Issue #335 - 18 May 2012
|^ WORD OF THE WEEK
^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Friday 18 May - Poet Omar Khayyám born, 1048. Marriage of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, 1152. Printmaker Stefano della Bella born, 1610. Antiquarian Elias Ashmole died, 1692. Great Britain declared war on France, starting The Seven Years' War, 1756. Inventor Elijah Craig died, 1808. Actress/singer Toyah Willcox born, 1958. Mount St Helens erupted [viz. Tuesday, below], 1980. Musician Ian Curtis died, 1980. World AIDS Vaccine Day. Saturday 19 May - Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII of England, beheaded, 1536. Queen Elizabeth I of England ordered the arrest of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1568. Mineralogist Arthur Aikin born, 1773. A combination of forest fire smoke, fog and cloud cover led to New England's Dark Day, 1780. Opera singer Dame Nellie Melba born, 1861. Writer Nathaniel Hawthorne died, 1864. Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday to US President John F. Kennedy at a salute in Madison Square Garden, New York City, 1962. Actor Eric Lloyd born, 1986. Percussionist James Blades died, 1999. Sunday 20 May - Explorer Christopher Columbus died, 1506. Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas, 1570. Sculptor and architect Andreas Schlüter born, 1660. Naturalist Charles Bonnet died, 1793. North Carolina seceded from the Union in the American Civil War, 1861. Author Sigrid Undset born, 1882. The first prisoners arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp, 1940. Singer/actress Cher born, 1946. Actor Jon Pertwee died, 1996. World Metrology Day. Monday 21 May - Artist Albrecht Dürer born, 1471. João da Nova discovered the island of Saint Helena, 1502. Physicist Otto von Guericke died, 1686. Poet Alexander Pope born, 1688. Poet Christopher Smart died, 1771. Queen Victoria opened the Manchester Ship Canal, 1894. Actor Mr T born, 1952. Aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland died, 1965. Enactment of the Taubira law in France, officially recognising the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity, 2001. Tuesday 22 May - The Hashshashin attempted to murder Saladin, 1176. Historian Francesco Guicciardini died, 1540. Explorer Marc-Joseph Marion de Fresne born, 1724. Former US Vice President Aaron Burr was indicted on a charge of treason, 1807. Writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle born, 1859. Author Victor Hugo died, 1885. Lassen Peak in California erupted. It was one of only two volcanic eruptions in the continental USA in the twentieth century [viz. Friday, above], 1915. Actress Maggie Q born, 1979. Actor Richard Biggs died, 2004. Wednesday 23 May - The Burgundians captured Joan of Arc during the Siege of Compiègne, 1430. William "Captain" Kidd hanged for piracy, 1701. Anatomist William Hunter born, 1718. Cyrill Demian was granted the patent for the accordion, 1829. Pioneer aviator Otto Lilienthal born, 1848. Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow gunned down, 1934. Singer Jewel born, 1974. Hacker Karl "hagbard" Koch committed suicide (presumed; assumed date), 1989. The release of the first version of the Java programming language, 1995. World Turtle Day. Thursday 24 May - Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus died, 1543. First appearance of Leiden University Library's Nomenclatur, the first printed catalogue of an institutional library, 1595. French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat born, 1743. John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll, died, 1806. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom born, 1819. Publication of Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale, 1830. Drilling started on the Kola Superdeep Borehole, 1970. Actress Kym Valentine born, 1977. Ventriloquist Ray Alan died, 2010.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, Barbara Cartland:The reason why Englishmen are the best husbands in the world is because they want to be faithful. A Frenchman or an Italian will wake up in the morning and wonder what girl he will meet. An Englishman wakes up and wonders what the cricket score is.
^ FILM QUIZ
A mixed bag of quotations. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were:
- People have an innate desire for conflict. So what you are fighting is not me, but rather mankind. War, on an industrial scale, is inevitable. I'm just supplying the bullets and bandages.
- Better clench up, Legolas.
- Now go to France. The queen of France is sophisticated. Be useful to her, amuse her. She'll admire your spirit. Learn from her. Observe the ladies of the court. See how they achieve what they want from their men, not by stamping their little feet but by allowing the men to believe that they, indeed, are in charge. That is the art of being a woman.
- It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses, and apologized to no one.
- Baa-ram-ewe. Baa-ram-ewe. To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true. Sheep be true. Baa-ram-ewe.
- We'll be alright, Joey. We're the lucky ones, you and me. Lucky since the day I met you.
-- War Horse 
- I breathe your name on every exhalation.
-- Synecdoche, New York 
- It's over. I will always speak to you, and I don't mind if you don't say anything. Just because you went away, it doesn't mean you're not here anymore. Perhaps all I ever needed was this gift, the one you gave to me at the end.
-- Womb 
- - You will end up childless and alone.
- Well, fingers crossed, yeah.
-- About a Boy 
- The man who wants nothing is invincible, cabron.
-- Once Upon a Time in Mexico 
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
SPLASH! When 66-year-old Tommy Mollo of Yonkers, NY, fell off the back of a friend's boat at New Rochelle marina he managed to pull himself out and went home, where he told his wife he wasn't feeling well, so she called an ambulance. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead - of drowning. Secondary drowning, where someone almost drowns, inhaling water into their lungs but doesn't die until up to 48 hours afterwards is not unheard of, but what is rare is that Mollo managed to pull himself out of the water without help.
STIFF! When 28-year-old Hamdi Hafez al-Nubi suffered a heart attack while working as a waiter he was declared dead by hospital staff and his family took his body home, washed it and prepared it for burial according to Islamic custom. A doctor sent to sign the death certificate before the deceased would be allowed to be buried noticed that his body was still warm, and upon closer inspection, that he was, in fact, still alive. His mother fainted at the news but the doctor was able to fully revive both of them and the funeral turned into a celebration.
FISHY! A Chinese fisherman has landed a 617kg (1,360lb) Kaluga sturgeon in the Heilongjiang River, northeast China. The Kaluga is critically endangered, having been fished almost to extinction for its roe, but this specimen, thought to be female and carrying over a million eggs will have its roe used for artifical insemination at a local sturgeon breeding station to help repopulate the river. Meanwhile a trawler off Scotland has caught what could be the biggest oyster ever landed in the UK, and at 201mm (7.9") across is over 20mm (8/10") wider than the previous record holder.
QUACKERS! A family of ducks were trying to cross a busy road in Texas when a squad of police officers saw them. The officers stopped the traffic and escorted the group across the road, one of them even trying to carry one slow duckling. The incident was captured on video and has become something of a hit on YouTube (see the video).
TEXT! The town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, is fed up with pedestrians being hit by cars because they weren't looking where they were going, and has banned texting on mobile phones while walking. While there's not law defining dangerous walking as there is for dangerous driving, Police Chief Thomas Ripoli told reporters that officers would know it when they see it, and would not act against people just walking along the sidewalk, but only if there was a direct safety risk, slapping the texting pedestrian with an $85 (£53) fine.
IN BRIEF.Robber holds up newsagent while armed with a cup of coffee. Crows can recognise familiar human voices. New Mayan calendar discovered; world won't end in 2012. Icelandic MP moves stone believed inhabited by elves; Elf School principal warns of impending accident. Doctors investigating link between social media and hysteria. Miami zoo orang-utans using iPads. Almost-intact crashed WW2 fighter found in Egyptian desert. UK town of Sandwich celebrating 250th anniversary of creation of the sandwich. Penguin escapes from Tokyo Sea Life park, seen swimming in bay, apparently well-fed and happy. Italian voted in as mayor after standing at request of otherwise sole candidate who wanted a fairer election.
^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS
US networks cancel Charlie's Angels, Pan Am, CSI: Miami, Alcatraz, Ringer, Free Agents, Are You There Chelsea, Prime Suspect, The Finder; renew Dancing With the Stars, Modern Family, Grey's Anatomy, Blue Bloods, The Big Bang Theory, 90210, America's Next Top Model, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Glee, 30 Rock (for a shortened final series), The X Factor. Fox confirms Britney Spears, Demi Lovato replacing Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger as The X Factor (US) judges. Diablo III launches, hit by bug, launch impacts other battle.net titles World of Warcraft, Starcraft II as login servers swamped. Emma Thompson writing updated musical Annie as vehicle for Willow Smith. Dermot O'Leary returning to host The X Factor (UK). Melbourne builder drills pipe hole through middle of Banksy's 'parachuting rat' graffiti. Roy Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl sets auction record for the artist's work at $44.9m (£27.8m). Seven Beastie Boys albums in US top 200 in wake of Adam Yauch's death last week. Lord Lloyd-Webber, Jessie J to receive Silver Clef awards. Britain's Got Talent apparently won by dancing dog. Ashton Kutcher returning for Two and Half Men's tenth season. Keane top UK album chart outselling #2 Emeli Sande by 2-1. The Avengers holds US box office #1; first film in Hollywood history to take over $100m (£62m) in second week. Steven Moffat takes writing Bafta Craft Award for "A Scandal in Belgravia" episode of Sherlock. BFI launches five-year £285m ($459m) plan for UK film industry. Julianne Moore, Chloe Grace Moretz to headline Carrie remake. BBC 6 Music named UK Station of the Year at Sony Radio awards. Carly Rae Jepson tops first UK music streaming chart. Alan Rickman to headline film about New York's CBGB club. Channel 4 files £42.3m ($68.1m) loss for 2011 across Channel 4, More 4, Film 4, E4 channels. Coronation Street stage musical put on hold for reworking after two performances. BBC confirm children's programming to leave BBC1, BBC2 for sole airing on CBBC, CBeebies once UK digital switchover complete. Aaron Sorkin writing Steve Jobs biopic. Marvel Avengers Assemble retains UK box office #1 spot ahead of American Pie: Reunion and Dark Shadows. Three of four founding members of The Wiggles leaving. Adele wins two Ivor Novello awards. Video game sales fell 42% year-on-year in US this April; blamed on early Easter and light release schedule. The Pirate Bay hit by DDOS attack. Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, others, charged with perverting the course of justice over phone hacking scandal, Brooks still facing two other possible charges. Edward Lear honoured with green plaque in London on 200th anniversary of birth. Gethin Jones to join Daybreak. Indonesian police refuse permit for Lady Gaga concert on security grounds after Islamist threats over perceived obscenity. Obits: singer Donna Summer (63), Booker T bassist Donald Dunn (70), musician Chuck Brown (75), musician Doug Dillard (75), author Carlos Fuentes (83), artist George Wyllie (90), comics artist Eddy Paape (91).
^ WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
Pop-up error messages and alerts are pretty depressing in themselves, but this week's site is a collection of the worst. It's Screenshots of Despair.http://screenshotsofdespair.tumblr.com/
^ THE AMAZING NOT-QUITE-RANDOM LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:3, 8, 16, 23, 34, 40
^ AND FINALLY...
Little Jennifer and her parents were at a wedding. During the service Little Jennifer pulled on her mother's arm. "Mummy, I don't feel well."
"Hush, Little Jennifer."
A few minutes later, "Mummy, I think I'm going to throw up."
"Alright, Little Jennifer. I saw a toilet door just inside the church porch. While this hymn's being sung, you quickly go there, OK?"
Little Jennifer rushed off, and returned a few minutes later. "Well," her mother asked, "Did you have to throw up?"
"Yes, Mummy, but I didn't get to the toilet. It's OK though, there's a box at the back of the church with a big sign over it saying 'For the sick'."
^ ...end of line