Journal Entries


Gay Byrne has just died, at a decently advanced age.

Unknown outside Ireland, he was the presenter of the Late Late Show on Irish television from 1962 to 1999. He also had a very popular and influential morning radio show, on the same station, RTÉ.

I respected him, I found him very sympathetic to most (though not all) of his guests, but above all, he managed to include his audience, just by his tone and body language, in a way some of his successors could never manage. When a guest dropped a quiet but potentially significant aside, he was prepared to abandon his line of questioning and pursue it, leading to some outstanding interviews.

He was head-hunted for American TV at one stage, and went over for talks with various stations. They had a problem with his first name, and asked could he use the full version instead. He refused, because a young Irish actor of the same name, Gabriel Byrne, was just appearing on the scene and he didn't want to get in his way. So they asked him, had he a middle name? He said, yes: Mary. No further progress was made.

When I had a barbershop quartet in the 90s (really, not just quoting The Usual Suspects here) we got a moment on his radio show and sang:

Gaybo, Gaybo, the whole day through,
Just an old sweet song keeps Gaybo on my mind
[...and so on...]
Other shows reach out to me
Other hosts compete for me,
But the voice of RTÉ
You know belongs to you...

In the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, he really was the voice of RTÉ. Good man.

Discuss this Journal entry [4]

Latest reply: Nov 4, 2019

This is the Guide to What?

I just took a peep at the list of Entries currently in Peer Review.

Nineteen out of the first twenty shown deal with fiction, music, or other cultural matters. The only one dealing with real life is "Dry Rot, or how not to have your house eaten."

Is this what DNA had in mind for the Earth Edition of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy? I kinda understood him to mean "Write about the things and places you know, like your local area."

Discuss this Journal entry [11]

Latest reply: Apr 25, 2018

Rimickle revised

I was doing the crossword today, and came up with a solution, hairdo*, which reminded me of one of my rimickles in A1086770 (no. 15):

The young Marcel Proust
Was often seduced
By a scent or a song or a hairdo
And À la Recherche du Temps Perdu
He therefore produced

And the icy realisation struck: I had committed the crime of a homphone rhyme. The rule in rhyming is that the portion from the last accented syllable after the consonant that begins it (the syllable) must sound the same, but that consonant must differ in the two lines.

If you have a last accented syllable with the same starting consonant, what you get is what the French call "rime riche", which they enjoy mightily, but it sets the teeth of an anglophone on edge.

A friend of mine once sent me a poem of scores of lines he had written all in rimes riches. Things like "bet/abet", "light/delight", "can/Cannes"--you get the message. I was a wreck.

Anyway, I realised I'd have to change either "seduced" or "produced" if I am to sleep tonight. So I got into "Edit Entry" and edited for all I was worth, but when I hit "Preview" the Entry title had changed to "GuideML Error" and the thing was all in text with tags, not in GuideML.

So I took care not to save it and went off to make a smiley - tea

smiley - eureka I thought I might make it work in Pliny (normally I stick to Brunel). Fortunately it did.

So now the rimickle reads

Monsieur Marcel Proust
Got a memory boost
From a little French bun (not the hairdo)
And À la Recherche du Temps Perdu
He therefore produced

Little things please the simple smiley - cheerup

*The clue was "Type of picture about Tone with old French twist".

Discuss this Journal entry [21]

Latest reply: Jan 24, 2018

Age matters

When you find yourself wondering whether you are 59 or 69, you're probably 69.

Discuss this Journal entry [6]

Latest reply: Nov 27, 2017

How do you carry a dozen mugs without a tray?

Ten in the left hand, two in the right.

Two mug handles hooked on each left-hand finger.

They do have to be empty mugs.

Discuss this Journal entry [6]

Latest reply: Jan 24, 2017

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