The Friday Irregular

8 April 2011

Edited by and copyright ©2011 Simon Lamont

The latest edition is always available at
The archives are at


We're taking a week off, so the next issue will be the April 22nd one.


Friday 8 April   -   King John II of France died, 1364. Scientist David Rittenhouse born, 1732. Three British ships captured the Spanish ship Princesa, 1740. The Venus de Milo was discovered on Melos, 1820. Composer Gaetano Donizetti died, 1848. Actress, AMPAS and studio co-founder Mary Pickford born, 1892. The League of Nations met for the last time, 1946. Actress Katee Sackhoff born, 1980. Music manager Malcolm McLaren died, 2010. Draw A Bird Day. Hana Matsuri (Flower Festival), Buddha's Birthday in Japan.
Saturday 9 April   -   Coronation of King Henry V of England, 1413. Italian statesman Lorenzo de' Medici died, 1492. Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel born, 1806. The oldest audible recording of a human voice was made on a phonautograph, 1860. Computer pioneer J. Presper Eckert born, 1919. The Suez Canal opened to shipping, 1957. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright died, 1959. Actress Kristen Stewart born, 1990. Writer Helene Hanff died, 1997. Vimy Ridge Day in Canada.
Sunday 10 April   -   Halley's Comet made its closest approach to Earth, passing at 3.2 million miles, 837. Architect Santino Solari died, 1646. Writer William Hazlitt born, 1778. The first Big Ben bell was cast (it later cracked in testing and the current bell was cast to replace it) 1858. The RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton on her maiden - and final - voyage, 1912. Actor Harry Morgan born, 1915. Original Beatles bass player Stuart Sutcliffe died, 1962. Soprano Hayley Westenra born, 1987. Actor Kevin Peter Hall died, 1991.
Monday 11 April   -   Llewelyn the Great, King of Gwynedd, died, 1240. The Treaty of Utrecht, 1713. Poet Christopher Smart born, 1722. Pianist and conductor Charles Hallé born, 1819. Abolition of the Shogunate in Japan, 1868. Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man", died, 1890. Singer Cerys Matthews born, 1969. Actor/comedian Sir Harry Secombe died, 2001. The crew of a US EP-3E reconnaissance plane detained for ten days after landing in Hainan, PRC, following a collision with a Chinese J-8 fighter plane, were released, 2001.
Tuesday 12 April   -   Statesman and philosopher Seneca the Younger died, 65. The Union Flag was adopted as the flag of Great Britain, 1606. Solar astronomer Edwarf Walter Maunder born, 1851. Confederate forces fired the first shots in the American Civil War, attacking Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, 1861. Writer Beverly Cleary born, 1916. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, 1945. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to visit outer space, 1961. Tennis player Jelena Dokić born, 1983. Singer Boxcar Willie died, 1999. Cosmonautics Day in Russia.
Wednesday 13 April   -   Krum of Bulgaria died, 814. Conspirator Guy Fawkes born, 1570. Author Jean de la Fontaine died, 1695. Handel's Messiah premiered in Dublin, 1742. US President Thomas Jefferson born, 1743. Founding of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1870. Writer Samuel Beckett born, 1906. The CIA started studying mind control with the MKULTRA program, 1953. Television presenter Caron Keating died, 2004.
Thursday 14 April   -   King Edward IV of England resumed the throne after the Battle of Barnet, 1471. Astronomer Christiaan Huygens born, 1629. Composer George Frideric Handel died, 1759. The Donner Party set out from Springfield, Illinois, for California, 1846. Actor Sir John Gielgud born, 1904. The RMS Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40pm; it would sink within hours with the loss of 1,517 passengers and crew, 1912. Artist John Singer Sargent died, 1925. Actress Abigail Breslin born, 1996. Disney animator Ollie Johnston died, 2008.


This week, Yuri Gagarin:
Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it!


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


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

IT'S RAINING... WORMS! Pupils at Galashiels Academy in Scotland had to abandon their soccer game when worms started raining down on them. PE teacher David Crichton told reporters that "We started hearing this wee thudding noise on the ground." before the game was abandoned as pupils ran for cover. He told colleagues, who laughed "until they went out and saw for themselves." About 120 worms were found on the artificial soccer pitch and adjacent tennis courts, and the science department was reportedly at a loss to explain it other than as a freak weather thing.

LUCKY DOG... While Japan continues to be hit by aftershocks, some good news for one canine and her owner. Two-year-old Ban was rescued from a floating rooftop more than a mile off the coast of Japan three weeks after the original earthquake and tsunami, and was reunited with her owner after she was recognised in a TV report. Toshiro Suzuki, head of the animal shelter that had been caring for Ban commented that the dog jumped up and wagged her tail when her owner came to claim her. "We'll never let go of her," the owner - who asked for anonymity - said.

FOOTBALLERS STOPPED BY POLICE... German soccer team Hamburger SV were travelling to a match in their team coach when traffic police ordered it to pull over. Were they speeding? No. The female traffic cop who got on the coach ordered striker Mladen Petric to the front of the coach, and asked him for his autograph because she was a big fan of his, and after he signed her autograph book the coach was allowed to go on to its destination. The team tweeted the incident - and a photograph - after the game.

YOU'RE IN TROUBLE NOW... It probably seemed such a good idea at the time - a 27-year-old Swede and his accomplice sneaked into a bank vault late one Friday afternoon and hid in there over the weekend, emptying 140 safety deposit boxes of cash and jewellery before escaping past surprised bank staff when the vault was reopened on Monday morning. Unfortunately they forgot to take the bottles they had used to urinate in with them, and DNA evidence has led to the Swede being captured and sentenced to 21 months in jail. His accomplice - and the loot - are still at large.

FLUSHED! A toilet-obsessed German has opened a museum dedicated to lavatories. Michael Berger, 69, opened the museum - whose name translates as the Harlekin Toilet Museum of Modern Arse - in Wiesbaden earlier this week, with pride of place given to a urinal featuring Adolf Hitler's face, designed after World War II for germans to show their disapproval of the Nazis.

FOLLOW-UP. The Egyptian cobra we reported on in the last issue, which escaped from the Bronx Zoo and went on a claimed Twitter-reported tour of New York City has been recaptured in a non-public area of the zoo's reptile house.


30 Rock to end after next season. UK Film Council funding responsibility passed to British Film Institute. Lucian Freud's painting Woman Smiling expected to auction for up to UKP4.5m (USD7.35) in June. Charlie Sheen's live stage show bombing. Penelope Cruz gets Walk of Fame star; first Spanish actress to do so. Adele breaks Madonna's UK album chart record with 21's 10th consecutive week at #1; Jennifer Lopez at #1 on singles chart. Biographic play about British steeplejack Fred Dibnah opening in Bolton. Channel 5 takes over UK rights to Big Brother with two-year contract, plans celeb then normal versions later this year; with competitors banned from knowing about the world outside the house we presume they'll get free copies of The Daily Express to wave about (same owner as Channel 5). Uncensored edition of James Jones' book From Here to Eternity to be published digitally. Celia Imrie, Geraldine Somerville, Linus Roach join cast of ITV Titanic drama. Playwright Athol Fugard to receive lifetime Tony Award. Paloma Faith to play Harrogate Summer Festival. Grammy Awards shaking up categories, merging male and female awards, reassigning some minority ones; total awards drop from 109 to 78. Analogue TV signal to be switched off in London on 4 April 2012. New attempt to identify model for the Mona Lisa by examining remains of Florentine noblewoman. Hop tops UK box office ahead of Source Code and Sucker Punch. New Doctor Who season to start with darker tone than usual; season split in two parts between spring and autumn. Kate Bush gets permission to use James Joyce text in song - 20 years after first asking. Andy Serkis given second unit director's job on The Hobbit. Nick Cannon April Fooled NYC radio show by announcing on air that he'd just had a frantic phone call from his partner (singer Mariah Carey) and had to leave the studio - Twitterati listeners exploded with "confirmed" reports that she "must be in labour" with their twins. Obits: drummer Scott Columbus (54), actor Wayne Robson (64), writer Ulli Beier (88).


With the 99th anniverary of the Titanic's sinking, this week's site contains pretty much everything you could want to know about the ship, its crew and passengers, and sinking. It's the Encyclopedia Titanica.


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
3, 11, 20, 35, 40, 49


   Little Jennifer's English teacher was trying to explain to her class how words could change meaning by adding another letter before or after them. She wrote the word 'NEW' on the board, then turned to the class. "Now," she said, "what word would we get if I put a 'k' in front of this one?"

    The children looked thoughtful, then finally Little Jennifer confidently raised her hand. "Please, Miss, I know! It's 'canoe'!"

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