The Friday Irregular

Issue #332 - 27 April 2012

Edited by and copyright ©2012 Simon Lamont
tfir@simonlamont.co.uk

The latest edition is always available at http://www.gizmo1.demon.co.uk/li/tfir/index.htm
The archives are at http://www.gizmo1.demon.co.uk/tfir/archive/index.htm
(Unless otherwise indicated dollar values are in US dollars)

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^ WORD OF THE WEEK
stunod
  - Crazy, stupid. [From Italian stonato - "out of tune"]


^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Friday 27 April   -   Edward I of England defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar, 1296. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan died, 1521. Historian Edward Gibbon born, 1737. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks premiered in London's Green Park, 1749. Frontiersman Zebulon Pike died, 1813. Cartoonist Walter Lantz born, 1899. Film director Roy Del Ruth died, 1961. Actress Sally Hawkins born, 1976. The last telemetry from the Pioneer 10 space probe was received over 30 years after its launch, 2002.
 
Saturday 28 April   -   Sculptor Michael Brokoff born, 1686. The Mutiny on the Bounty, 1789. Shipping magnate Samuel Cunard died, 1865. Actor Lionel Barrymore born, 1878. Louis Paulhan won the debut London to Manchester air race, England's first long-distance aviation race, 1910. Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini executed, 1945. Writer Terry Pratchett born, 1948. Charles de Gaulle resigned as President of France, 1969. Artist Francis Bacon died, 1992.
 
Sunday 29 April   -   Joan of Arc arrived at Orleans to break the siege, 1429. Poet John Cleveland died, 1658. James Cook arrived at, and named, Botany Bay, Australia, 1770. Scientist John Michell died, 1793. Tsar Alexander II of Russia born, 1818. Mathematician Henri Poincaré born, 1854. Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing title the day after refusing induction into the U.S. Army on religious grounds, 1967. Actress Uma Thurman born, 1970. Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock died, 1980. International Dance Day.
 
Monday 30 April   -   Poet Lucan died, 65. Christopher Columbus received his commission of exploration from Spain, 1492. Queen Mary II of England born, 1662. George Washington took the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States, 1789. John Montagu, claimed inventor of the sandwich, died, 1792. Foundling Kaspar Hauser born, 1812. Meteorologist Robert FitzRoy died, 1865. Actress Kirsten Dunst born, 1982. CERN announced that the World Wide Web protocols would be free, 1993.
 
Tuesday 1 May   -   Eastern Roman emperor Arcadius died, 408. The Act of Union joining the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, took effect, 1707. Statesman Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, born, 1769. Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in London, 1851. Frontierswoman Calamity Jane born, 1852. Composer Antonín Dvořák died, 1904. Francis Gary Powers' U-2 spyplane was shot down over the Soviet Union, 1960. Actress Julie Benz born, 1972. Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna died after a crash on the Imola circuit, 1994. International Workers' Day. International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day. May Day in various countries.
 
Wednesday 2 May   -   Portsmouth received its first Royal Charter, from King Richard I of England, 1194. Leonardo da Vinci died, 1519. Mary, Queen of Scots escaped from Loch Leven Castle, 1568. Historian Alesandro Scarlatti born, 1660. Naturalist and wife of Charles Darwin Emma Wedgwood born, 1808. Artist Mary Moser died, 1819. The British submarine HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano in controversial circumstances during the Falklands War, 1982. Singer/songwriter Lily Allen born, 1985. British TV producer John Nathan-Turner died, 2002.
 
Thursday 3 May   -   Political author Niccolò Machiavelli born, 1469. Playwright William Shakespeare died [Accepted date in the Gregorian calender; April 23 in the Julian Calender], 1616. Incorporation of Washington D.C., 1802. Theatrical impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte born, 1844. Composer Adolphe Charles Adam died, 1856. Lt Colonel John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields, 1915. Broadcaster Sandi Toksvig born, 1958. British politician Barbara Castle died, 2002. The Old Man of the Mountain cliff formation in New Hampshire collapsed, 2003. World Press Freedom Day.

^ THE WISDOM OF...

This week, John McCrae, from In Flanders Fields (viz. Thursday, above, for a link to the full text):
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

^ FILM QUIZ

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

^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS

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

ON YER BIKE! A Romanian traffic officer pulled over a motorcyclist - and their naked female pillion passenger this week, then proceeded to give the passenger a ticket and a warning that she was not wearing a crash helmet. She put a helmet on and the officer allowed them to drive on, with her still otherwise naked - much to the disbelief of other motorists.

FOAMY! Residents of the English coastal town of Seaton, Devon, woke up one morning this week to find a thick blanket of sea foam covering the whole beach front. A combination of winds, heavy rain and choppy waters are thought to have caused the foam to form, at places as thick as waist-deep.

WHICH CAME FIRST? A hen in Sri Lanka has given birth to a live chick without an egg. It is believed that the egg formed normally inside the chicken, but was not laid, and was incubated inside the bird for 21 days, after which it hatched and the chick was born. Although the parent hen died - believed to have been from injuries sustained - the chick is fully formed and healthy. A government vet told reporters that he had never seen anything like the live chick birth before, while Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror newspaper concluded "The chicken came first; not the egg."

D'YA FOLLOW? Strathclyde Police have been forced to apologise to a motorist who was followed by a car for seven miles before phoning the emergency services to report the suspicious vehicle only for the operator to call him back a few minutes later to tell him that it was an unmarked police car. A police spokesman admitted that the plain clothes officers had acted outside of guidelines but defended them for acting to "keep people safe" after noticing the driver behaving erratically.

FAT CAT (AND NOT A BANKER). Meow is a 2-year-old orange and white tabby cat in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who tips the scales at almost 40lb (18.1kg). When his 87-year-old owner could no longer care for him he was taken in by an animal shelter and has been placed with a foster family who are supervising a special diet for him, the intention being for the hefty cat to shed at least 10lb (4.5kg) so he can be put up for adoption by the shelter. "He's very sweet. He's doing everything a normal cat would do except he loses his breath and tires easily," spokeman Ben Swan said. Meow is not the heaviest known cat - that was Himmy, a near-47lb (21.3kg) Australian tabby.

IN BRIEF. Baked Beans spillage blocks M11 motorway. Sonar image on Loch Ness claimed to show Nessie. Rubber Chicken blasted into space. Scottish scientists build sonic screwdriver. Woman arrested after shop dummy entered as candidate for Aberdeen council election. Perthshire village called Dull wants to forge links with Oregon town called Boring. Dog is best man at wedding. Windsor, Ontario, "hum" traced to industrial site on island.

^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS

Cheryl Cole hints at Girls Aloud reunion for tenth anniversary in November. Rich Ross resigns as head of Disney film studio in wake of John Carter flop. Nintendo reports first annual loss after slump in Wii sales and selling of 3DS below cost to compete with rivals. Oxford scholars claim a textual analysis of Shakespeare's As You Like It suggests Thomas Middleton as a co-author. Frozen Planet, Celebrity Juice, Educating Essex, Fresh Meat, Sherlock and The Great British Bake Off in competition for Bafta Audience Award. Ken Loach, David Cronenberg, Michael Hanake in contention for Palme d'Or at next month's Cannes Film Festival. BBC Proms to include Wallace and Gromit. Stage version of The King's Speech to close after less than two months; producer admits that it came too soon after the film; to be replaced at Wyndham's Theatre by production of Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party. Ann Widdecombe makes non-singing cameo in Donizetti's La Fille Du Regiment at Royal Opera House. Alabama Shakes get #1 spot on debut UK Official Record Store Chart. Leonardo da Vinci's human anatomy drawings to go on display at the Queen's Gallery in London next month. Adele holds on to UK #1 album spot with 21, ahead of Jason Mraz. Think Like a Man tops US box office ahead of The Lucky Man and The Hunger Games. BBC cancels updated Upstairs, Downstairs after two seasons. Global Shakespeare festival opens at Globe Theatre, London; all 37 plays will be performed, each in a different language, at the Globe, with other productions around the UK. Appropriate Adult leads Bafta TV nominations ahead of Sherlock and This Is England '88. Sharon Osbourne to voice Captain Hook's mother in Disney Junior's Mama Hook Knows Best. Peter Jackson shows ten minutes of The Hobbit at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, some attendees describe it as looking like low-budget TV and a failure in digital technology with a poor contrast ratio. Darcey Bussell replacing Alesha Dixon as judge on Strictly Come Dancing. ABC asks audience for help in naming US adaptation of Only Fools and Horses; one respondent suggests Cancelled After Five Episodes. British Library to publish letters between Ted Hughes and critic Keith Sagar. Battleship retains UK box office #1 spot ahead of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Ewan McGregor, Jean Paul Gaultier, Diane Kruger among Cannes' jury members. Disney confirms sequel to The Muppets. Robert Redford slams David Cameron for suggesting that British film-makers should focus on commercial viability ahead of artistic merit. Lindsay Lohan to play Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime biopic. Dolby to premiere new Atmos audio format with Pixar's Brave in selected US cinemas. First new West End theatre in over 30 years to be built on site of former pickle factory on Oxford Street. Sinead O'Connor forced to axe tour due to illness. Obits: Men at Work flautist Greg Ham (58), musician Levon Helm (71), author Doris Betts (79), TV host Dick Clark (82), actor Jonathan Frid (87), guitarist Bert Weedon (91), artist Louis le Brocquy (95).

^ WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

Titanic. One of the most over-rated films in history and now in equally over-rated 3D. Here's the Honest Movie Trailer (The Twilight and Phantom Menace 3D ones are rather good too...)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6mMvBeEPT4

^ THE AMAZING NOT-QUITE-RANDOM LOTTERY PREDICTOR!

Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
8, 10, 11, 32, 33, 41

^ AND FINALLY...

   Little Jennifer wandered into the kitchen one day looking thoughtful. "What is it, Little Jennifer?" her mother asked.

   "Mummy, you were there when I cut my finger on that knife and gave me that sticky bandage weren't you?"

   "Why, yes, Little Jennifer, of course."

   "And you were there when I fell off the slide in the park and you took me to the hospital for an X-ray?"

   "Indeed I was."

   "And last month you were there when I had to miss school with the 'flu?"

   "I sure was - I put you to bed for the day."

   "Mummy?"

   "Yes, Little Jennifer?"

   "I'm beginning to think that you're bad luck!"


^ ...end of line