The Friday Irregular

Issue #408 - 6 January 2017

Edited by and copyright ©2017 Simon Lamont
tfir@simonlamont.co.uk

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^ WORD OF THE WEEK
Borborygmus
  n. [medical] the gurgling or rumbling noise made by fluid and gas moving in the intestines.


^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Friday 6 January   -   The coronation of Cnut the Great as King of England, 1017. Gilbert de Clare, 1st Earl of Pembroke, died, 1148. Joan of Arc born, 1412. The Committee of enquiry on the South Sea Bubble released its findings, 1721. Artist Gustave Doré born, 1832. Louis Braille, inventor of the eponymous tactile alphabet for the visually impaired, born, 1852. Actor Eddie Redmayne born, 1982. Dancer Rudolph Nureyev died, 1993. Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the knee with a baton at the behest of rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband and bodyguard, 1994.
 
Saturday 7 January   -   Li Bian, emperor of Southern Tang, born, 889. Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII of England, died, 1536. Galileo Galilei first observed the four largest moons of Jupiter, now known as the Galilean moons, 1610. Agronomist Jonas Alströmer born, 1685. 'CQD' was established as a distress signal (replaced two years later by 'SOS'), 1904. Conservationist and writer Gerald Durrell born, 1925. Physicist Nikola Tesla died, 1943. Two gunmen killed twelve people and injured another eleven at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, 2015. Actor Rod Taylor died, 2015.
 
Sunday 8 January   -   A force under François Grimaldi captured the Rock of Monaco, establishing his family as rulers of Monaco, 871. Viking leader Bagsecg killed in battle, 871. Astronomer Johannes Fabricius born, 1587. Polymath Galileo Galilei died, 1642. Handel's opera seria Ariodante premiered at Covent Garden, 1735. Writer Wilkie Collins born, 1824. Musician David Bowie born, 1947. Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa went on display in the United States for the first time, 1963. Actress Yvonne de Carlo died, 2007.
 
Monday 9 January   -   Basiliscus gained control of the Byzantine empire after Emperor Zeno was forced to flee Constantinople, 475. Merchant explorer Marco Polo died, 1324. Scholar Crinitus born, 1475. The state funeral of Admiral Horatio, Lord Nelson in St Paul's Cathedral, London, 1806. astronomer Caroline Hershel died, 1848. Jennie Jerome, later Lady Randolph Churchill, born, 1854. Scientist Charles-Émile Reynaud, inventor of the Praxinoscope, died, 1918. Singer-songwriter Crystal Gayle born, 1951. Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone at Macworld in San Francisco, 2007.
 
Tuesday 10 January   -   Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, precipitating a civil war in the Roman Republic, 49 BCE. Writer Joshua Barnes born, 1654. Botanist Nicholas Culpeper died, 1654. The first stretch of the London Underground opened between Paddington and Farringdon stations, 1863. Sculptor Barbara Hepworth born, 1903. Soldier and showman William "Buffalo Bill" Cody died, 1917. The US Army Signals Corps successfully bounced radio waves off the moon and received the reflected signals in Project Diana, 1946. Producer/screenwriter Fran Walsh born, 1959. Actress Maila Nurmi died, 2008.
 
Wednesday 11 January   -   Otto of Nordheim, Duke of Bavaria (as Otto II, 1061-1070), died, 1083 Artist Parmigianino born, 1503. Parts of Malta and Sicily were devastated in an earthquake, 1693. Alexander Hamilton, first United States Secretary of the Treasury, born, 1755. William Herschel discovered Titan and Oberon, two of the moons of Uranus, 1787. Harry Selfridge, founder of the London department store which bears his name, born, 1858. Cricketer Johnny Briggs died, 1902. Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California, 1935. Actress Anita Ekberg died, 2015.
 
Thursday 12 January   -   Writer Charles Perrault, founder of the fairy tales genre of fiction, born, 1628. Mathematician Pierre de Fermat died, 1665. John Rennie's scheme to save St Mary's Church, Reculver, from coastal erosion was abandoned, 1808. Artist John Singer Sargent born, 1856. The National Trust in the United Kingdom was founded, 1895. Boxer Joe Frazier born, 1944. Writer Neville Shute died, 1960. The RMS Queen Mary 2 made her maiden voyage, 2004. Actress Alexandra Bastedo died, 2014.


^ THE WISDOM OF...

This week, Mark Twain:
New Year's Day - Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.


^ FILM QUIZ

A bag of quotations from films with a common actor or actress this week. Answers next issue or from the regular address. Last issue's festive quotations were:


^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS

Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...

SPECIAL ORDER! Feeley's Fish & Chip Shop in Belfast is one of a growing number of take-away shops in the UK to accept online orders, with space provided for notes on the order. Last week they received an order with the following note: "Will you please stop in spar on the way and get me benylin cold and flu tablets and Ill give you the money, only ordering food so I can get the tablets Im dying sick xx" Feeley's posted an image of the note on their Facebook page, followed by a picture of the box of pills and a message of "get well soon" to the customer, adding that they will send her a free meal when she has recovered. At the time of reporting the post had been liked 8,000 times.

DID THE EARTH MOVE? In the early evening of last Tuesday night a magnitude 3.9 earthquake - one of the largest to hit Britain in the last ten years - occurred 93 miles off the Scarborough coast, at a depth of 11 miles, but no one - apart from geologists monitoring such things - seems to have noticed. There were no reports of injury or damage, prompting some fun on Twitter, including a picture of small waves lapping gently on the beach captioned "North Yorks council give all clear after earthquake. No tsunami waves spotted by experts in Scarborough. Bingo to resume ASAP" and a picture of the (already) ruined Scarborough Castle captioned "Harrowing image of Scarborough Castle following the 3.9 earthquake tonight. Hard to believe that, only yesterday, this was a Travelodge." The biggest earthquake to hit Britain was also in the North Sea, some 60 miles offshore near Dogger Bank and had a magnitude of 6.1; that one did cause minor structural damage to buildings.

WHOOPS! A former guard at Buckingham Palace in London has revealed in The Times that he nearly shot the Queen while on night duty. At 3am he thought he saw an intruder and challenged them, only to discover that it was Her Majesty who, unable to sleep, had decided to go for a walk in the palace grounds. He reportedly blurted out "Bloody hell, Your Majesty, I nearly shot you." The Queen, who is known for her calm unfazed demeanour, responded "That's quite all right. Next time I'll ring through beforehand so you don't have to shoot me."

IT'S A WIND UP. Online shopper Yasmin Hampson was thrilled when she managed to get a delivery slot from Tesco Extra on December 23, but was rather surprised when her food for Christmas lunch arrived, as after handing over the rest of the delivery the driver held up a large bag containing a single Brussels sprout, priced at 3p (5c). Hampson later explained that when she placed the order she had clicked on one sprout to activate it and put 'one kilo' [2.2lb] in the picker's notes. She added that "I had a good laugh with the delivery lad, who said he was going to take it straight back." Tesco delivered the full kilo of sprouts later that day.

HERE WE GO AGAIN. Author David Meade is claiming (in a new book, of course), that a mysterious dark planet called Nibiru will collide with Earth in October causing the extinction of all life on the planet. Why have astronomers not spotted it? Well, they are either colluding with "the elite" who are "frantically building underground bunkers" or unable to see it as its long orbit is oblique to the Solar System ecliptic, meaning that it would only be visible from high over Southern latitudes. NASA have previously described Nibiru as an Internet hoax; in fact it predates the growth of the popular internet, originating in a 1976 book The 12th Planet by author Zecharia Sitchin who, much like Erich von Däniken, advocated the idea that extraterrestrial events and ancient astronauts shaped human history, in Sitchin's case through a misreading of Mesopotamian iconography.

IN BRIEF: Cat stowaway found in van 200 miles from his home before Christmas still unclaimed. Flight simulator causes fire at Frankfurt airport. Human hand washes up on Isle of Wight beach. Child asks Amazon's Alexa to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star; Alexa responds with pornographic song about dildos. Lone Australian deep sea fisherman pulled off his boat by marlin; has to tread water for six hours until rescued after his speeding, abandoned boat was spotted. 13,000 km2 (5,020 mile2) Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela is most lightning-struck place on Earth. Virgin America flight delayed, subsequent flight cancelled after hoaxer passenger changes their phone's SSID wi-fi identifier to 'Samsung Galaxy Note 7' [The Note 7 is the phone that notoriously kept catching fire before being withdrawn last year; the US Department of Transportation banned them from being carried on planes]. Scientists believe dinosaur eggs could have been incubated for up to 6 months, making them more vulnerable to predators and climate change. German scientists advise leaning forward (like penguins) when walking on snow and ice to avoid slipping. GAP cashier issues refund for waistcoat/shirt combo bought 17 years ago - picture of manager's response note goes viral. Animated children's TV show Postman Pat viewer comes up with new theory about the services Pat offers - he is the only adult in the village of Greendale with red hair, and yet almost all the children in the school have red hair...


^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS

US box office takings last year broke 2015's record; Variety puts it down to more expensive tickets. UK Christmas book charts dominated by parodies of Enid Blyton's Famous Five stories. US Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly who clashed with Donald Trump during election campaign leaving Fox after 12 years to move to NBC. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes debut hosting US The Celebrity Apprentice, replaces 'You're fired' with 'You're terminated'. Cinderella opera written by 11-year-old composer gets standing ovation at Vienna premiere. Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels launches trademark lawsuit on clothing retailers including Amazon & Wal*mart selling unliscensed items carrying band's logo. Star Wars: Episode VIII spokesman confirms that Carrie Fisher had completed filming her scenes before her death. Sebastian Barry wins Costa novel prize for second time, for Days Without End. Clean Bandit claim UK Christmas singles chart #1 spot ahead of Rag N Bone Man, Steve Aoki ft Louis Tomlinson, Little Mix and Mariah Carey; controversial The X Factor novelty rap act Honey G debuts at 149. George Michael post-mortem 'inconclusive'. Call the Midwife South African special was most-watched UK TV show on Christmas day, but ratings were down across the board as they do not include phone or online viewing. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tops UK box office for third week. Game of Thrones named as most-pirated TV show for fifth year running. The Great British Bake Off's former presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins nominated for National Television Awards along with former judge Mary Berry ahead of show's move to Channel 4. Janet Jackson, 50, gives birth to son. Mariah Carey, Dick Clark Productions embroiled in row over lip-synch failure at New Year's Eve show. Rebecca Ferguson confirms she has been asked to perform at Donald Trump's inauguration, says she will only if she can perform Billie Holliday's civil rights anthem Strange Fruit. Forbes names Scarlet Johansson as top grossing actor of 2016, ahead of tied Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr; Margot Robbie, Amy Adams also in top 5. Sir Bradley Wiggins joining Channel 4's The Jump. After Universal accidentally release The Mummy trailer without sound effects Tom Cruise's scream becomes ringtone. Sales of vinyl albums in UK at 25-year high; rise of streaming services sees drop in CD and download sales. Trainspotting T2 to get world premiere in Edinburgh later this month. James Taylor cancels concert in Manila over reports of extrajudicial killings in country's drugs war.


^OBITUARIES

Giant panda Pan Pan (31), chess grandmaster Ashot Anastasian (52), singer-songwriter George Michael (Wham!, Faith, 53), actor & comedian Ricky Harris (Heat, 54), journalist Lester Haines (The Register, 55), actress Carrie Fisher (Star Wars, 60), astronaut Piers Sellers (61), magazine editor Franca Sozzani (Vogue Italia, 66), former air stewardess Vesna Vulović (survivor of the highest ever fall by a human without a parchute, after her plane broke up at 33,000' (10km) in 1972, 66), guitarist Rick Parfitt (Status Quo, 68), cosmonaut Igor Volk (79), actor William Christopher (M*A*S*H, 84), actress Debbie Reynolds (Singing in the Rain, mother of Carrie Fisher, 84), TV journalist Brian Widlake (ITN, Radio 4, 85), pop manager Allan Williams (The Beatles, 86), astronomer Vera Rubin (research into galaxy rotation which led to dark matter theory, 88), art critic & author John Berger (Ways of Seeing, 90), actress Liz Smith (The Vicar of Dibley, The Royle Family, 95), author Richard Adams (Watership Down, 96), animation artist Tyrus Wong (Bambi, 106).


^ WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

Memes are everywhere on social media. Here are the Daily Dot's picks for the best and biggest memes of 2016.
- http://www.dailydot.com/unclick/best-memes-2016/


^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!

Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
3, 22, 25, 29, 40, 41
[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 had just given her parents her school report and they were looking at her grades. "E - tenth in class, C - fifth in class, B - fourth in class, D - seventh in class, E - eleventh in class...? Little Jennifer," her father asked her, "Aren't you first at anything?"
    Little Jennifer thought for a moment, smiled and looked up proudly. "Yes, Daddy. When the bell rings at the end of the school day I'm always first out of the door!"


^ ...end of line