The Friday Irregular

Issue #336 - 25 May 2012

Edited by and copyright ©2012 Simon Lamont

The latest edition is always available at
The archives are at
(Unless otherwise indicated dollar values are in US dollars)

Contents |
  - to wade through mud or water. [Scottish & Northumbrian dialect]


Friday 25 May   -   Last day of the Diet of Worms, 1521. Botanist Anders Dahl died, 1789. Writer Edward George Bulwer-Lytton born, 1803. Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore opened in London, 1878. Writer W.P. Kinsella born, 1932. Composer Gustav Holst died, 1934. Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) went on general release in the USA, 1977. Cyclist Geraint Thomas born, 1986. Ska musician Desmond Dekker died, 2006. National Missing Children's Day in the USA. Towel Day.
Saturday 26 May   -   Coronation of Alfonso VII of Léon and Castile as Imperator totius Hispaniae (Emperor of all of Spain), 1135. Alse Young became the first person to be executed as a witch in the British American colonies, 1647. General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, born, 1650. Diarist Samuel Pepys died, 1703. Kaspar Hauser was found wandering the streets of Nuremberg, 1828. Photographer Dorothea Lange born, 1895. George Willig climbed the South Tower of New York City's World Trade Center, 1977. Comedian Jason Manford born, 1981. Filmmaker Sydney Pollack died, 2008. National Paper Airplane Day in the USA.
Sunday 27 May   -   Polymath Ibn Khaldun born, 1332. Artist Gaspard Dughet died, 1675. Founding of Saint Petersburg by Tsar Peter the Great, 1703. American suffragette Amelia Bloomer born, 1818. Composer Niccolò Paganini died, 1840. Opening of the Great Hall of Euston railway station in London, 1849. Illustrator James Montgomery Flagg died, 1960. Actress Peri Gilpin born, 1961. A fire started in the mine at Centralia, Pennsylvania, 1962; it's still burning today.
Monday 28 May   -   A solar eclipse occured, as predicted by Greek scientist Thales, 585 BCE. Poet Xin Qiji born, 1140. The first ships of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon, 1588. Physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin born, 1738. Composer and father of Wolfgang, Leopold Mozart died, 1787. Opening of the Chrysler Building in New York City, 1930. Fascist sympathiser Unity Mitford died, 1948. Singer/actress Kylie Minogue born, 1968. The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of England, died, 1972.
Tuesday 29 May   -   Explorer Bartholomew Dias died, 1500. King Charles II of Great Britain born, 1630. The Restoration of King Charles II to the throne of Great Britain, 1660. Chemist and inventor of the miners' safety lamp Sir Humphry Davy died, 1829. Opera singer Jenny Lind left New York City after her two-year American tour, 1852. Writer G.K. Chesterton born, 1874. Actor John Barrymore died, 1942. Comedian Sarah Millican born, 1975. The Heysel Stadium disaster, 1985. Oak Apple Day in England.
Wednesday 30 May   -   Joan of Arc burned at the stake, 1431. Marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Jane Seymour, 1536. Princess Caroline Elizabeth of Great Britain born, 1713. Poet Alexander Pope died, 1744. Big Ben, the main bell in the Clock Tower of London's Palace of Westminster, rang for the first time, 1859. Voice actor Mel Blanc born, 1908. Game pioneer Milton Bradley died, 1911. Actress Jennifer Ellison born, 1983. Demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, unveiled the 33-foot-high "Goddess of Democracy" statue, 1989.
Thursday 31 May   -   Mongol Khagan Genghis Khan born, 1162. Artist Tintoretto died, 1594. Samuel Pepys recorded his last diary entry, citing poor eyesight, 1669. Clown Joseph Grimaldi died, 1837. Artist Walter Sickert born, 1860. The Union of South Africa came into being, 1910, and became the Republic of South Africa, 1961. Supermodel/actress Brooke Shields born, 1965. Vanity Fair revealed that Mark Felt was the Watergate informant known as Deep Throat, 2005. Entertainer Danny La Rue died, 2009. World No Tobacco Day.


This week, Confucius, in The Analects:
Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.


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...

WHAT'S YOUR EMERGENZZZZZZ? When a Maryland woman called 911 after her husband was having trouble breathing the operator connected her to an ambulance dispatcher, only for the call to be met with silence, then audible snoring. The original operator realised that the woman was not receiving help and took over the call, only to think that the snoring was the woman's husband. After six minutes of confusion the ambulance dispatcher woke up, got the caller's address and sent an ambulance. The husband was taken to hospital where he was treated and recovered without complications from the delay. The unnamed dispatcher, reportedly 17 hours into a 24-hour shift, was put on administrative leave, with his boss commenting that it was the first time he'd known a dispatcher to fall asleep on a 911 call in 24 years.

SPLASH! A man who climed over railings and jumped at least 55 metres (180 feet) into the Horseshoe Niagara Falls in a suicide attempt instead became only the third person known to have survived going over the falls without safety equipment. The man was believed to have been swept into an eddy and floated over to the shore where he waded ashore before firemen lifted him up the cliff face in a basket. He appeared to have broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and was airlifted to hospital where spokeswoman Agnes Bongers later said that he was critically injured but expected to survive.

TWINS! Identical twins Craig and Brenton Gurney, 38, have spent their life mirroring each other - even both marrying women called Nicole, and even when 2700 kilometres (1678 miles) apart Craig knew when Brenton had dislocated a shoulder. A year ago Brenton started getting acute persistent headaches, and persuaded his brother to sign on with him for a medical study of twins because it included an MRI scan. There was nothing wrong with Brenton's brain - Craig, who had never had headaches, was told that there was a massive tumour at the base of his skull, necessitating a 10.5-hour operation and two months of radiation therapy.

THIEF! When Milwaukee resident Chris Rochester's video camera was lent to his boss - a state Senate candidate - to film a campaign event, it was stolen from his boss' car. Police eventually recovered and returned it, and his boss asked him to retrieve footage of the event. What Rochester found on the tape was some of the footage and 20 or 30 other segments apparently filmed by the thief. Most were just 15- to 20-second clips of TV screens but one 79-second video was more memorable. The suspect pans the camera around a house, pointing out the kitchen and bathroom, and saying "This is my house, yes, and a stolen camera that I stole. But it's OK, the cops won't figure it out." Later on he added "Oh yeah, to introduce you, my name is Houaka Yang. So yeah, how do you do?" before turning the camera to his face, smiling, and concluding "And this is me. Hi." Not only did Rochester alert the police who arrested Yang, he also uploaded the footage to YouTube. Want to see it?

BIGFOOT! A joint research project between Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland will conduct a DNA study of organic remains that are claimed to be from yeti, the alleged giant humanoid figures claimed to live in the Himalayas, or their North American counterpart Bigfoot. Although DNA testing has been done before - and last year dismissed a finger stolen from a Tibetan monstery where it had been revered as a yeti finger, as human - the testing process has advanced considerably. One theory is that the creatures are descendents of Neanderthals, the primative humans overtaken by Homo Sapiens who became modern man. There is evidence of interbreeding betweeen the two species, with 2-4% of our genetic makeup being Neanderthal in origin. Project co-leader Bryan Sykes is non-committal about the project's chances of success. "I don't know. It's unlikely, but on the other hand, if we don't examine it we won't know," he said.

IN BRIEF. Vicar quitting church to become full-time Elvis impersonator. Santorini volcano - probable source of Minoan disaster and possible source of Atlantis myth - showing increased activity. Skeletons discovered in Georgia could push back date of early humans leaving Africa by 800,000 years. NASA says there are 4,700 (+/- 1500) potentionally hazardous asteroids with diameters of 100m (330 feet) or more an likely to pass within 5 million miles of Earth. Gun falls out of pocket of man mowing lawn, hits ground, shoots him in the leg. "Gay" penguins given egg to look after. Stone Age man invented raves. Golfer mishits ball onto road; knocks out motorcyclist's teeth. Gary Connery makes first successful jump out of a helicopter without a parachute (he wore a wingsuit). Royalist throws three people out of her themed tearoom for not standing during the national anthem. Rhea found wandering on Welsh golf course. Psychic pig to make predictions for European soccer championships. Strange jelly blobs found on patio after rain most likely water-absorbing gel for potted plants. Vial containing dried sample of Ronald Reagan's blood taken after 1981 assassination attempt put up for auction.


Titanic Lockdown festival in Belfast next month cancelled after poor ticket sales. Journalists' and technicians' unions lift strike threat against BBC over Diamond Jubilee weekend. Holy Motors tipped to win Cannes Palm D'Or. Extra left brain-damaged after Transformers 3 on-set accident awarded $18.5m (£11.7m) settlement. Stone Roses play first reunion gig to rapturous fan reception; give approval to film set at 1990 Spike Island gig. Marvel to feature its first same-sex wedding story in Astonishing X-Men #50 & #51. Chariots of Fire stage play debuts in London. Ben Fogle to attempt 100-day Atlantic swim next year. Restored Hitchcock silent films screened by BFI. House airs final episode in US. Orange ends sponsorship of Women's Prize for fiction. UK broadcast of Mercury Music Prize to move from BBC Two to Channel 4. Ken Loach criticises British film censors for asking for swearing cuts from The Angel's Share to get 15 certificate. Rupert Everett to direct Oscar Wilde biopic. Tom Cruise to star in Magnificent Seven remake. 30th anniversary of Hacienda nightclub's opening marked by rave on site of demolished venue. Scissor Sisters considering only releasing digitally after imminent fourth album. Coldplay to headline Paralympics closing ceremony. The Avengers holds US box office #1 for third week taking more than twice the revenue of #2, Battleship. Keane hold UK album chart #1 for second week with Strangeland; Rita Ora holds single #1 again. Will Young to make West End debut as the Emcee in Cabaret. Jackie Chan confirms next film Chinese Zodiac will be his last action movie. Danny DeVito, Richard Griffiths praised for The Sunshine Boys in West End. Jane Lovering wins Romantic Novel of the Year for Please Don't Stop the Music. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert ends Broadway run. Jedward back in Eurovision final for second year running; Saturday's event in Azerbaijan facing protests from human rights campaigners. Geri Halliwell guest judge for X Factor auditions in Liverpool; UK X Factor denies fast-tracking some acts through auditions, confirm Danni Minogue leaving judging panel. Abandoned village in North Carolina used as location for The Hunger Games to be sold - guide price $1.2m (£759,000). Adele win 12 Billboard Music awards. Florence and the Machine to headline Isle of Wight Bestival. G.I. Joe sequel release delayed for 3D conversion. Gary Oldman signs for Robocop remake. Lady Gaga still facing obscenity protests on southeast Asian tour. Sir Elton John hospitalised with respiratory infection. First Skyfall teaser trailer airs. Obits: Crowded House drummer Peter Jones (45), Bee Gee Robin Gibb (62), polka musician Eddie Blazonczyk (70), Ceefax founding editor Colin McIntyre (85), baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (86), TV remote control inventor Eugene Polley (96).


A lot of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror) has been published over the years. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database is an effort to catalogue the writers of the genres and their works.


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
3, 8, 16, 23, 34, 40


   Little Jennifer's teacher was getting more and more exasperated at Little Jennifer's constant chattering in maths class. "Little Jennifer," she finally exclaimed, "didn't you promise to keep quiet?"

   "Yes, miss."

   "And didn't I promise to send you to the headteacher if you didn't?"

   "Yes, miss. But as I broke my promise you don't have to keep yours."

^ ...end of line