The Friday Irregular

Issue #380 - 27 May 2016

Edited by and copyright ©2016 Simon Lamont
tfir@simonlamont.co.uk

The latest edition is always available at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/index.htm
The archives are at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/archive/index.htm

The Friday Irregular does not set any cookies, but our host and linked sites out of our control may.

Unless otherwise indicated dollar values are in US dollars.

Contents |
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
^ WORD OF THE WEEK
louche
  - adj. Indecent, rakish, decadent.
    v.: to become cloudy when mixed with water, like ouzo or absinthe.
    n.: the resulting cloudy mixture from louching.


^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Friday 27 May   -   Coronation of John as King of England, 1199. Theologian John Calvin died, 1564. William II, Prince of Orange, born, 1626. The founding of Saint Petersburg by Tsar Peter the Great, 1703. Journalist and clothing activist Amelia Bloomer born, 1818. Composer Niccolò Paganini died, 1840. Chef Jamie Oliver born, 1975. Dragon Quest was released in Japan, 1986. Actor Bill Pertwee died, 2013. World MS Day.
 
Saturday 28 May   -   A solar eclipse, correctly predicted by Thales occurred, 585 BCE. Poet Xin Qiji born, 1140. The Spanish Armada began leaving Lisbon for the English Channel, 1588. King George I of Great Britain born, 1660. Composer (and father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) Leopold Mozart died, 1787. Novelist Anne Brontë died, 1849. Actress Carey Mulligan born, 1985. Cleanup at Ground Zero in New York City officially ended, 2002. Writer Maya Angelou died, 2014.
 
Sunday 29 May   -   The coronation of Philip VI as King of France, 1328. Explorer Bartholomeu Dias died, 1500. King Charles II of England born, 1630. Humphry Davy, inventor of the miners' safety lamp, died, 1829. Jenny Lind, "the Swedish Nightingale", sailed for Europe from New York City at the end of her American tour, 1852. Writer G.K. Chesterton born, 1874. Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, 1953. Comedian Sarah Millican born, 1975. Actor Dennis Hopper died, 2010. World Digestive Health Day.
 
Monday 30 May   -   The Peasants' Revolt in England began, 1381. Astronomer Georg von Peuerbach born, 1423. Joan of Arc burned at the stake, 1431. The marriage of King Henry VIII of England and Jane Seymour, 1536. Writer Christopher Marlowe killed, 1593. Cricketer Colin Blythe born, 1879. Actor & singer Dooley Wilson died, 1953. Protesters in Tiananmen Square unveiled the Goddess of Democracy statue, 1989. Paralympic swimmer Jonathan Fox born, 1991.
 
Tuesday 31 May   -   Rameses II became Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, 1279 BCE. Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu died, 1408. Artist Alessandro Allori born, 1535. Samuel Pepys recorded the final entry in his diary, 1669. Physicist Jean-Pierre Christin, inventor of the Celsius thermometer, born, 1683. Joseph Grimaldi, creator of the modern clown, died, 1837. Politician John Prescott born, 1938. Vanity Fair revealed the identity of the Watergate informant Deep Throat as having been Mark Felt, 2005. Drag entertainer Danny La Rue died, 2009. World No Tobacco Day.
 
Wednesday 1 June   -   Roman emperor Didius Julianus killed, 193. The first known reference to a batch of Scotch whisky was recorded, 1495. Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, Secretary of State for England, born, 1563. Kentucky was admitted as the 15th state of the United States, 1792. Otto of Greece born, 1815. Artist David Wilkie died, 1841. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released, 1967. Model Heidi Klum born, 1973. Politician Charles Kennedy died, 2015. World Milk Day.
 
Thursday 2 June   -   The Vandals began the second Sack of Rome, 455. Ferdinand I of Naples born, 1423. The Salem witch trials began with the trial of Bridget Bishop, 1692. Occultist Alessandro Cagliostro born, 1743. Artist William Tate died, 1806. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, 1953. Writer Vita Sackville-West died, 1962. Cricketers Mark and Steve Waugh born, 1965. Musician Bo Diddley died, 2008.

^ THE WISDOM OF...

This week, Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

^ TOTALLY TRIVIAL

Shopping trollies, carts, buggies, trundlers, wagons, barraes or bascarts, are quite ubiquitous these days. They date back to 1937 when Sylvan Goldman, the owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma, decided to investigate how shoppers could transport more groceries at a time. He took a folding wooden chair, put a basket on the seat and wheels on the legs and, with a mechanic called Fred Young, began refining the design. Their first shopping cart was a metal frame with two wire baskets, one above the other, called a folding basket carrier. It was patented in 1940, but did not prove popular as men considered it effeminate and women found it too similar to a baby carriage. Goldman hired both male and female models to demonstrate the carts, and in-store greeters to explain how to use them, and the idea took off. In 1946 Orla Watson invented the swinging rear gate that allowed carts to be telescoped together for storage, and in 1967 David Allen introduced belts to keep small children safe when seated in a cart. In 2012 Chaotic Moon Labs created Project Sk8, a driverless shopping cart fitted with Windows Kinect to avoid collisions, and a Windows 8 tablet for control. In 2004 the British supermarket chain Tesco trialled trolleys with adjustable resistance, pulse and calorie counting monitors to encourage health awareness. Tesco have also fitted trolleys with magnetic detectors to apply the brakes when they pass over a magnetic boundary strip, to stop them being removed from their premises/car parks. Many supermarkets now use a coin lock system, at least on smaller trolleys, by which a coin - usually €1, £1 or $1 (or easily-obtained tokens of the same size) are inserted into the mechanism to release the trolley; when it is secured back in the storage bay the coin is retrieved. This allows the shop staff to spend less time collecting trolleys, and avoids damage to cars caused by runaway trolleys. Abandoned shopping trolleys are a frequently-used symbol for urban decay; in 2006 Julian Montague won the Diagram Prize for the Oddest (Book) Title of the Year with The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification (There's a copy in the Irregular library; it's rather good...).

^ 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...

CALVIN LIVES! Emily Cairns, 6, was staying with her grandmother who let her borrow her mobile phone to play games on. What Emily did though, was text her mother asking "What did you get Emily for her birthday?" Thinking the text was from Emily's grandmother wanting to avoid buying the same things, her mother texted back a list of everything she had got for Emily. It was only here that the youngster's genius failed, as she texted back "Wow", prompting her mother to ask her grandmother later who sent the text. Her mother told reporters "If it hadn't been for the 'wow' I would've been none the wiser. [..] She's got me worried now. [..] But we all find it really funny now. It's quite clever for a six-year-old, really."

HOOD ORNAMENTS. Rolls Royce's Spirit of Ecstasy may be one of the most exclusive and few remaining car hood ornaments still in use, but thanks to Google everybody might be able to get an ornament for their car bonnets. The tech company has patented a "sticky" technology to protect pedestrians if they are hit by a car. An adhesive coating that will be activated on contact "may help to constrain the movement of the pedestrian, who may be carried on the front end of the vehicle until the driver of the vehicle (or the vehicle itself in the case of an autonomous vehicle) reacts to the incident and applies brakes."

KÆMPO!* A peer-reviewed study by researchers at the University of Canterbury has found that Lego sets are becoming more violent as toymakers try to attract children's attention in the digital age, with a higher proportion of weapons or conflict scenarios appearing in kits. Lego's first weapons were swords, axes and lances in a 1978 castle kit, but newer themed kits include guns and fantasy weapons like lightsabers. A spokesman for Lego said that "As with other play types, conflict play is a natural part of a child's development. We always try and use humour where possible as it helps tone down the level of conflict." Lego pulled itself back from the brink of bankruptcy in 2003-4 by focussing more on popular culture and franchises like Star Wars and superheroes like Batman. [*'Lege', from which Lego takes its name is Danish for play; 'Kæmpe' is (according to Google) the Danish for fight.]

STREWTH! If the price of house-buying in the UK gets you down - a one-bedroom flat in London can sell for over £500,000 ($730k), 21 times the average national wage, for less than that - just £367,275 ($536k) - you can buy an entire town. In Australia. Allies Creek is 231 miles northwest of Brisbane, with around a dozen inhabitants. Six years ago Natali Williams and her husband went to auction in the old sawmilling outpost to buy some machinery and ended up buying the town. Now widowed, she is looking to sell it. Temperatures in the town range between 10-20o C (50-68o F) in the winter, peaking at around 45o C (113o F) in the summer.

SHEDS! If there's one thing in a garden that defines traditional British manhood, it is the shed. This year's Cuprinol Shed of the Year contest attracted almost 3,000 entries, with the final 32 including a recreation of Star Wars' Millenium Falcon cockpit, a shed made of a renovated boat wheelhouse, a restored nuclear bunker 20ft (6m) below ground and only acessible by ladder, a wild west-style saloon shed and a shed built around the back of a camper van. Here at The Friday Irregular, our garden shed is a Citroën 2CV...

IN BRIEF: Two fishermen in different locations off Nova Scotia each catch a blue lobster, at a chance of 1 in 2 million. Man caught on CCTV having sex with drainpipe. Increasing numbers of grizzly/polar bear hybrids being discovered; thought to be result of climate change. Woman gives birth to 15lb (6.8kg) baby (by Caearean section). Man pulls 12-tonne double-decker bus with his ponytail. UK supermarket launches range of iced muffins for dogs. Students buy box of eggs, crack seven double-yokers in a row (1000-1 chance per egg); woman visits sister's restaurant to cook herself breakfast, cracks open triple-yoke egg (25,000,000:1 chance). Macdonalds CEO claims that minimum wage laws will make it more cost-effective to employ robots than people. Mother whose video of herself wearing Chewbacca mask went viral is given haul of Star Wars goodies including Chewie masks for her children. Non-shock study links taking selfies to narcissism. Research finds correlation between regular pornography viewing and strong religious belief. Chinese transport engineers propose elevated wide single-deck bus/tram that can pass over the top of two lanes of (non-lorry) traffic. Car pursued by 20,000 strong bee swarm for two days after queen bee trapped in the boot. Man claims housing association ordered him to remove garden pond as it posed a safety hazard - for burglars.

^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS

UK govt reportedly considering imposing VAT on adult colouring books. Angry Birds film tops US box office. Queen Elizabeth I 'armada' portrait up for sale - campaign launched to raise £10m ($14.7m) to keep it in the UK. Final series of Broadchurch filming before writer Chris Chibnall takes charge of Doctor Who; Sir Lenny Henry, Roy Hudd, Sarah Parish among guest cast. Hollyoaks' Anna Shaffer lands role in Doctor Who spin-off Class. First it was Ladybird books, now Enid Blyton's Famous Five stories are to get spoof editions. Facebook forced to apologise for banning plus-sized ad. Terry Gilliam resurrecting The Man Who Killed Don Quixote film project. BPI says one in six music albums sold worldwide last year was by a British artist. Previously unexhibited photos of David Bowie on show in Los Angeles. Drake tops UK album and singles charts together for the second time this year. Two French music festivals drop Eagles of Death Metal over Bataclan security comments by lead singer. Elvis Presley guitar auctions for $334,000 (£230,000); Lady Gaga's first piano, valued at $100,000 (£ 67,900) fails to sell. Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake takes Palme d'Or at Cannes. Paul Gambaccini taking over BBC Radio 2's Pick of the Pops. Hungarian rock singer suing Kanye West for copyright infringement. Rebel Wilson joining Guys and Dolls in London's West End. Consumer magazine Which? claims online secondary ticketing websites are routinely breaching ticket resale laws. Paul Murray, Hannah Rothschild share Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. Griff Rhys-Jones returning to West End theatre in The Miser. Dame Helen Mirren to record audiobook of recently-discovered Beatrix Potter story The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots. 1980s snooker giant Steve Davis to DJ set at Glastonbury. Japanese pop star Mayu Tomita in critical condition after being stabbed by "fan". Madonna's Purple Rain Prince tribute at Billboard Music Awards widely panned. BPI renew criticism of Google over payment for YouTube views. UK Northern Ballet company staging production of Jane Eyre, following on from last year's Wuthering Heights. Sir Tom Jones to make first public appearance since his wife's death at the Hay Festival ahead of UK tour from June. European Commission proposes minimum 20% quota on European-produced programming for on-demand video streaming services including Netflix, Amazon. Collection of first four folios of Shakespeare's plays to go on display in Blackburn. Waterstones to stop selling e-books, divert customers to Kobo. First full trailer for Star Trek Beyond released. Bill Cosby ordered to stand trial over sexual assault charges. Teaser trailer for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast becomes most watched teaser of all time with 91.8m hits in the first 24 hours, 4m more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. BBC to make drama based on Dame Barbara Windsor's life. Johnny Depp, Amber Heard divorcing. Royal Mail unveils stamps featuring Pink Floyd.

^OBITUARIES

Drummer Nick Menza (Megadeth; 51), musician John Berry (The Beastie Boys, 52), actress Nancy Dow (The Ice House, mother of Jennifer Aniston, 79), actor Burt Kwouk (The Pink Panther films, Tenko, 85), cartoonist Mell Lazarus (Momma, Miss Peach, 89), actor Buck Kartalian (Planet of the Apes, 93), Bletchley Park codebreaker Jane Fawcett (95), actor Alan Young (Mr Ed, 96).

^ WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

Way back in the mists of time, about twenty years ago, most people got their in-depth news the day after it happened, printed on newspapers. Today most - if not all - newspapers also have an online presence. This week's site is a directory of thousands of online newspapers around the world.
- http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/

^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!

Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
5, 24, 26, 32, 35, 36
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/dumbledore.htm.

^ AND FINALLY...

    Little Jennifer's grandmother had taken Little Jennifer and her parents out for dinner. As was her wont, her grandmother picked up the sachets of various sauces on the table and surrepticiously dropped them into her handbag, saying "I save so much money doing this."
    "I know, Mum," Little Jennifer's mother sighed, "You always do that..."
    Little Jennifer sat quietly, looking thoughtful, until the food arrived, when she turned to the waitress and, in her sweetest, most innocent voice, asked, "Please may I have some ketchup? Granny hid all the packets in her bag."


^ ...end of line