The Friday Irregular

3 December 2010

Edited by and copyright ©2010 Simon Lamont

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Friday 3 December   -   Violin maker Nicolò Amati born, 1596. The Battle of Hohenlinden, effectively ending the War of the Second Coalition, 1800. Composer Anton Webern born, 1883. Lens maker Carl Zeiss died, 1888. Georges Claude demonstrated modern neon lighting at the Paris Motor Show, 1910. Artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir died, 1919. Film director Jean-Luc Goddard born, 1930. The Bhopal Disaster, 1984. Actor Richard Todd died, 2009. International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Saturday 4 December   -   Charlemagne acceeded to the Frankish throne, 771. Mathematician Rheticus died, 1576. Publication of the first issue of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, 1791. Historian Thomas Carlyle born, 1795. Journalist Charles Dow died, 1902. Actor Jimmy Jewel born, 1909. Geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan died, 1945. Rapper Jay-Z born, 1969. The last scheduled Pan Am flight flew, 1991. Navy Day in India and Italy.
Sunday 5 December   -   Pope Innocent VIII issued the Summis desiderantes papal bull, leading to oppressive witch hunting in Germany, 1484. Composer Henry Lawes born, 1595. Henry Knox started transporting artillery from Fort Ticonderoga to Cambridge, MA, 1775. Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died, 1791. Poet Christina Rossetti born, 1830. Artist Claude Monet died, 1926. Ski-jumper Eddie "the Eagle" Edwards born, 1963. The Civil Partnership Act came into effect in the UK, 2005. Actress Nina Foch died, 2008. Day of the Ninja.
Monday 6 December   -   King Alfonso I of Portugal died, 1185. Historian Claude Fleury born, 1640. First publication of the Encyclopædia Britannica, 1768. Car maker Fred Duessenberg born, 1876. Thomas Edison made the first recording of a human voice, 1877. Writer Anthony Trollope died, 1882. Lyricist Ira Gershwin born, 1896. Musician Leadbelly died, 1949. NASA released photographic evidence from the Mars Global Surveyor of liquid water on the red planet, 2006. Constitution Day in Spain.
Tuesday 7 December   -   Cicero assassinated, 43 BC. Astronomer Abd Al-Rahman Al Sufi born, 903. Poet John Oldham died, 1683. The Royal Opera House in London opened, 1732. Max Planck discovered the law of black body emission, 1900. Actor Eli Wallach born, 1915. Cartoonist Rube Goldberg died, 1970. Actress Jennifer Carpenter born, 1979. The Recording Industry Association of America filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Napster, 1999. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in the USA.
Wednesday 8 December   -   Mary, Queen of Scots born, 1542. Poet John Davies died, 1626. Margaret Hughes became the first actress to appear on a public stage in England, 1660. Madame du Barry, last royal mistress of France, guillotined, 1793. Filmmaker Georges Méliès born, 1861. The Republic of China and the USA declared war on Japan, 1941. Singer Jim Morrison born, 1943. A plebiscite called for the abolition of the Greek monarchy, 1974. Musician John Lennon assassinated, 1980. Constitution Day in Romania and Uzbekistan.
Thursday 9 December   -   Poet John Milton born, 1608. Artist Anthony van Dyck died, 1641. Noah Webster established New York City's first daily newspaper, the American Minerva, 1793. Frozen food manufacturer Clarence Birdseye born, 1886. The French goverment passed a law separating church and state, 1905. Actress Dame Judi Dench born, 1934. Poet Dame Edith Sitwell died, 1964. The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, 1979. Actor Gene Barry died, 2009. International Anti-Corruption Day.


This week, Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Ode to the West Wind:
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


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...

FIRST THERE WAS GOTH BARBIE, NOW THERE'S GAY BARBIE! Matell, makers of Barbie dolls, are suing Argentine artists Breno Costa and Guilherme Souza after they created a calender showing Barbie nude and in lesbian poses with another Barbie doll. Costa and Souza claim that their calendar is a statement on the use of sex to sell everything in society, and was made with the co-operation of Mattel, but the toy maker claims that "We have nothing to do with these pictures. We don't want Barbie portrayed in this way, especially with our logo. We will be taking legal action [...]"

SPUD-HE-LIKE! Chris Voigt, head of the Washington State Potato Commission, claims to have eaten nothing but potatoes for two months, in protest at authorities reducing the servings of potatoes in school lunch menus. Voigt says he has lost a stone and a half in weight, reduced his cholesterol level by more than a third, and cut his blood sugar level. For Thanksgiving, he carved a potato into the shape of a turkey. Overall he ate 400lbs of spuds, about 20 a day, and celebrated the end of his diet with fajitas and tacos ... and some grilled potato.

GOIN' BANANAS! The Toyoka Chuo Seika fruit company in Japan believes it has found a non-invasive way to sweeten its imported bananas. It plays classical music non-stop in its ripening chamber. They experimented with jazz and various composers, but found Mozart worked the best. Other Japanese companies have reported beneficial results from playing classical music to noodles, sake and even soy sauce.

IT WAS MOIDER! In an earlier issue we reported on the bank robbers who surrendered after running into police on the street down from their target only to find that they were on a TV location set full of actors. It's not only the crims who fall for this, it seems. Firefighters called to a hotel in Pittsburgh on another incident discovered a murder scene, a room drenched with blood, full of bottles of alchohol and with a piece of human scalp with hair still attached. Police were called, and opened an investigation into "the most grisly murder scene" one officer said he'd ever seen. Eight hours later they discovered that it was a left-over set from straight-to-DVD movie, New Terminal Hotel, and had been left as it was in case it was needed for re-shoots.

IT MUST BE DECEMBER... A public aquarium in Kamakura, south of Tokyo, Japan, has putup its Christmas decorations - including a Santa robot that sings and dances as visitors stomp on a pad and, for the fifth year, a 2-meter-tall white tree with flashing lights powered by an electric eel. Two aluminium panels suspended in the water get enough electricity from the eel's movements to power the tree lights. Both are done to highlight ecological awareness, but visitors, while fascinated, generally don't see the practicalities of keeping an electric eel at home just to power decorations.


Enimen gets ten Grammy nominations. Joe Jackson refiles wrongful death claim against son Michael's doctor. Film in the works about the making of The Clash's London Calling album. Wig worn by John Wayne in El Dorado to be auctioned in US, expected to fetch up to US$1500 (approx. £1000). Foo Fighters to headline next year's T in the Park. BBC, journalists reach provisional agreement in pensions dispute. Spider-Man stage show hit by technical problems, leaves actors dangling in mid-air. Winter's Bone takes 7 nominations at Spirit awards. Johnny Depp tells Vanity Fair that then head of Disney Michel Eisner thought his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow was ruining the first Pirates of the Caribbean film; Eisner originally wanted Hugh Jackman for the role. British children's TV legend Brian Cant picks up special Children's Bafta TV award, gets two standing ovations. Stolen Degas painting turns up at auction in New York; will be returned to French government. Katie Holmes, al Pacino, Pierce Brosnan to headline Sundance Film Festival. Frank Sinatra refused permission for his version of My Way to be used in Goodfellas ... because he didn't want to be linked to the Mafia. Elton John renews criticism of "talent" TV shows. Shows cancelled by snow include Jamie Cullum (gig in France) and Paul Weller (in Newcastle). Geri Halliwell to attempt solo career relaunch. Hey Jude is most-downloaded Beatles track on iTunes. Obits: TV producer Gavin Blyth (41), actor Leslie Nielsen (84), film director Irvin Kirschner (87), cinematographer Gene Polito (92), soprano Helen Boatwright (94), film director Mario Monicello (95), composer John Gerrish (100).


If you ever want to receive an extraditious compliment but there are no surrealists around, fear not! The Surrealist Compliment Generator is at hand! Yes, "Your nose hair is pleasingly twisted with the roots of a bristlecone pine that is so precariously perched on the side of a cliff it may easily uproot and fall upon the Republican lobbyists below." (May not be suitable for children).


Madame Jennifer, our in-house psychic predicts the following numbers will be lucky:
7, 17, 21, 27, 41, 46


   The ease with which a child acquires the ability to repeat a word in polite company increases with that word's likelihood to embarass sailors...

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