The Friday Irregular

1 July 2011

Edited by and copyright ©2011 Simon Lamont

The latest edition is always available at
The archives are at


Friday 1 July   -   Composer Claudio Saracini born, 1586. The Battle of the Boyne (Julian calendar), 1690. Composer Wilhelm Friedmann Bach died, 1784. Writer George Sand born, 1804. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace's papers on evolution were read to the Linnean Society, 1858. Aviator Louis Blériot born, 1872. Writer and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe died, 1896. Official dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, 1991. Actor Marlon Brando died, 2004. Canada Day.
Saturday 2 July   -   Roman emperor Valentinian III born, 419. Astrologer Nostradamus died, 1566. The Battle of Marston Moor, 1644. 53 rebelling slaves took over the slave ship Amistad, 1839. Alec Douglas-Home, UK Prime Minister, born, 1903. Writer Ernest Hemingway died, 1961. Singer Michelle Branch born, 1983. Actor James Stewart died, 1997. Steve Fossett completed the first global circumnavigation in a balloon, 2002. Palio di Provenzano in Siena.
Sunday 3 July   -   Poet Edward Young born, 1683. πoneering mathematician William Jones died, 1749. George Washington took command of the Continental Army, 1775. The last pair of Great Auks was killed, 1844. Artist Albert Gottschalk born, 1866. Carmaker André Citroën died, 1935. Actress Ludivigne Sagnier born, 1979. The Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland, 1996. Fortean John Keel died, 2009.
Monday 4 July   -   Chinese, Arab and possibly Amerindian astronomers observed a supernova, the remains of which form the Crab Nebula, 1054. Composer William Byrd died, 1623. Surveyor George Everest born, 1790. Writer François-René de Chateaubriand died, 1848. Lewis Carroll told Alice Liddell the story that would become Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, 1862. Cartoonist Rube Goldberg born, 1883. Sign-language gorilla Koko born, 1971. Actress Eva Gabor died, 1995. The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was laid at the site of the World Trade Center, New York City, 2004. Independence Day in the US and dependencies.
Tuesday 5 July   -   Scotland and France formed the "Auld Alliance" against England, 1295. Humanist Crinitus died, 1507. Diplomat and arts patron Francesco Maria Del Monte born, 1549. Publication of Isaac Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687. Actress Sarah Siddons born, 1755. Inventor Nicéphone Niépce died, 1833. Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson born, 1958. Actress Katy Jurado died, 2002. The World Health Organization declared that the SARS near-pandemic had been contained, 2003. Tynwald Day on the Isle of Man.
Wednesday 6 July   -   Coronation of King Richard I "the Lionheart" of England, 1189. Poet Ludovico Ariosto died, 1533. Philosopher Sir Thomas More executed, 1535. Statesman Sir Stamford Raffles born, 1781. Louis Pasteur sucessfully administered his vaccine against rabies, 1885. Artist Frida Kahlo born, 1907. Singer/songwriter Kate Nash born, 1987. The Piper Alpha drilling platform disaster, 1988. Film director John Frankenheimer died, 2002. Birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama among the Tibetan diaspora.
Thursday 7 July   -   Joan of Arc was acquitted of heresy, 25 years after her death, 1456. Pirate Olivier Levasseur died, 1730. Astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi born, 1746. Confectioner Henri Nestlé died, 1890. Fashion designer Pierre Cardin born, 1922. The Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri, sold the first sliced bread, 1928. Figure skater Michelle Kwan born, 1980. The 7/7 bombings in London, 2005. Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett died, 2006. Tanabata in Japan.


This week, Abraham Lincoln:
'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.


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...

THEY'RE OUT THERE... Russian astronomer Andrei Finkelstein told the international symposium "The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence", meeting in St Petersburg this week, that "Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years." According to Finkelstein 10% of known planets outside our Solar System resemble Earth, and with NASA having announced last December the discovery of a bacterium on Earth that is not based on carbon like everything else but on arsenic, and claims in The Journal of Cosmology that evidence of alien microfossils has been found in a meteor, so he believes it is only a matter of a couple of decades within which conclusive evidence of extra-terrestrial life will be found.

MOO POWA! (AGAIN) The normally quiet Peacehaven district of Tredegar in Wales was invaded this week when 20 cattle escaped from their nearby paddock to graze on front lawns and peer into windows. "We are used to having pints of milk delivered to our doorstep but not the whole cow," resident Sonya Gould, 70, said, adding that everyone was now treading cow muck into their carpets as the cattle were all over their garden paths, and that the cattle had eaten flowers planted as a result of fund-raising for communal gardens. The council said they were monitoring the situation and would consider legal action against the farmer if he was unable to keep his cattle under control.

GIVEN THE BIRD... German police have abandoned a plan to replace sniffer dogs with vultures after the three trial birds (named Sherlock, Miss Marple and Columbo) failed to find a single dead body in a field test unless it was laid out right in front of them. Sherlock refused to even fly, spending his time waddling around at the speed of a walking duck, while Miss Marple and Columbo spent almost the entire time fighting. The trials were not widely popular; one commentator said "Everyone knows what vultures do when they find a body and they're not going to be as easy to call off as a Labrador. You could find half the evidence disappearing down their beaks." Project creator Hermann Meyer told reporters this week that the vultures were temporarily no longer available for journalistic access, while an unnamed insider put it a little more succintly - "The project has been a disaster."

BRICKING IT! When Peter Ronchetti, manager of a Legoland theme park in Carlsbad, California, went to drive home he was amazed to discover that his Volvo XC60 had been replaced with a full-size replica built out of 201,076 of the plastic toy bricks. Ronchetti took it in his stride, even pretending to be unlocking the car while park spokeswoman Beth Chee photographed him. Colleague Tim Petsche who dreamed up the idea had purloined Ronchetti's car keys earlier that day and called in a forklift to move the three-tonne model into place. Ronchetti commented "We have a very fun, creative team here at Legoland California and it really was the perfect prank. I can tell you that I won't leave my keys laying around ever again."

MONSTER-IN-LAW... Carolyn Bourne, 60, of Dawlish, Devon in England has been named the mother-in-law from hell after emailing her son Freddie's fiancée a list of complaints about her manners after they stayed with her so Heidi Withers, 29, could meet the family. Complaints included that "You do not declare what you will and will not eat - unless you are positively allergic to something," "You regularly draw attention to yourself. [..] No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity-style behaviour," and "[You are] an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series." Bourne also slammed Withers' wedding plans, suggesting that as "I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding [..] it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes." Bourne concluded that "If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste." Neither Freddie nor his father were willing to comment on the email, but both etiqutte guide Debrett's and a wedding magazine slammed Bourne as out of touch, out of date and impolite. The wedding is due to take place later this year.


News Corp getting closer to taking full control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Anjali Joseph's Saraswati Park wins fourth Desmond Elliott Prize for debut novels. In The City Manchester music convention called off; will return next year. James Cameron named 15th National Geographic explorer-in-residence ahead of expedition to explore the Mariana Trench. Daniel Craig marries Rachel Weisz. Jools Holland to receive Music Industry Trust's award for contribution to music and broadcasting. Amsterdam Van Gogh museum to close for half of next year for renovations. Thousands of papers from playwright Alan Ayckbourn's archive to go online. Victoria Wood stage show based on the formation of a working class children's choir in 1920s to premiere at Manchester International Festival, along with first UK concert in 3 years by Björk. Long-running BBC children's show Blue Peter broadcasts final show from London TV Centre ahead of move to Manchester at end of Summer. John Cleese. Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Terry Jones reunite for 3D animated film based on memoirs of fellow Python Graham Chapman. BBC hands back Royal Television Society award for Panorama documentary found to probably contain faked footage of child textile workers in India. Alan Rickman returning to Broadway in world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Seminar. Man Booker judging panel chairman admits "disagreement" over award to Philip Roth that led to one judge resigning in protest. Exhibition of Dame Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery, art and designer clothing to tour world for 3 months from September. Kevin Spacey praised for portrayal of Richard III at Old Vic, directed by Sam Mendes. Rare Charles Chaplin film reported on in an earlier Irregular fails to sell at auction. Star Wars Galaxies to close later this year. World of Warcraft going free-to-play up to level 20 (about 10-15 hours of gameplay); will still need purchase of base game (around £10, US$16). Google sued in France for allegedly prioritising its own services in search results. Michelle Yeoh barred from entering Burma after playing Aung San Suu Kyi in forthcoming film. BBC broadcasts first of this year's Reith Lectures given by Aung San Suu Kyi. British student Matthew Raymond-Barker who was knocked out of UK X Factor wins French version of show. Only known authenticated tintype photograph of Billy the Kid auctions for US$2.3m (£1.4m). Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket auctions for US$1.8m (£1.1m). US Supreme Court overturns California ban on sale of violent video games to under-18s as contrary to Constitutional free-speech rights. ITV moving Thursday's Coronation Street back to Wednesday from next year. Jarvis Cocker to publish book of lyrics. Cars 2 tops US box office ahead of Bad Teacher and Green Lantern. Katie "Jordan" Price to attempt world-record book-signing session despite not having written a word of her new book, and - if reports of her comments on previous books are true - probably not even having read it. Obits: actress Shelby Grant (74), cryptographer Robert Morris (78), actress Margaret Tyzack (79), actress/model Elaine Stewart (81), actor Peter Falk (83).


He's Misery Bear. "He's the loneliest, saddest and drunkenest bear in the world. Nothing ever goes his way, no-one gives him the time of day, and he's just trying to get through his depressing life in one piece. He drinks too much, hates his job and can't get a girlfriend. This is his website."


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
8, 14, 16, 27, 28, 34


   Little Jennifer's teacher was getting her class to talk about their families. Little Mary had told the class that both of her parents worked all day, and Little Emma had said that she lived with her mother while her father lived with another man across town. The teacher noticed that Little Jennifer was on the point of tears. "What is it, Little Jennifer?" she asked, concerned.

   "Miss, my daddy goes out to work in the morning and comes back late at night, so we can buy food and stuff, while my mummy spends her day taking care of the house, cleaning, cooking and making it nice for us."

   "That sounds like a very happy home, Little Jennifer. What's the problem?"

   "But, Miss! What if they try to escape?!"

...end of line