The Friday Irregular

Issue #367 - 8 March 2013

Edited by and copyright ©2013 Simon Lamont
tfir@simonlamont.co.uk

The latest edition is always available at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/index.htm
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^ WORD OF THE WEEK
Umblement
  - n. an amount that is just sufficient for purpose [Kent & southeast England slang].


^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Friday 8 March   -   Johannes Kepler discovered the third law of planetary motion, 1618. Pirate Anne Bonny born, 1702. King William III of England died, 1702. Founding of the New York Stock Exchange, 1817. The Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame born, 1859. Composer Hector Berlioz died, 1869. Singer/songwriter Shawn Mullins born, 1968. The first episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy debuted on BBC Radio 4, 1978. Magician Ali Bongo died, 2009. International Women's Day.
 
Saturday 9 March   -   Liu Che assumed the throne of the Han Dynasty of China, 141 BCE. Explorer Amerigo Vespucci born, 1454. David Rizzio, secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, murdered, 1566. The marriage of Napoléon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais, 1796. Writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West born, 1892. Sondre Norheim, father of Telemark skiing, died, 1897. Actress Juliette Binoche born, 1964. Writer and creator of Doctor Who's Daleks, Terry Nation, died, 1997. The first same-sex marriages in Washington, D.C. took place, 2010.
 
Sunday 10 March   -   Scholar Theodor Zwinger died, 1588. Physician Marcello Malpighi born, 1628. King Charles I of England dissolved Parliament, starting the eleven-year Personal Rule, 1629. Artist William Etty born, 1787. The Louisiana Purchase was formally completed, transferring the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States, 1804. American frontiersman Jack Slade died, 1864. Jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke born, 1903. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reached the Red Planet, 2000. Motorcycle racer Barry Sheene died, 2003.
 
Monday 11 March   -   Architect Donato Bramante died, 1514. Poet Torquato Tasso born, 1544. England's first national newspaper, The Daily Courant, was first published, 1702. Sugar magnate and founder of the Tate Gallery, Henry Tate born, 1819. The Great Sheffield Flood, the largest man-made disaster in England and the 20th most deadly flood in world history, killed over 250 people, 1864. Philosopher Vladimir Odoevsky died, 1869. Fashion designer Jenny Packham born, 1965. Inventor Philo T. Farnsworth died, 1971. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck east of Sendai, Japan, triggering a tsunami and the ensuing Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster, 2011. Johnny Appleseed Day (United States).
 
Tuesday 12 March   -   The end of the siege of Rome by Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, 538. Italian statesman Cesare Borgia died, 1507. Composer Thomas Arne born, 1710. Coca-Cola was bottled and sold for the first time, 1894. Engineer George Westinghouse died, 1914. Actress Googie Withers born, 1917. Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker died, 1955. Singer Elly Jackson born, 1988. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, all former members of the Warsaw Pact, joined NATO, 1999. World Day Against Cyber Censorship.
 
Wednesday 13 March   -   Actor Richard Burbage died, 1619. Scientist Joseph Priestley born, 1733. William Herschel discovered Uranus, 1781. Tsar Alexander II of Russia assassinated, 1881. Novelist Sir Hugh Walpole born, 1884. The start of the Siege of Khartoum, 1884. Actor Harry Melling born, 1989. Sixteen primary school children and a teacher were shot dead in the Dunblane massacre, 1996. Robert C. Blake, inventor of the chicken nugget, died, 2006.
 
Thursday 14 March   -   In the Thirty Years' War, Bavaria, France, Sweden and Cologne signed the Truce of Ulm, 1647. Composer Georg Philipp Telemann born, 1681. Royal Navy admiral John Byng executed, 1757. Mathematician Waclaw Sierpinski born, 1882. Political theorist Karl Marx died, 1883. Gilbert & Sullivan's light opera The Mikado premiered in London, 1885. Choreographer and film director Busby Berkeley died, 1976. Actress Kate Maberly born, 1982. Version 1.0.0 of the Linux kernel was released, 1994. Pi Day.

^ THE WISDOM OF...

This week, A.A Milne, from The House at Pooh Corner:
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

^ TOTALLY TRIVIAL

There have been over 10,000 times as many photographs posted on social website Facebook (launched 2004) than are kept in the Library of Congress, the de facto United States national library (founded 1800).

^ 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...

BACK INSIDE! Matthew Matangro, 36, a convicted sex offender previously caught trying to get access to New York State schools by posing as a Board of Education worker, was released from Rikers Island prison, but later prison officers became suspicious of a guard moving prisoners between cells, and discovered that Matangro had sneaked back into the jail with a fake badge and ID and had been working as a guard for over a week.

NOT SO FAST GETAWAY... Last Tuesday 28-year-old Arkansas woman Jamie Craft allegedly went on a drunken joyride, crashing into a mobile home. Police were called, but before they arrived Craft is reported to have removed her trousers and attempted to flee the scene in another vehicle. Police caught up with her while she was driving her son's battery-powered Power Wheels toy truck. With a blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit, Craft was understandably "pretty irate" when they caught her. She will face charges of disorderly conduct, driving with a suspended licence and DUI, and possibly being extremely silly.

THE GLAMOUR OF SPACEFLIGHT. When the privately-funded Inspiration Mars mission was announced, much was made in the press of the search for a couple to make the round trip to the Red Planet in 2018 (but not land on it). More details are now emerging, including a novel approach to shielding the craft from radiation. The walls of the capsule will be stuffed with plastic bags containing drinking water and food initially, but as the astronauts consume it, liquid waste will be recycled back into drinking water and solid waste will have its liquid extracted before being compressed back into the bags and put back into the walls to act as radiation shielding. There isn't a risk of the food being irradiated as it would merely block any cosmic radiation, not absorb it. Radiation from solar storms will be more of a problem, but the spacecraft should be able to retain the upper rocket stage from its launch and keep it between the astronauts and the sun to act like the otherwise-required several feet of concrete.

LIBRARY! David Black, now an arts journalist and critic, borrowed a book about the Spanish artist Goya from Edinburgh's Fine Art Library using his mother's library card on September 22, 1962. He finally returned it this week. In the intervening 50 years he had thought about the book but always forgotten to return it, and "Two years ago I even attended a showing of the play Underneath the Lintel which is about a librarian who sets out to find whoever anonymously returned a library book that is 113 years overdue." Then he read that Edinburgh libraries were having an amnesty on overdue books, and decided to take the book back "[..] once and for all, if only to see the librarian's face." The overdue fine accumulated over the last half century would have been approximately £2,700 ($4,000).

ALSO IN SCOTLAND... Residents of the island of North Ronaldsay, the northernmost of the Orkney Islands north of Scotland, are used to getting the occasional rare migrating bird appearing, but last Sunday they were visited by a walrus on the shore. North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory warden Mark Warren told reporters that "I was just walking along the beach surveying the birds in this area and just saw this big lump on the seaweed and half expected it to be a dead whale or a dolphin. But then it moved and suddenly you see these great big tusks [...]." The walrus, several hundred miles from its usual habitat, was less impressed to see humans, and spent most of the afternoon lying on its back asleep before returning to the sea the next morning. It's thought that it had been seen in the Faroe Islands, 190 miles (300km) to the northwest, five days earlier.

IN BRIEF: Australian woman says she and her dog were saved from drowning by dolphins. Russian scientists claim to have found a new type of bacterial life in water taken from underground Antarctic Lake Vostok. Polish three-year-old who went missing overnight had her life saved by small dog who kept her warm in sub-zero temperatures. Giant camel ancestor fossil uncovered in High Arctic. Cat stows away for 2,200 mile (3,500km) trip from Egypt to England. Egypt hit by plague of locusts. Eight new species discovered near Loch Ness - not Nessie, but types of insect. Scientists believe they might have found the first surviving Viking sunstone, a polarised crystal used by the Norse mariners to navigate by locating the sun even on cloudy days, aboard a sunken Elizabethan ship off the Channel Islands. 42,000lb (19,000kg) of tomato ketchup spilled across highway outside Reno, Nevada, after tractor trailer overturns; snowplows used to clear it. Tehran, Iran plagued by "genetically mutated" giant rats. Mysterious light leaves circular burned patch in Tasmanian paddock. Explorer Philip Beale hopes to sail replica Phoenician ship across the Atlantic to prove that the civilisation that prospered between 1500 BCE - 300 BCE could have discovered American 2,000 years before Columbus. Soviet soldier missing presumed dead in Afghanistan over 30 years ago found alive and well and living under assumed name in western city of Herat.

^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS

Heidi Klum joins America's Got Talent judging panel. Ted, Django Unchained each get seven MTV Movie Award nominations. Lady Gaga concert promoters suing insurers over Indonesian concert cancelled because of "terrorism threats". BBC Trust reviewing children's programming. Bolshoi ballet dancer arrested, suspected of ordering acid attack on artistic director. Volin recovered in Bulgarian police operation could be £1.2m ($1.8m) Stradivarius stolen in London in 2010. Soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to guest, perform, in next series of Downton Abbey. Jack the Giant Slayer tops US/Canada box office ahead of Identity Thief and 21 and Over. Justin Bieber slammed after starting London O2 gig two hours late, many fans forced to leave during performance to get home; blames "technical faults". Steven Spielberg developing Stanley Kubrick's abandoned Napoleon biopic as TV miniseries. Improvisation comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway? being revived in US with three of original cast. Charles Dance lets slip that Game of Thrones has been renewed for fourth season, six episodes written already, ahead of start of season three. Sheridan Smith, Anne Marie Duff, Olivia Coleman nominated for Royal Television Society best actress award; Call the Midwife, Line of Duty, Sherlock up for best drama. Justin Timberlake's Mirrors tops UK singles chart ahead of Bastille's Pompeii and One Direction's Comic Relief single One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks). No change in top two spots on UK album chart - Emeli Sandé's Our Version of Events and Mumford & Sons' Babel at #1 and #2, Les Misérables cast soundtrack up 2 places to #3. Complete set of Andy Warhol's Endangered Species prints to be auctioned in London, estimated at £250,000 - £300,000 ($373,000 - $448,000). Bruce Springsteen to headline London's Hard Rock Calling festival again, despite overrun last year; other headline acts include Kasabian, Paul Weller and The Black Crowes; venue moved from Hyde Park to Olympic Park. The Following renewed for second season. Arnold Schawrzenegger reappointed as executive editor of Muscle and Fitness and Flex fitness magazines after stepping down to become Californian Governor. Czech court acquits Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe in killing of fan who fell off stage at gig. Newcastle Council cuts arts funding by 50%. BBC to make two dramas based on 1963 Great Train Robbery, one from criminals' perspective, other from police's. James McAvoy admits lines slip during West End performance of Macbeth. Michael Jackson's mother and children's legal claim against concert promoter AEG Live over his death given go-ahead for trial by US judge. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters tops UK/Ireland box office ahead of Wreck-It Ralph and Mama. Sam Mendes confirms that he won't direct the next James Bond film but may return for a later one. The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood to be a judge on US version of show, alongside American chef Marcela Valladolid. Bonny Tyler picked to represent UK at next Eurovision Song Contest. Keri Russell joins cast of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Valve hoping to start testing Steam Box video games console within four months, less forthcoming about rumoured sequels to Portal and Half Life franchises. Journey takes five Bafta video awards; other winners include The Walking Dead, The Unfinished Swan, SongPop and Lego Batman 2. Eleven cities including Chester, Aberdeen, Swansea Bay, Bexhill-on-Sea and Plymouth competing to be UK City of Culture 2017. Fatboy Slim becomes first DJ to play in Houses of Parliament.

^OBITUARIES

Manga publisher/translator Toren Smith (52), Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (58), Ten Years After guitarist Alvin Lee (68), comics artist Didier Comès (70), Motown singer Bobby Rogers (73), R&B singer Jewel Akens (79), jazz trumpeter Kenny Ball (82), WW2 Spitfire ace Alan Smith (95), film composer Armando Trovajoli (95).

^ WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

Next Thursday is Pi Day (in US date format it's 3/14; Pi - a mathematical constant equal to the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter - is approximately 3.14). Today's site lets you search for specific numbers within the first 2,000,000,000 digits of Pi. The Editor's birthday, 19681228 (in ANSI format - yyyymmdd) appears starting at the 38,875,323nd digit.
- http://www.subidiom.com/pi/

^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!

Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
2, 9, 14, 18, 31, 33
You can get your very own prediction at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/dumbledore.htm.

^ AND FINALLY...

    Little Jennifer and her parents were visiting her grandparents, and one night Little Jennifer ran round the house turning all the lights on. Her exasperated mother ran after her turning them off again, but Little Jennifer just went back and turned them back on. Finally her mother gave up, sat on the floor in the hallway and asked her daughter what she was doing.

    "Granny said that I brighten up her life."


^ ...end of line