The Friday Irregular

Issue #360 - 11 January 2013

Edited by and copyright ©2013 Simon Lamont

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Unless otherwise indicated dollar values are in US dollars.

Contents |
Pwn (alt. 'p0wn'; pronounced 'own')
  - v. defeat. (also n. as 'pwnage') [online slang, such as in World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs].


Friday 11 January   -   Byzantine Emperor Michael I Rhangabes died, 844. Artist Parmigianino born, 1503. The first recorded lottery in Britain was drawn, 1569. Scientist Nicolas Steno born, 1638. William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two of the moons of Uranus, 1787. Insulin was first used to treat human diabetes, 1922. Writer Thomas Hardy died, 1928. British TV presenter Rachel Riley born, 1986. Mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person (with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay) to reach the summit of Mount Everest, died, 2008.
Saturday 12 January   -   Folklorist Charles Perrault born, 1628. Archaeologist John Horsley died, 1732. The first public Colonial American museum opened in Charleston, South Carolina, 1773. Artist John Singer Sargent born, 1856. Founding of the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, 1866. Inventor Isaac Pitman died, 1897. Animation director/producer John Lasseter born, 1957. Writer Agatha Christie died, 1976. An earthquake struck Haiti, destroying most of Port-au-Prince and killing over 300,000, 2010.
Sunday 13 January   -   Ethelwulf, king of Wessex, died, 858. King Edward III of England married Philippa of Hainault, 1328. Artist Jan van Goyen born, 1596. Publication of the first issue of the Daily Universal Register, later renamed The Times, 1785. Cricketer and founder of Lord's cricket ground, Thomas Lord died, 1832. Composer Richard Addinsell born, 1904. Writer James Joyce died, 1941. Johnny Cash played live at Folsom State Prison, 1968. Actor Liam Hemsworth born, 1990. Tjugondag Knut (St Knut's Day), the last day of Christmas in Sweden and Finland. Old New Year's Eve.
Monday 14 January   -   Spain annexed Cuba, 1539. Composer Francesco Cavalli died, 1676. Librettist and poet Picander born, 1700. The US Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain, ending the Revolutionary War and establishing the US as a sovereign entity, 1784. Artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres died, 1867. Physician Albert Schweizer born, 1875. The Summer of Love started with the Human Be-In in San Francisco, 1967. Rapper LL Cool J born, 1968. Actress Uta Hagen died, 2004. Ratification Day in the US. Old New Year's Day.
Tuesday 15 January   -   Christopher Columbus set out on the return voyage from the New World to Spain, 1493. Playwright Molière born, 1622. Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, died, 1815. Composer Ivor Novello born, 1893. The Boston Molasses Disaster killed 21 and injured 150, 1919. Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, murdered, 1947. Actor James Nesbitt born, 1965. US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia; all passengers and crew survived, 2009. Soccer player Nat Lofthouse died, 2011.
Wednesday 16 January   -   The Ostrogoths conquered Rome in the Gothic War (535-554), 550. Edmund Crouchback, son of King Henry III of England, born, 1245. Astronomer Johannes Schöner died, 1547. El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, Book One of Don Quixote was first published in Madrid, 1605. Poet Robert W. Service born, 1874. Composer Léo Delibes died, 1891. Model Kate Moss born, 1974. Actor Bernard Lee died, 1981. Space Shuttle Columbia took off on STS-107; it would disentegrate on re-entry 16 days later, 2003.
Thursday 17 January   -   King Alfonso III of Aragon invaded Minorca, 1287. Botanist Leonhart Fuchs born, 1501. Artist Paulus Potter died, 1654. The independence of the Transvaal Boer colonies was recognised by the United Kingdom, 1852. Conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker died, 1874. Children's author May Gibbs born, 1877. A mid-air collision between a B-52 and a Stratotanker over Spain resulted in three 70-kiloton nuclear bombs being dropped, two on land and one in the sea, in the Palomares Incident, 1966. Actress Zooey Deschanel born, 1980. Chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer died, 2008.


This week, Thomas Hardy [viz. Friday, above]:
That man's silence is wonderful to listen to.


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...

ROAR! Last Tuesday police dispatchers in Norfolk, Virginia, started getting unusual calls. The first, just after 10 o'clock in the morning was "I'd like to report a lion." Subsequent calls included reports of "A baby lion. It was about the size of a Labrador retriever," and "an animal that looked like a small lion - it had the mange [sic.] and everything." Fortunately most people who actually live in the area where the "lion" was seen, and the local police, knew that it hadn't escaped from the nearby zoo but was Charles the Monarch, a Labrador-poodle mix owned by a resident, who has him groomed to resemble a university lion mascot.

RESCUE! Emergency services were called out in Cumbria, England, after reports of a man stuck on a roof. First on the scene were police, who soon realised that the man was a full-sized Santa Claus Christmas decoration, and were able to call off the three fire crews and ambulance that were en route to the house. Homeowner Mr Earl, who was out with his family at the time later commented that "I suppose there is an optician up the road, maybe they [the caller] was going there." Elsewhere in Britain, three fire crews turned out to rescue a squirrel trapped on an island in the middle of a pond. When it was evident that no people were trapped two of the crews stood down, and the third put a ladder over the water and coaxed the squirrel back to the shore. Area commander Ian Parkhouse later said that three crews were sent out because it was unclear whether people had been trying to rescue the squirrel themselves, and had it been made clear that nobody was in danger the task would have been left to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

SPACED OUT! Astronomers using NASA's Kepler space observatory have announced that they now believe that one in six stars in our galaxy have an Earth-sized planet orbiting them, although the planets are not neccessarily in the habitable zone where life is sustainable. That's a total of 17 billion planets up to 1.25 times the size of the Earth.

IS IT A BIRD? IT IT A PLANE? A remote-controlled aircraft enthusiast in California has been flying a most unusual aircraft on the coast near Carlsbad. A number of observers, including a cyclist who managed to capture footage of the craft with his mobile phone, were stunned when they saw what appeared to be a life-sized Superman soaring through the skies. A local TV station discovered that the remote-controlled superhero had been built and flown by San Diego resident Otto Dieffenbach.

SPITFIRES! A team searching for a number of World War 2 Spitfire fighter aircraft believed to have been buried in crates at three sites in Burma have found a crate, but announced that it was too full of murky water for their camera to see what it contains. They believe that up to 120 Spitfires may be buried across Burma, and hope to locate 18 at their current location in Myitkyina. The planes were buried by US engineers at the close of the war as they were surplus to requirements and may be in near-pristine condition. There are only around 50 Spitfires currently airworthy today, so the addition of another 120 would be remarkable.

IN BRIEF: Roald Dahl got it wrong - James' Giant Peach would have taken 2.5m seagulls to lift it, not the 501 in the book. A fifth of the UK public library borrowing of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey last year was by readers in Surrey. Pod of 1000 dolphins seen off California; pod of 500 seen off Ireland. Larvae of the Emerald Cockroach Wasp disinfect their food before eating it. Astronauts grow up to 3% taller while in space. Police arrest four men in connection with convenience store attack by four people dressed and made up as Smurfs. There are black icebergs (typically fewer ice bubbles and more rock). Man gatecrashes Christchurch, New Zealand funeral, shouts at corpse to "wake up", claims God told him to. Chinese man hires virtual assassins to kill his 23-year-old unemployed son's World of Warcraft avatar to encourage him to go out and get a job [He does know that death in WoW isn't fatal, you resurrect, and his son could just move to a PVE realm where other players can't attack you? -Ed., who's characters have died more times than he can remember...]. Single 222kg (489lb) bluefin tuna auctions in Japan for record ¥155m (£1.05m, $1.7m). Cat detained in ground of Brazil jail with contraband items including a mobile phone taped to its body. Honduras police seize gold-plated jewel-encrusted AK-47 assault rifle from drug traffickers. Chicago lottery jackpot winner dies of cyanide poisoning just before collecting prize money; police treating death as homicide. 2011 Miss Congeniality winner admits taking part in Vancouver, Canada, riots following 2011 Stanley Cup final.


Jay-Z writing soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Non-celebrities in the current barrel-scraping Celebrity Big Brother include someone who came fifth on The X Factor, someone who left a soap opera nobody-remembers-how-many-years-ago and some people from a US 'reality' show few over here have heard of. The Hunger Games wins six People's Choice Awards. Mumford and Sons, Rihanna, Taylor Swift among performers at upcoming Grammy Awards show. Virgin France (spun off from, but independent of, Virgin Music) music chain declares itself insolvent. Bruce Springsteen to be honoured as MusiCares Person of the Year at Grammy Awards. Dame Helen Mirren receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. 2012 print book sales fell 4.6% on 2011; e-book sales rose 5%. Adele's 21 named biggest selling album in the US for second year running. West End production of Chariots of Fire to close a month early. David Walliams reveals Matt Lucas blocked second series of Come Fly With Me. Oscars to mark 50th anniversary of James Bond franchise. 65 unpublished transparancies of The Beatles' first US tour to be auctioned. Texas Chainsaw 3D knocks The Hobbit off US box office #1 spot; Django Unchained at #2, The Hobbit at #3, Les Miserables at #4. US film critics name Amour best film of 2012. Juno Temple, Andrea Riseborough, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Olsen, Suraj Sharma nominated for Bafta EE Rising Star award. Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo to star in HBO TV adaptation of The Normal Heart. Stolen Matisse painting Le Jardin valued at $1m (£620,000) before being taken from Swedish Museum of Modern Art recovered in London. Ted Hughes' widow to write memoirs. Ofcom rules that Channel 4 breached broadcast code with pre-watershed X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Sherlock, Doctor Who both nominated for best drama at National Television Awards (with Downton Abbey and Merlin); respective leads Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith also both nominated for best actor. Andrew Scott nominated for best actor in BBC Audio Drama Awards. Anne Wood brands BBC decision to only show children's programming on CBBC and CBeebies channels as 'cynical'. Spice Girls musical Viva Forever far from sellout success with up to a quarter of tickets unsold for each weekday performance. Former Dr Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson reveals terminal cancer diagnosis. Man accused of vandalising Picasso painting in Houston surrenders to police at US/Mexico border. UK Official Charts Company reveals that surprise new David Bowie track Where Are We Now? could appear in UK singles chart this weekend after reaching #1 spot on iTunes chart within 12 hours of announcement and release. TV Licensing Authority reveals that there are over 13,000 black-and-white TVs still in use in the UK. London Olympic Stadium to host rock concerts by July acording to London Legacy Development Corp. English Heritage suspends blue plaque scheme after 34% funding cut. BBC Radio Cymru, licensing authority resume talks after output cut by two hours, pop music replaced with classical and hymns after royalties payment dispute at new year.

BAFTA nominations: Best Film: Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty; Best British Film: Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Skyfall, Seven Psychopaths; Leading Actor: Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Hugh Jackman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Joaquin Phoenix; Leading Actress: Marion Cottilard, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Dame Helen Mirren, Emmanuelle Riva; Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz; Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Sally Field, Dame Judi Dench, Anny Hathaway, Helen Hunt; Director: Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, Quentin Tarantino.
Oscars nominations: Best Film: Argo, Amour, Django Unchained, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty; Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix; Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Naomi Watts, Quvenzhane Wallis, Emmanuelle Riva; Supporter Actor: Alan Arkin, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert De Niro, Christoph Waltz, Philip Seymour Hoffman; Supporting Actress: Sally Field, Amy Adams, Anne Hathaway, Jacki Weaver, Helen Hunt; Director: Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, David O Russell, Steven Spielberg, Benh Zeitlin.
Razzies nominations: Worst film: The Oogieloves in Big Balloon Adventure, Battleship, A Thousand Words, That's My Boy, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II; Worst Leading Actor: Eddie Murphy, Nicolas Cage, Robert Pattinson, Tyler Perry, Adam Sandler; Worst Leading Actress: Milla Jovovich, Katherine Heigl, Tyler Perry, Kristin Stewart, Barbra Streisand; Worst Supporting Actor: David Hasselhoff, Liam Neeson, Taylor Lautner, Nick Swardon, Vanilla Ice; Worst Supporting Actress: Jessica Biel, Ashley Greene, Brooklyn Decker, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna; Worst Director: Sean Anders, Bill Condon, Peter Berg, Tyler Perry, John Putch; Worst Screen Couple: any two cast members from Jersey Shore in The Three Stooges, Robert Pattinson and Kristin Stewart in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II, Mackenzie Foy and Taylor Lautner in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part II, Tyler Perry and Tyler Perry's drag in Madea's Witness Protection, Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester or Susan Sarandon in That's My Boy.


Director and stuntman David R Ellis (60), screenwriter T.S. Cook (65), race horse trainer Jeremy Hindley (69), actor Tony Lip (82), former BBC Director General Alasdair Milne (82), filmmaker and politician Sergiu Nicolaescu (82), radio presenter and voice of Listen With Mother Daphne Oxenford (93), last-surviving Jarrow March protester Con Shiels (96), Britain's oldest man Reg Dean (110).


It's awards season, and the nominations for three of the most notable events have been announced [see above]. The Baftas, the Oscars and... the Razzies. The Golden Raspberry Awards are presented to the worst of each category (and on at least one occasion, the winner actually turned up to accept the award - kudos to Halle Berry, accepting for lead role in Catwoman). Check the Razzies at the official site.


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
8, 16, 27, 31, 32, 45
You can get your very own prediction at


    Little Jennifer had come back from school and was sitting in the kitchen eating a biscuit. Her mother joined her at the table, took a biscuit for herself and asked "So, Little Jennifer, what did you learn in school today?"

    "Oh, we were doing words, and then Little Simon showed me how to make babies."

    Her mother almost choked on her biscuit. "He did what? You're far too young to know that, Little Jennifer! I'm going to have to call his parents and the school!"

    "Why, mummy? You just change the 'y' to an 'i' and add 'es'..."

^ ...end of line