The Friday Irregular
Volume 8, Number 22 (TFIr #204)  --  7th November 2003

Edited by and copyright ©2003 Simon Lamont


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Friday 7 November -  Canada's transcontinental railway completed, 1885. Novelist Albert Camus born, 1913. Naturalist Alfred Wallace died, 1913. Lord Lucan disappeared, 1974. Actor Steve McQueen died, 1980. Happy birthday to: musician Sharleen Spiteri (36), former soccer player John Barnes (40), actress Lindsay Duncan (53), musician Joni Mitchell (60), 60s model Jean Shrimpton (61). Today is: Day of Accord and Reconciliation in Russia.
Saturday 8 November -  Astronomer Edmond Halley born, 1656. The Louvre, Paris, opened to the public, 1793. Hitler launched a failed coup attempt in Munich, 1923. Happy birthday to: actress Parker Posey (35), chef Gordon Ramsay (37), screenwriter Richard Curtis (47), comedian Ken Dodd (72), musician Bonnie Raitt (54). Today is: Lord Mayor's Show in London, England. Admission Day in Montana (41st state, 1889).
Sunday 9 November -  Edward VII (r.1901-10) born, 1841. Astronomer Carl Sagan born, 1934. Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister 1937-40, died, 1940. Poet Dylan Thomas died, 1953. New England and Ontario were hit by a massive power failure, 1965. Happy birthday to: musician Sisqo (25), opera singer Bryn Terfel (38), actor Robert Duncan McNeill (39), comedian Tony Slattery (44), TV Hulk Lou Ferrigno (51). Today is: Independence Day in Cambodia. Remembrance Sunday.
Monday 10 November -  Protestant reformer Martin Luther born, 1483. George II (r.1727-60) born, 1683. Artist William Hogarth born, 1697. Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia 1762-96, died, 1796. Stanley met Livingstone in Ujiji, Central Africa, 1871. Happy birthday to: actresses Brittany Murphy (26) & Vanessa Angel (37), Comedian Sean Hughes (38), former F1 racing driver Eddie Irvine (39), lyricist Sir Tim Rice (59). Today is: Remembrance Day in The Cayman Islands.
Tuesday 11 November -  Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard died, 1855. Australian outlaw Ned Kelly hanged, 1880. General George S. Patton born, 1885. World War I armistice signed, 1918. Space Shuttle Columbia made its first commercial flight, 1982. Happy birthday to: actor Leonardo DiCaprio (29), actress Calista Flockhart (39), novelist Kathy Lette (45), actress June Whitfield (78), writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (81). Today is: Independence Day in Angola. Admission Day in Washington (42nd state, 1889). Armistice Day.
Wednesday 12 November -  Composer Aleksandr Borodin born, 1833. Novelist Elizabeth Gaskell died, 1865. Astronomer Percival Lowell died, 1916. The first alleged photograph of the Loch Ness Monster taken, 1933. Space Shuttle Columbia became the first spacecraft to launch twice, 1981. Happy birthday to: former ice skater Tonya Harding (33), actor David Schwimmer (37), TV presenter Mariella Frostrup (41), actresses Megan Mullally (45) & Valerie Leon (58).
Thursday 13 November -  Edward III (r.1327-77) born, 1312. Novelist Robert Louis Stevenson born, 1850. The first shipment of canned pineapple arrived in the US from Hawaii, 1895. The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, opened, 1921. Actress Jean Seberg born, 1938. Happy birthday to: talk show host Jimmy Kimmel (36) actresses Tracy Scoggins (44) & Whoopi Goldberg (48), actor Chris Noth (49), George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury (68).


This week, Ambrose Bierce:
War is God's way of teaching Americans geography.


An animated bag of quotations this week. Answers next week or from the regular address.

Last issue's lines were:


Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...

DUMB CRIMS... Three Finns share this week's dumb crim of the week award, and, yes, it involves a bank. The three men in their 50s, very drunk and not wearing any kind of disguise, went into the bank in Hauivuori and shouted "This is a bank robbery" before demanding 50,000 euros (UKP34,000, US$57,000). Despite one of them waving a gun around the bank manager suggested they discuss taking out a loan instead of a robbery, gave them a 10-euro note in advance and suggested they come back in ten minutes to fill out the paperwork. Although they did not return they were arrested later that day. Other dumb crims this week include the Toledo, Ohio, restaurant burglar who was discovered by the manager one morning stuck in the chimney, and rescued uninjured after two hours - as one of the attending police officers commented, "He should just be glad they didn't light the stove"; 52-year-old Tampa, Fla, man Alfred Joseph Sweet who broke into the home of 60-year-old Cathy Ord and Rose Bucher, 63, with a sawn-off shotgun, didn't say what he wanted, but accepted a ham sandwich and lots of rum over five hours until he passed out, at which point they called the police; the Romanian who burgled a church but decided to return everything and turn himself in after finding a bible among his haul; the Tredegar, South Wales, man who donned a balaclava to rob a store on Halloween but was forced to flee when the clerk thought he was a Halloween prankster and refused to take him seriously, and the teenager who decided to joyride... on a train.

POTTY TALK... 41-year-old Edwin Gallart, a passenger on a Harlem Line local train out of New York City's Grand Central Station, was using the on-board toilet when his cell phone fell into the pan, so he tried to retrieve it by doing a little exploratory handwork. Unfortunately his arm then got stuck up to the elbow, and a hastily-summoned supervisor was picked up at the next stop. He couldn't get Gallart's arm free either, so the train was stopped at Fordham for firefighters to come aboard. With Fordham's northbound platform out of action trains had to be rerouted and many passengers forced to disembark at different stations. The firefighters used a number of tools including the 'jaws of life' but had to cut the stainless steel lavatory out of the floor before freeing Gallart. The incident cost the railroad several thousand dollars, with the restroom closed for three days while it was repaired, and Gallart's phone was never found, which was just as well, according to Harlem Line director Al Cecere, as "You wouldn't want to put that on your face afterwards anyway."

WHAT NEXT? SEATTLE RUNNING OUT OF WATER? Saudi Arabia has imposed border controls to ban the export of sand, for fear that it could run short as demand grows from construction firms both internally and in neighbouring countries, land reclamation work in Bahrain and reconstruction in Iraq.

SPORTS ROUND-UP... Open University and Oxford University scientists have come up with the ideal design for a beer mat that can be flipped off the edge of a table and caught in mid-air. German Karl Heinz Hille won the World Beard and Moustache Championship, held in Carson City, Nevada, last weekend, with 82-year-old Londoner Alf Jarrald in second place, and Alaskan Dave Traver third.

ANIMAL ROUND-UP... Belgian former ambulance driver revives koi carp with heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Canadian & British scientists claim herring locate each other in the dark by farting. German cat receives demand for TV licence. Norwegian police dog lets candy factory thieves escape after stopping to eat their dropped haul. Another incident of a dog shooting a man - this time a French hunter who left a loaded rifle in the boot of his car, where one of his dogs accidentally trod on the trigger. A record 16 biant pandas have been born in captivity this year.

WEIRD WAR NEWS... Two of the treasures looted from Iraq's national museum in Baghdad have been recovered - from a cesspool. The 2300 BC copper statue and 850 BC brazier were undamaged but "need a bit of cleaning up," according to art expert John Russell, seconded to the museum to aid in the restoration of returned items. The majority of artefacts looted from the museum during the Iraq War have now been recovered.

STORIES WHICH ALSO CAUGHT OUR EYE THIS WEEK: American company producing caffeine-enhanced milk to attract cola-drinking teens. Ann Arbor, MI, man vandalises woman's house because he thought she hadn't give his trick-or-treating son any candy. Japanese lingerie firm develops bra that gives off fragrances to help relieve wearer's cravings for cigarettes. Clerical error results in Welsh woman receiving speeding ticket stating that she was doing 480mph in her G-registration Austin Maestro. Dutchman who lost both legs in separate accidents given two right prosthetic feet. Montreal lawyer defending man accused of shooting a policeman forced to apologise for singing Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" as he left court. Miss Digital World competition seeks the most beautiful computer-generated woman. Cadbury Schweppes develop water- soluble plastic trays for boxes of chocolates. Israel accidentally broadcasts secret long-range artillery test across the Middle East on an unencrypted satellite TV channel. Cyprus and Malta, which will join the European Union next year, want the euro note to be redesigned as the map of Europe shown on the notes does not include them. Scientists calculate that the amount of gunpowder involved in Guy Fawkes' 1605 plot to blow up the British Parliament would have caused damage up to a third of a mile away, devastating London. Russian aerospace scientists claim to be just ten years away from Moscow-New York flight time of less than an hour.


Film: Viewers of the BBC's Film 2003 TV show vote Titanic the worst film ever. Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz tapped for Luc Besson Mexican bank robbery comedy Western. Sir Ian McKellen keen to do a third X-Men movie (X-2 is out on region 2 DVD Monday). The Matrix Revolutions opens worldwide. Scary Movie 3 holds US box office. Richard Gere, J.Lo, Susan Sarandon tapped for remake of 1996 Japanese dance movie Shall We Dance. Finding Nemo smashes US DVD sales record, retains UK box office top spot for fourth week running. Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things illegal immigrant tale picks up four British Independent Film Awards including Best British Film and Best Director.

TV: Johnny Vegas signs exclusive deal with BBC for comedy series. Steve Coogan, Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer to make ITV comedy show. CBS drop Reagan miniseries. Jennifer Aniston regains top haircut title in online poll. British TV news criticised for 'sanitising' Iraq War coverage. Ratings for third series of 24 slump in US. James Murdoch appointed chief executive of BSkyB. Mel Gibson co-developing family sitcom for ABC. 56-year-old David Letterman a dad. NBC dump Coupling, Boomtown. First post-John Ritter episode of 8 Simple Rules gets over 20 million viewers in US. FCC pressing for payola investigation into the US TV broadcasters. NBC's Saving Jessica Lynch TV movie panned by critics.

Music & Radio: Suede to split. Holly Valance ordered to pay ex-manager AU$340,000 (UKP145000, US$240,000) plus costs and interest after being found guilty of unfair dismissal. David Cassidy to tour UK next year. Blondie to tour UK next summer. P. Diddy completes New York marathon. No Jam reunion on the cards according to Paul Weller. Fame Academy winner David Sneddon to quit pop star career for songwriting. Johnny Cash wins three posthumous Country Music Awards. Christina Aguilera 'disappointed' at not being named People Magazine's worst-dressed celeb. Ben Moody quits out on Evanescence; Terry Corson does same with Alien Ant Farm. Stradivarius violin and cello up for auction next week.

Books: Dutch court blocks publication of Russian Tanja Grotter books for plagiarising from J.K. Rowling. Second Madonna children's book Mr Peabody's Apples, due on on Monday. Wolves of the Calla, part five of Stephen King's seven-part The Dark Tower series finally published last Tuesday. Ousted Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith's first novel published to critical disdain. J.K. Rowling named best paid author in history.

Obits: Jazz singer Mary Lofstrom (38), actor/historian Bruce Hall (49), songwriter Ron Davies (57), Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield (63), singer Francois Bernager (66), jazz singer Mildred Jones (70), mystery writer Virginia Lanier (72), actress Joanna Lee (72), jazz drummer George Kawaguchi (76), novelist Joan Perucho (82), poet Charles Causley (86), writer William Krasner (86), actor William Swetland (90), actress Fay Helm (93).


ICANN proposing to increase number of top-level domains. Red Hat launch Fedora Linux distro aimed at hobbyists, announces end of support for consumer versions of RH Linux by end April; CEO Matthew Szuliz says home users should stick to Windows until Linux has matured further. Novell buy SuSE Linux. Microsoft announce bounty for virus-writer information, releases 'critical' patch for Office 2003. Xbox to ditch Intel processor for IBM. mimail.c worm (spreads by email, subject 'our private photos') launches distributed denial-of-service attack against gaming site. Vietnam the latest country to go for open source. Bug in Norton 2004 range of PC security software's anti-piracy feature may lock out legitimate users. Brazilian police arrest 18 in hacker-ring crackdown. Intel launch P4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz processor, aimed at gamers. Worldpay hit by denial-of-service attack. Solopay hit by forged spam. MTV planning rival to iTunes. Return of the King game out already, ahead of December movie release. Activision release source code for Call to Power. Halo-based animation series Red vs Blue wins three awards at Machinima Film Festival. Record 1.73 billion SMS text messages sent in the UK last month; Belgian couple who spend up to six months apart a year and keep in touch with SMS messages plan to marry via text messages (but sign the register in person) next week. Edinburgh, Scotland, trialling mobile phone parking payment scheme.


With autumn's chill upon us, what could be nicer than a good bowl of soup?


Madame Jennifer, our in-house psychic predicts the following numbers will be lucky:
8, 20, 32, 39, 43, & 46.
You can consult Madame Jennifer online at the Daily Irregular:


If white wine goes with fish, do white grapes go with sushi?

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