The Friday Irregular

5 November 2010

Edited by and copyright ©2010 Simon Lamont

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Friday 5 November   -   Meistersinger and writer Hans Sachs born, 1494. Artist Mariotto Albertinelli died, 1515. The Gunpowder Plot to blow up the English Houses of Parliament was thwarted, 1605. Slave leader Nat Turner was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in Virginia, 1831. Writer Ella Wheeler Wilcox born, 1850. Physicist James Clerk Maxwell died, 1879. Actress/model Famke Janssen born, 1965. Bee Gee Robin Gibb survived the Hither Green rail crash; 49 people didn't, 1967. Entrepreneur Robert Maxwell died, 1991. Guy Fawkes Night in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador.
Saturday 6 November   -   Composer Antoine Busnois died, 1492. Poet Louis Racine born, 1692. In the first official intercollegiate American football game, Rutgers defeated Princeton, 1869. Actor/filmmaker Thomas Ince born, 1882. Composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky died, 1893. Edwin Armstrong presented A Method of Reducing Disturbances in Radio Signaling by a System of Frequency Modulation to the Institute of Radio Engineers, heralding FM radio broadcasting, 1935. First flight of the Hawker Hurricane fighter, 1935. Actor Nigel Havers born, 1949. Engineer/steeplejack/broadcaster Fred Dibnah died, 2004. Constitution Day in the Dominican Republic (1884), Tajikistan (1994) and Tatarstan (1992).
Sunday 7 November   -   The oldest meteorite with a known impact date hit the earth outside Ensisheim, France, 1492. Inventor Cornelius Jacobszoon Drebbel died, 1633. Archaeologist William Stukeley born, 1687. Physicist/cemist Marie Curie born, 1867. The Mary Celeste sailed from New York; she would later be found deserted, 1872. Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace died, 1913. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock born, 1970. NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor, 1996. Actor Howard Keel died, 2004.
Monday 8 November   -   Oxford University's Bodleian Library opened to the public, 1602. Fugitive Gunpowder Plot leader Robert Catesby shot dead, 1605. Astronomer Edmond Halley born, 1656. Poet John Milton died, 1674. Game manufacturer Milton Bradley born, 1836. Start of the attempted Beer Hall Putsch, 1923. Comedian Ken Dodd born, 1927. The death penalty for convicted murderers was formally abolished in the United Kingdom, 1965. Film composer Basil Poledouris died, 2006.
Tuesday 9 November   -   The pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sighted land (Cape Cod), 1620. Hortense Mancini, mistress of Charles II of England, died, 1699. Writer Émile Goboriau born, 1832. Jack the Ripper killed his last known victim, Mary Jane Kelly, 1888. Actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr born, 1914. Poet and author Dylan Thomas died, 1953. Television presenter Jill Dando born, 1961. In Bosnia Stari most, Mostar's "old bridge", built in 1566, collapsed after several days of bombing, 1993. Soccer player Emlyn Hughes died, 2004.
Wednesday 10 November   -   The Netherlands ceded the New Netherlands territories (including New Amsterdam, now New York City) to England, 1674. Artist William Hogarth born, 1697. Shawnee chief Cornstalk died, 1777. George Jennings, inventor of the public toilet, born, 1810. Henry Morton Stanley located missing explorer Dr David Livingstone, allegedly greeting him with "Dr Livingstone, I presume?", 1871. Poet Arthur Rimbaud died, 1891. Actress Vanessa Angel born, 1966. Sesame Street debuted on American TV, 1969. Actor Jack Palance died, 2006.
Thursday 11 November   -   Doctor Paracelsus born, 1493. Gottfried Leibniz first demonstrated integral calculus, 1675. Novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky born, 1821. Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard died, 1855. Washington was admitted as the 42nd US state, 1889. Novelist Kurt Vonnegut born, 1922. Composer Jerome Kern died, 1945. The Church of England's General Synod voted to allow women to be ordained as priests, 1992. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died, 2004. Remembrance Day/Armistice Day/Veterans Day.


This week, the caption to a photograph of Russian Spetsnaz soldiers in Chechnya published in Pravda, author unknown:
War has neither black nor white side to it. It can only have one color - that of blood.


A mixed bag of quotations. Answers next week or from the regular address. Last issue's quotations were:


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

FACEBOOKED! Robert Lewis Crose absconded from parole in California in 1998 and authorities had no idea where he was ... until he complained on his Facebook page that his "water line froze even with heat tape and wrap" and one of his "friends" asked him where he was, to which he answered "Cut Bank". Police descended on the small Montana town just south of the Canadian border where he had spent the last ten years doing farm work.

GATSO! Fed up with speed cameras? The latest UK incarnation comprises several devices, including 3D cameras to detect drivers up to 150' away and which can also tell if they're wearing a seat belt or not, or tailgating, an infra-red camera to monitor conditions and a number recognition camera which is interfaced (via radio to the nearest police station) with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to check that road tax and insurance are up to date. Given that static cameras are often vandalised this multi-camera unit is mobile, sitting on top of a generator that can power it for up to 8 hours.

UNHAPPY MEALS! San Francisco has passed a law that requires fast food outlets giving away free toys to meet certain nutritional standards in the relevant meals. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest objectors was McDonald's Corp, who will have to ensure that its Happy Meals for children have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables and include drinks without excess fat or sugar if it wants to continue offering toys with them. The ordinance passed by a vote of 8-3, cannot be vetoed, and will come into effect on December 1.

BOUNCING BABY! A 15-month-old baby girl who fell off a seventh floor apartment balcony in Paris bounced off the awning of the ground-floor café and into the arms of a rugby-playing doctor whose son had alerted him. The baby was taken to hospital but had suffered no serious injuries; its parents were absent and have been arrested and charged with neglect. The café owner commented that the awning would usually have been closed as the café was shut for a public holiday but the mechanism had jammed the day before.

COUNTDOWN! The long-running TV teatime words and maths game show Countdown (first broadcast 2 November 1982), in which contestants have to find the longest word formed from up to 9 randomly-selected letters in 30 seconds had to reshoot part of one show after eighteen-year-old Cambridge maths student used the letters DTCEIASHF to spell out 'SH*TFACE'. Resident lexicographer Susie Dent confirmed that it was valid, but broadcaster Channel 4 ordered them to replay the round with new letters. Bizarrely, if he's used the 'D' as well, he would have had a rare 9-letter word. Several series ago both Countdown contestants produced 'W*NKERS' with their letters, and on occasion the randomly selected letters have spelt out obscenities as they were picked.


MGM creditors back bankruptcy deal with Spyglass. Take That reunion gigs sell out within 24 hours despite extra 10 dates being added. Cheryl Cole tops UK singles chart ahead of Rihanna. Kings of Leon retain top album spot. Saw 3D tops US box office ahead of Paranormal Activity 2 and Red. New Zealand parliament amends labour laws to keep Hobbit films in the country. BBC journalists to start first 48-hour strike tonight; corporation also broadcasts apology over Band Aid fund reports. Rolling Stones planning 2011 tour. Hammer Horror returns with Let Me In. Modigliani nude auctions for over $70m in New York. Coronation Street's Barbara Know and Eileen Derbyshire collect MBEs for services to acting. Online reader numbers for The Times and The Sunday Times plummet after switch to paywall. Ricky Tomlinson give £1m to Liverpool Alder Hey Hospital family accomodation charity. Christine Bleakley admits Daybreak has 'teething problems' as audience collapses to 1/3 that of rival BBC Breakfast. ITV chief executive says network plays to lowest common denominator to get advertising revenue. Hugh Laurie, James McAvoy , Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy providing voices for next Aardman Animations feature Arthur Christmas. Doctors tell Aretha Franklin to cancel next 6 months' shows. 70s teen idol David Cassidy charged with DUI in Florida. James Nesbitt cast as Bofur in The Hobbit. Obits: Broadway composer Jerry Bock (81), conductor Rudolf Barshai (86).


Another musical site this week - In Bb is a collaborative performance under your control; it takes 20 YouTube videos of assorted instruments playing 'floaty' pieces in the key of Bb major and lets you start and stop individual videos as you wish to change the soundscape.


Madame Jennifer, our in-house psychic predicts the following numbers will be lucky:
6, 11, 14, 25, 39, 41


   It was Little Jennifer's first science lesson, and her teacher, Miss Adams was explaining about magnetics and showing how magnets can pick up small pieces of metal. At the end of the lesson she gave a recap and asked her class, "Now, my name begins with an 'M' and I pick things up. Who can tell me what I am?"

   Little Jennifer's hand shot into the air. "Miss! Miss! I know! You're a *mother*!"

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