ‘Have I Got News For You?’ and that’s a shame, because it won’t hold up well to that kind of comparison.

Have I got News for you has been running for 20 years, it has lost it’s long term presenter and kept going, and you will get more laughs and bigger laughs in 30 seconds of ‘Have I Got News For You’ than in an entire episode of ‘That’s All We’ve Got Time For’.

It would be wrong to say I had high hopes for the new show. I didn’t. A lifetime of seeing RTE suck the funny out of comedy has left me with low expectations, but I do always hope to be surprised. ‘Paths To Freedom’ from a decade ago is a lonely high point, but what a high point.

‘That’s All We’ve Got Time For’ was painful to watch. Here’s hoping that somebody takes all concerned aside and explains that this is supposed to be a news comedy show, not a farce of a news show.

There were so few laughs in the show that at one point towards the end a genuinely funny line prompted a cheer from the audience.

The panelists quite often gave the straight literal correct answer rather than engaging in the few minutes of surreal humor that would provide the editors with enough material to make the show entertaining. At least I hope that’s what happened. I can’t quite shake the notion that having seen the attempts at funny, the editors decided the straight literal answers were the more entertaining options.

None of the panelists seemed to be enjoying themselves. None of them seemed to find much of any of it very funny. The very short bursts of laughter from the audience suggested that they were reflex laughs, the result of years of training on where and when to laugh. It appears one or perhaps two seconds is how long it takes the average Irish audience to realise “oh, that wasn’t actually all that funny”.

Please, Please, Please RTE. Rethink this show before it’s too late.

Kevin Myers just doesn’t get his role. He’s supposed to be the straight guy, bemused at the ways of the modern world, and with enough of a grasp of comedy to play the part for laughs. There are lots of guys and girls who have the chops to do the job. On paper Myers might appear to be up to it but he just isn’t as is painfully clear from even one episode.

Mario Rosenstock is a funny guy, but he just didn’t do it for me. On the whole the entire show was restained to the point of being boring. Myres should be dropped immediately, Rosenstock might work out but only if he and the whole show lets it self go and really pushes the limits of taste, decency and even libel.

If Rosenstock doesn’t improve RTE could kill two birds with one stone by cancelling the awful Val Falvey and roping Ardal O’Hanlon into a team captain job.

Finally, in getting Barry Murphy, a comedian to play the host, RTE completely screwed up the formula. Murphy seemed unsure whether his job was to follow the BBC model where the host sits in the crossfire of jokes coming from the teams, or whether he is supposed to supply some of the jokes.

It’s telling that a show like a ‘Question Of Sport’ is consistently funny despite the fact that none of the team captains, guests or the host are comedians.

That’s the difference. The BBC can take anybody and make a funny show. RTE can’t make a funny show regardless of who they have at their disposal.

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A Tale of Two Women

Posted: January 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is a story about two women. Both are (or until recently were) pregnant. Neither of them have any connection to me, in case anyone reading this is concerned about Mrs Daltonr.

The first woman being “with child” reached that great moment, the only time when an adult can “wet themselves” and be happy about it. Her waters broke. Nothing unusual about that, it does come with the territory of being pregnant. She did what any sensible person would do, she got herself to her hospital, presumably excited at the prospect of meeting her offspring.

Sadly, when her waters broke she apparently had held some back, which the hospital found objectionable, and she also lost points for her contractions not being frequent enough. Overall she just wasn’t up to their standards and was sent home. Whether a stern note from the head mistress was issued is not clear.
Let’s give the hospital the benefit of the doubt and pretend this decision was based on medical factors.

On returning home the rest of the fluid got it’s ass in gear and arrived. The contractions, shamed by earlier poor performance also put in some extra effort and performed with more vigor. Satisfied that she had corrected the flaws in her performance, Mum to be returned to the hospital for another shot at impressing the judges.

Sadly, again there was a problem. No beds. It appears the miracle of birth is now to become an elective procedure in Irish public hospitals.
Having been refused a bed, and with no stables near bye, Mum-to-be and child-almost-been were sent home again.

This happened, in Dublin, tonight. A night when buses aren’t running because of the driving conditions. Taxis are refusing to cover many areas outside the city center. In short a night when it’s dangerous to be on the roads, and where there is a very real danger of being stranded somewhere in a car, this hospital sent this woman home, because they couldn’t find a bed in a Maternity hospital.

I said this was a story of two women. The other woman gave birth in a private hospital. She had a semi-private room which contained two beds.
The other bed was empty.

That’s healthcare in Ireland folks. The Public system puts people in danger because it hasn’t enough beds, and the private system has more beds than it knows what to do with.

Kudos one and all. Job well done.

Every day I get happier and happier that mrs daltonr and I are stumping up the cash for a private hospital.

Cancer

Posted: January 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Given the revelation of Brian Lenihan’s illness it’s not surprising that there has been an outpouring of sympathy for him, and it’s deserved. I disagree with NAMA, I think the banking guarantee is a complete disaster, I think the government have moved too slowly and too little to tackle the crisis in the public finances, and despite that, I don’t think there’s anyone else on the government side of the house that I’d prefer to be in charge of finance right now.

I was glad to hear Lenihan say he wanted the opposition to carry on as usual, no going easy on him, because I have a few things to say, that under the circumstances many people might not say.

Watching Vincent Browne’s show last night the panel were gushing in their praise for Lenihan. The interviews were great, his attitude was great, he’s just great. It’s perhaps a little easier for Mr Lenihan to be positive given that he has quick access to the best medical care in the country.
Whether that care will be enough, we don’t know, but he has a fighting chance. Unlike the citizens who rely on the health service that his party has created.

I wonder, if the minister left his life in the same hands that Susie Long entrusted with hers, would he be so great? Would his attitude be so positive and inspiring? Susie Long could have lived were it not for the delay in getting care in our public health system. If we know anything we know that she is not alone.

I hope Mr Lenihan beats the odds and makes a full recovery, but I’m going to try and put him out of my mind and instead think about the hundreds of Irish people who every year get the same news he got. I’m going to try and think about about the people who realise, as Susie Long did, that they could have been saved.

Read Her Story.

Let’s not forget that Suzie Long died at a time when Ireland was supposedly a very rich country.
Let’s not forget that for the sake of a few million a year we passed on the chance to have cervical cancer vaccines.
Let’s not forget that we’re cutting the already shoddy health service that we have.

-Rd