The Friday Irregular

Issue #427 - 26th May 2017

Edited by and copyright ©2017 Simon Lamont

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  For Manchester.


Friday 26th May   -   The Venerable Bede, historian, died, 735. An earthquake struck Kamakura, Kanagawa in Japan, killing 30,000, 1293. Artist Philippe de Champaigne born, 1602. Diarist and politician Samuel Pepys died, 1703. Napoléon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy, 1805. Entertainer Al Jolson born, 1886. In WW2, the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk began, 1940. Astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, born, 1951. Broadcaster Art Linketter died, 2010.
Saturday 27th May   -   John was crowned King of England, 1199. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, executed, 1541. William II, Prince of Orange born, 1626. Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great, 1703. Journalist & activist Amelia Bloomer born, 1818. Composer Niccolò Paganini died, 1840. The Centralia mine fire was ignited (and is still burning), 1962. Chef Heston Blumenthal born, 1966. Poet & singer-songwriter Gil Scott-Heron died, 2011. World MS Day.
Sunday 28th May   -   Countess Caterina Sforza, regent of Forli, died, 1509. The first ships of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon, 1588. William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, born, 1759. Novelist Anne Brontë died, 1849. The Gare d'Orsay railway station in Paris was inaugurated, 1900. James Bond creator Ian Fleming born, 1908. 18-year-old West German Mathias Rust evaded Soviet air defences to fly to, and land in, Red Square, Moscow, 1987. Paralympic sprinter Johnnie Peacock born, 1993. Writer Maya Angelou died, 2014.
Monday 29th May   -   Explorer Bartolomeu Dias died, 1500. Charles II born, 1630, and was restored to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1660. Selenographer Johann von Mädler born, 1794. Chemist & inventor of the miners' safety lamp Humphry Davy died, 1829. Jennie Lind, "the Swedish Nightingale", left America after her two-year tour, 1852. Writer T.H. White born, 1906. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, 1953. Weather presenter & broadcaster Carol Kirkwood born, 1962. Actor Dennis Hopper died, 2010. World Digestive Health Day. International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. Oak Apple Day in parts of England.
Tuesday 30th May   -   Roman forces breached the Second Wall of Jerusalem during the Siege, 70. Astronomer Georg von Peuerbach born, 1423. Joan of Arc executed, 1431. The last ships of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon, 1588. Poet Alexander Pope died, 1744. Mathematician Eugène Catalan born, 1814. John Francis attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria in London, 1842. Actor Claude Rains died, 1967. Film director & screenwriter Duncan Jones born, 1971.
Wednesday 31st May   -   Japanese Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu died, 1408. Artist Alessandro Allori born, 1535. King Henry III of France laid the first stone of the Pont Neuf in Paris, 1578. Poet Walt Whitman born, 1819. Clown Joseph Grimaldi died, 1837. The clock in the Clock Tower (now the Elizabeth Tower) of the Houses of Parliament in London began keeping time, 1859. Drummer John Bonham born, 1948. Vanity Fair revealed Mark Felt as having been "Deep Throat", 2005. Television screenwriter Carla Lane died, 2016. World No Tobacco Day.
Thursday 1st June   -   The Mongols under Genghis Khan captured Zhongdu (present-day Beijing), 1215. Artist Maarten van Heemskerck born, 1498. South African folk hero Wolraad Woltemade died, 1773. Continental Army general Benedict Arnold was court-martialed for malfeasance, 1779. King Otto of Greece born, 1815. Accused murderer Lizzie Borden died, 1927. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released, 1967. Singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette born, 1974. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent died, 2008. Neighbours' Day. World Milk Day. Global Day of Parents.


This week, Langdon Winner, in Rolling Stone:
The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released. In every city in Europe and America the radio stations played [it] ... and everyone listened ... it was the most amazing thing I've ever heard. For a brief while the irreparable fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young.


A mixed bag of quotations. Answers next issue or from the regular address. Last issue's quotations were from films starring Uma Thurman:


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

BLING! Back in the 1980s an unnamed woman bought a ring at a car boot sale in West London for £10 ($12.95 [today's exchange rate]). It looked to her to be costume jewellery, with a large dull gem resembling a diamond in a "filthy" mount. She wore it every day for the next 30 years until she took it to Sotheby's auction house for appraisal. They recognised it as possibly a 19th century cut, intended to preserve weight rather than shine, as modern cutting does, and tests by the Gemological Institute of America confirmed that the £10 'costume jewellery' diamond was a genuine 26 carat diamond. It is due to be auctioned by Sotheby's next month, with an estimated value of £350,000 ($453,110).

MARIO! Japanese police are urging Super Mario-themed tour operators to improve their safety standards in light of a number of accidents. The tours see people who payed up to 8,000 yen (£55, $72) driving go-karts around Tokyo, frequently in cosplay outfits as Mario or other game characters. The go-karts, fitted with 50cc engines, are legally classed as mopeds, and so are fitted with lights and signals, but no seat belts. This, coupled with their low visibility and drivers who may be unaware of local traffic laws, has resulted in twelve incidents in the last two months, including a South Korean woman who was unable to correctly steer through a turning and crashed into a police box. There are also concerns about the drivers using their phones, either to make calls or take selfies, while at the wheel which is illegal under Japanese law.

STEP DOWN! One of the most prominent features of Mount Everest for climbers is no more. A near-vertical 39' (12m) outcrop just below the summit, known as the Hilary Step, after Sir Edmund Hilary, who was the first man to conquer Everest (See Monday, above), has collapsed, probably as a result of the earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015. The absence of the Step could make reaching the summit easier, leading to bottlenecks among climbers and increased risk of frostbite and oxygen depletion for those relying on bottled oxygen.

SOYLENT SHAKE, ANYONE? When you die, the choices for your funeral for the last 20,000 years ago have basically been burial (either in the ground or sky burial - left in the open to be devoured by birds and other predators) or cremation. A third possibility has been in practice in parts of the US and Canada for five years, and is due to become available in the UK. Alkaline hydrolisis sees the body dissolved in an alkaline solution based on potassium hydroxide, which reduces the body to a skeleton that can be ground to powder. This avoids the cost of both traditional burial (in materials and land use) and cremation, which can use the same amount of energy to burn a single body as would be needed to heat a house in the depths of winter. The hydrolysis machinery takes about three hours to dissolve a body and rinse the bones. The resulting liquid is sterile and contains no DNA, and can be flushed down the drain.Metal joint implants are left in perfect condition, and could, the manufacturers suggest, be donated for use in the developing world.

JUST PASSING THROUGH. It is prom season in the US and Canada and one group of students in Vancouver found their photograph, on the Stanley Park Seawall, photobombed by a jogger. Some of the students realised that the jogger was no ordinary citizen, it was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They asked him to stop and pose for pictures, which he happily did, as tweeted by the prom group's photographer Cameron Corrado. It is not the first time Trudeau has accidentally photobombed events. In August 2016 a bride-to-be was being photographed on a beach in Tofino, British Columbia, in preparation for her beach wedding, and Trudeau - on holiday - was in the background. Then a Canadian family in Gatineau Park, Quebec, found him emerging from a cave while hiking.

IN BRIEF: Russian authorities using YouTube pop videos to lecture young protesters. Google's AlphaGo taking on world number 1 Go player, Ke Jie, wins first of three matches. Dog gets loose in Russian TV studio, interrupts news. Spoof video of fidget spinner being used to adjust face makeup goes viral. Russian father and son make working Transformer out of old Lada. Man proposes to nurse girlfriend by hiding ring in stomach wound. Dog owner who feared his rescue Yorkshire Terrier could have twisted stomach relieved (as was the Yorkie) when the dog passed trapped wind on the x-ray table. Dubai building robot police force; Russia planning to deploy robot to "protect football fans from hooligans" at World Cup. New British £10 ($12.95) note design criticised for giving Jane Austen a makeover. Nottingham fire brigade complaining about art installation that pumps clouds of steam from gallery roof as people think it is a fire and call emergency services. Five-year-old tears up £5,000 ($6,473) of banknotes left unattended by father. Florida woman finds python in her laundry.


Untitled painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat auctions for record $110.5m (£85m) in New York. Drake beats Adele's record Billboard Awards haul with 13 (list of winners below). Controversial (because it did not have a cinema release) Netflix film Okja booed at Cannes Film Festival screening, stopped and restarted after screening in wrong aspect ratio. 1950s/70s British children's character Captain Pugwash being adapted for live-action feature film, starring Nick Frost. LucasFilm's Kathleen Kennedy confirms that Princess Leia was planned to be focus of Star Wars: Episode IX before Carrie Fisher's death; script rewritten to remove character. Former 1960s pirate radio station Radio Caroline given AM broadcast license. Harry Style's debut solo album enters UK chart at #1 ahead of Ed Sheeran, Rag'N'Bone Man, Paramour and Paul Weller. Hugh Grant to play Jeremy Thorpe, MP, in Russell T Davies-written BBC drama serial based on John Preston's A Very English Scandal. Ol Parker to write, direct Mamma Mia sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again reuniting original cast, for July 2018 release. Team behind Elstree 1976 documentary feature on masked performers in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope announce followup with Elstree 1979, focussing on the stuntmen of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. Tom Cruise confirms Top Gun sequel, likely directed by Joseph Kosinski. RockStar Games delays Red Dead Redemption 2 until spring 2018. UK premieres of Wonder Woman and The Mummy cancelled in wake of Manchester terrorist attack; Ariana Grande tour dates cancelled until first French gig on June 7th. Netflix cancels Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down after one season. Jack Kesy to play villain in Deadpool 2.

Billboard Music awards: Top Artist: Drake; Top New Artist: Zayn; Chart Achievement Award: Twenty One Pilots; Top Male Artist: Drake; Top Female Artist: Beyonce; Top Duo/Group: Twenty One Pilots; Top Billboard 200 Artist: Drake; Top Hot 100 Artist: Drake; Top Song Sales Artist: Drake; Rop Radio Songs Artist: Twenty One Pilots; Top Streaming Songs Artist: Drake; Top Social Artist: BTS; Top Touring Artist: Beyonce; Top R&B Artist: Beyonce; Top R&B Tour: Beyonce; Top Rap Artist: Drake; Top Rap Tour: Drake; Top Country Artist: Blake Shelton; Top Country Tour: Kenny Chesney; Top Rock Artist: Twenty One Pilots; Top Rock Tour: Coldplay; Top Latin Artist: Juan Gabriel; Top Dance/Electronic Artist: The Chainsmokers; Top Christian Artist: Lauren Daigle; Top Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin; Top Billboard 200 Album: Drake, Views; Top Soundtrack/Cast Album: Hamilton: An American Musical; Top R&B album: Beyonce, Lemonade; Top Rap Album: Drake, Views; Top Country Album: Chris Stapleton, Traveller; Top Rock Album: Metallica, Hardwired... To Self Destruct; Top Latin Album: Juan Gabriel, Los Duo 2; Top Dance/Electronic Album: Lindsey Sterling, Brave Enough; Top Christian Album: Lauren Daigle, How It Can Be; Top Gospel Album: Tamela Mann, One Way; Top Hot 100 Song, The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, Closer; Top Selling Song: Justin Timberlake, Can't Stop the Feeling; Top Radio Song: Justin Timberlake, Can't Stop the Feeling; Top Streaming Song (Audio): Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, One Dance; Top Streaming Song (Video): Desiigner, Panda; Top Collaboration: The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, Closer; Top R&B Song: Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, One Dance; Top R&B Collaboration: Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, One Dance; Top Rap Song: Desiigner, Panda; Top Rap Collaboration: Rae Sremmurd Featuring Gucci Mane, Black Beatles; Top Country Song: Florida Georgia Line, H.O.L.Y.; Top Country Collaboration: Kenny Chesney Featuring Pink, Setting The World On Fire; Top Rock Song: Twenty One Pilots, Heathens; Top Latin Song: Nicky Jam, Hasta El Amanecer; Top Dance/Electronic Song: The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, Closer; Top Christian Song: Hillary Scott & The Family: Thy Will; Top Gospel Song: Travis Greene, Made A Way.


Actress Lisa Spoonauer (Clerks, 44), chess grandmaster Viktor Kupreichik (67), comic book artist Rich Buckler (Fantastic Four, Deathlok, 68), actor Sir Roger Moore (James Bond, The Saint, 89), actress Dina Merrill (Desk Set, Operation Petticoat, 93).

Manchester terrorist attack victims: Saffie Roussos (8), Nell Jones (14), Sorrell Leczkowski (14), Eilidh MacLeod (14), Olivia Campbell (15), Megan Hurley (15), Chloe Rutherford (17), Georgina Callander (18), Courtney Boyle (19), Liam Curry (19), John Atkinson (28), Martyn Hett (29), Kelly Brewster (32), Philip Tron (32), Angelica Klis (39), Marcin Klis (42), Elaine McIver (43), Alison Howe (45), Michelle Kiss (45), Lisa Lees (47), Wendy Fawell (50), Jane Tweddle-Taylor (51).


Not so useful (probably) at this time of year, but for when there are storms and rain the UK Environment Agency's flood information service holds information on warnings, severe warning and alerts.


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
7, 15, 21, 24, 34, 47
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    Little Jennifer's parents were taking her to the zoo for a day out, and while her mother and father were ready and standing by the front door, there was no sign of Little Jennifer. Finally her mother had had enough, and yelled up the stairs, "Little Jennifer, get down here now!"
    A few moments later Little Jennifer sauntered down the stairs. "What took you so long?" her mother asked, exasperated.
    Little Jennifer looked at her mother and smiled sweetly. "Mummy, if you wanted me to come down sooner you should have started shouting earlier."

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