The Friday Irregular

Issue #400 - 21 October 2016

Edited by and copyright ©2016 Simon Lamont

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Contents |
pot-valiant (alt. potvaliant)
  adj. being brave solely as a result of being drunk.


Friday 21 October   -   Historian Cosmas of Prague died, 1125. Ferdinand Magellan discovered the strait between Tierra del Fuego and mainland South America that now bears his name, 1520. Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge born, 1772. Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, died, 1805. A group of 38 nurses under Florence Nightingale were sent to the Crimean War, 1854. Explorer Isabelle Eberhardt died, 1904. Musician Dizzy Gillespie born, 1917. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened, 1959. Actor Ken Watanabe born, 1959.
Saturday 22 October   -   The creation of the world, at about 6pm, according to the Ussher chronology, 4004 BCE. Mathematician and astronomer Erasmus Reinhold born, 1511. Bibliophile Jean Grolier de Servières died, 1565. André-Jacques Garnerin made the first recorded parachute jump, from approximately 1,000m (3,200 feet) above Paris, 1797. Actress Sarah Bernhardt born, 1844. Artist Paul Cézanne died, 1906. Rapper Shaggy born, 1968. Author Kingsley Amis died, 1995. Grand Theft Auto III was released, 2001. Make a Difference Day in the USA.
Sunday 23 October   -   Roman general and politician Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was born, 64 BCE. The Battle of Edgehill, the first major battle of the First English Civil War, was fought, 1642. Actress Anne Oldfield died, 1730. Lexicographer Pierre Larousse born, 1817. The first National Women's Rights Convention opened in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1850. Cricketer W.G. Grace died, 1915. Soccer player Pelé born, 1940. The Smurfs made their first appearance, in Spirou magazine, 1958. Singer Alvin Stardust died, 2014. Mole Day (chemists).
Monday 24 October   -   The first phase of the Hundred Years' War ended with the ratification of the Treaty of Brétigny, 1360. Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII of England, died, 1537. Anthony Babington, leader of the eponymous plot against Elizabeth I of England, born, 1561. Astronomer Tycho Brahe died, 1601. William Lassell discovered Ariel and Umbriel, two of the moons of Uranus, 1851. Actress Sybil Thorndike born, 1882. The United Nations was founded, 1945. Bassist & songwriter Debbie Googe born, 1962. Comic book artist Mike Esposito died, 2010. World Polio Day.
Tuesday 25 October   -   Poet Geoffrey Chaucer died, 1400. The Battle of Agincourt in the Hundred Years' war, 1415. King George II of Great Britain died, 1760. Poet, historian & politician Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, born, 1800. The Charge of the Light Brigade took place in the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, 1854. Artist Pablo Picasso born, 1881. Francis Beckman, Archbishop of Dubuque, Iowa, denounced swing music as "a degenerated musical system ... turned loose to gnaw away at the moral fiber of young people", 1938. Singer-songwriter Helen Reddy born, 1941. British radio presenter John Peel died, 2004.
Wednesday 26 October   -   An earthquake devastated Constantinople, 740. King Alfred the Great died, 899. William Sprague, co-founder of Charlestown, Massachusetts, born, 1609. Artist & engraver William Hogarth died, 1764. King George III of Great Britain appeared before Parliament to declare that the American colonies were in rebellion and authorise a military response to quell the American Revolution, 1775. Film director Don Siegel born, 1912. Actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award, died, 1952. The first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 was made from New York City to Paris, 1958. Singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant born, 1963.
Thursday 27 October   -   Æthelstan, the first King of England, died, 939. Amsterdam founded (traditional date), 1275. Explorer Lope de Aguirre died, 1561. Composer Niccolò Paganini born, 1782. Bellini's opera Il pirata premiered at La Scala in Milan, 1827. Poet & playwright Dylan Thomas born, 1914. The British government deregulated financial markets in the Big Bang, 1986. Cricketer David Warner born, 1986. Actor Charles Hawtrey died, 1988. World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Black Cat Appreciation Day (UK).


This week, DJ John Peel:
A card from Michael, and he says, could I play a record for his friend who has just come back from Nepal after two and a half years where he's been talking with the stones. I'm not entirely sure this isn't a medical condition actually, Michael. If the stones have been talking back to him, then I think we have real cause for concern.


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...

COULROMANIA (STILL). Two people dressed as clowns are reported to have threatened a woman in Sweden. Also in Sweden, a teenager has been stabbed in the shoulder by a man in a clown mask. Two girls in Bury St Edmunds, England, reportedly threatened by machete-wielding clown. Elsewhere in the UK, a 10-year-old in Plymouth was threatened by a clown, and an 11-year-old in Workington was also threatened. A 13-yar-old boy has been arrested and bailed for sending a girl of the same age Instagram messages threatening assault by a clown. Aviation police arrested a suspect wearing a clown mask and carrying a fake gun five miles from Heathrow Airport. A Lancashire joiner who told police that a knife-wielding clown had slashed his hand while he was trying to disarm him has been given a penalty notice for wasting police time after it emerged that he had cut his hand when falling on broken glass. A 10-year-old has been excluded from school and threatened with expulsion for wearing a clown mask in the playground.

NOT SO HEAVY METAL. A piece of metal that was dug up in Romania in 1973 is getting UFO fans excited because it seems to be made of lightweight aluminium and was dated to 250,000 years old. Humans did not produce aluminium until about 200 years ago. Three objects were found about 33' (10m) underground by builders near the Mures River in central Romania and sent to the city of Cluj for analysis, where it was detetermined that two were bones from an extinct mammal that died between 10,000 and 80,000 years ago, but the third object, which appeared to have been manufactured, was composed of twelve metals, 90% aluminium, and Swiss scientists later confirmed its age as about 250,000 years. The shape of the object, some 7.8" (20cm) long, 4.9" (12.5cm) wide and 2.8" (7cm) thick, includes concave areas that give the impression that it was manufactured to be part of a larger mechanism. A local historian claims that it is really from a German World War II aircraft, but that does not explain the dating by two independent laboratories. The Deputy Director of the Romanian Ufologists Association is adamant that the object could not be man-made, even with today's technology, and that it must be of alien origin. The museum where it is on display merely notes that it is of "origin still unknown". News of the object was suppressed by the then communist regime.

OOPS. Virginia NBC newsreader Eric Philips was doing a piece on the recall of a particular brand of rice and slow cookers when he accidentally read a typo on his autocue. Instead of telling viewers that they should go check the pantries, he told them to "check your panties". Immediately realising the blunder he cracked up, while his copresenter apologised to him, saying that she had seen the error but had no way of warning him, and the weather presenter came into shot with an "I just want to say hello to the internet." Needless to say the clip has gone viral. On the other side of the Pond, BBC Breakfast presenters were left somewhat red faced (with laughter, we suspect) after announcing an upcoming interview with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as the video feed showed the gorilla that briefly escaped from its enclosure at London Zoo. (clip).

CRUNCH. Like pretty much all manufactured foods, crisps (US: potato chips) have a best before or expiry date printed on the packets. While it's unlikely that any would be kept long enough to actually reach the date, there is something rather unusual about Walkers crisps' expiry dates. There's even a Facebook page about it. All Walkers packets of crisps expire on a Saturday, apparently. The answer is, unfortunately, mundane, although the mystery is enough for Walkers to include it in the FAQ (Frequently-Asked-Questions) section of their website. "In the manufacturing sites we work on production weeks which start on a Sunday. All product produced in that week will have the same Best Before date. As the week ends on a Saturday, the Best Before date will always end on a Saturday." So now we know.

OH, MUMMY! The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the most intriguing buildings still surviving from antiquity, and it continues to throw up mysteries. Last year scientist used thermal scanning to identify an anomaly but new scanning techniques combining infrared thermography, muon radiographic imaging and 3D reconstruction has found two 'voids' behind the north wall of the pyramid, one of which could be a corridor going further inside the structure. The two areas are not connected. The team tested their technology first on the smaller Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, indentifying two entrances leading to burial chambers. There is no word yet of whether they will now investigate the Sphinx, long-rumoured to contain a secret chamber.

IN BRIEF: Home-alone 18-year-old calls police after hearing noises coming from the roof; officers discover it was his family's Great Dane dog snuffling about in the converted loft space. Joined-at-the-head conjoined twins Jaden and Anias McDonald successfully separated. Man on mission against Cornwall County Council has spent four years taking 15,000 photographs of drains. Never mind being attacked by seagulls, a golden eagle is on the loose near Watford, Herts. Man filmed in Thailand riding moped and pulling long line of toy cars behind him. Marks & Spencer cross croissant and bread to produce the 'Croloaf'. Man remodelling his house finds hidden suitcase containing newspapers dated 1951 and $23,000 (£18,805) including some unused and rare notes. 14lb (6.35kg) lobster - possibly over 70 years old - caught off Bermuda in the wake of Hurricane Nicole; it was returned to the sea. Online retailer pulls Kim Kardashian* robbery Halloween costume including white robe, giant ring, black wig and sunglasses, fake gag and a length of rope [* For legal reasons she was not named in the listing]. 50-year-old Hunduran man who tried having sex with a bottle gets stuck; four days later seeks medical help; ends up having "completely dead" penis amputated. Austrian government decide to pull down house where Adolf Hitler was born after completion of compulsory-purchase order from owner who refused to sell it or allow alterations, new building will be used by charities or local government. Seven Sale Sharks professional rugby union players get stuck in hotel lift because their combined weight was over its limit, freed in time for match. Malaysian fast food chain told to rename hot dogs to meet halal certification because they don't contain dog meat. 26-year-old has to be rescued from chimney after locking himself out of his house. Survey finds that almost 50% of men either shave or trim their leg hair. Would-be Arkansas bank robber has plot foiled after trying to buy a second-hand getaway bike - from a uniformed policeman.


This is Spinal Tap co-creator Harry Shearer sues for $125m (£102.2m) over profits. J.K. Rowling planning scripts for four more Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films, hints at inclusion of Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Damian Lewis to star in West End revival of Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? Green Day claim third UK #1 album spot ahead of Barry Gibb; James Arthur holds UK #1 singles spot for third week, ahead of The Chainsmokers fetured Halsey. Last year's Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain signs deal with BBC, quashing rumours of her moving to Channel 4 to present the series when it moves there. The Accountant tops US box office ahead of Kevin Hart: What Now? and The Girl on the Train. ITV recommissions revived Cold Feet for another series. Phil Collins announces European comeback tour; likely he'll just be singing and his son playing drums, but not ruling out In the Air Tonight drum riff if he feels up to it. Victoria Wood fans have voted for her memorial statue in Bury to depict dinnerladies' Bren. Filming underway on Paddington 2, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson joining returning cast. Most non-subscribers apparently find music streaming services too expensive; in the UK 10% of adults subscribe for music streaming against 27% who belong to video streaming services. Smithsonian launches crowd-funding appeal to restore and conserve the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz. TrueTube becomes first online-only service to be nominated for Bafta children's channel of the year award. 90th anniversary of Winnie the Pooh being marked with four new stories, introducing new character Pengiun based on toy photographed with Christopher Robin and A.A. Milne. Coolio charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after gun found in his baggage at Los Angeles International Airport last month. Treehouse of Horror XXVI, the 600th episode of The Simpsons broadcast in the US, first scripted show to reach the milestone since Gunsmoke; still 35 shows behind Gunsmoke's total. DJ Tony Blackburn returning to BBC Radio 2 eight months after being sacked over contradictory evidence to Jimmy Saville enquiry. Leeds penhouse flat that belonged to Saville and was allegedly the location of one of his abuses of children demolished. Victoria Coren Mitchell to host Radio 4 women's motoring show. AMC renews The Walking Dead for eighth series ahead of broadcast of seventh. Comic book heroine Wonder Woman to be honorary United Nations ambassador to promote women's empowerment and campaign against gender-based violence. Radiohead to headline Glastonbury 2017.


Jia Jia (World's oldest Giant Panda in captivity, 38), rugby union player & coach Anthony Foley (Ireland, Munster, 42), actor Eddie Applegate (Easy A, The Patty Duke Show, 81), filmmaker Ted V. Mikels (The Doll Squad, The Astro-Zombies, 87), actress Jean Alexander (Coronation Street, 90).


As this is the 400th Friday Irregular, here are some facts about the number 400 (and 401-499), courtesy of Wikipedia.


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
2, 13, 46, 48, 53, 54
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    Little Jennifer came home from school on the first day of the new school year, and her mother asked her how it had gone. "Well, mummy, we each had one of the new kids assigned to us, so they could ask us for help getting around school and stuff. I was helping Little Marian."
    "And how did you help her?" her mother asked.
    "Well, she said she'd never been in a classroom before, so I told her that Miss was a bit slow, and she would have to be patient with her."
    "Little Jennifer! All the teachers at your school are very intelligent. How could you say that hers was slow?"
    "You see, mummy, she's got Miss Hanks, who taught us in first year. For the first two weeks she kept asking us what 2+2 was, and no matter how many times we told her it was 4 she kept having to ask again the next day!"

^ ...end of line