Issue #443 - 22nd September 2017
|^ WORD OF THE WEEK
^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Friday 22nd September - The Greeks defeated the Persians under Xerxes I at the naval Battle of Salamis, 480 BCE. Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England, born, 1515. Artist Alessandro Allori died, 1607. The coronation of George III and Catherine of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as King and Queen of the Kingdom of Great Britain, 1761. Shaka Zulu, king of the Zulu Kingdom, assassinated, 1828. Suffragette (and daughter of Emmeline) Christabel Pankhurst born, 1880. A steam locomotive fell into a sink hole in the Lindal Railway Incident, 1892. Singer Andrea Bocelli born, 1958. Baseball player, coach & manager Yogi Berra died, 2015. The autumnal equinox (Northern Hemisphere) and vernal equinox (Southern Hemisphere). Hobbit Day. OneWebDay. Saturday 23rd September - Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan born, 1215. Wencelaus I of Bohemia died, 1253. The Merchant Royal, carrying gold worth over £1 billion ($1.35bn) in today's currency sank off Land's End (and is yet to be found), 1641. Composer Giovanni Maria Bononcini born, 1642. Nintendo was founded as a manufacturer of playing cards, 1889. Writer Wilkie Collins died, 1889. TV presenter Yvette Fielding born, 1968. Bob Marley played his last concert, in Pittsburgh, 1980. Singer & musician Etta James died, 2006. Sunday 24th September - Frankish king Pepin the Short died, 768. Navigator William Adams, the first Englishman to reach Japan, born, 1564. The Dutch Republic surrendered New Amsterdam (present-day New York City) to the British, 1664. Cartographer Johann Hase died, 1742. The first (steam-)powered airship flew from Paris to Trappes, 1852. Sportswoman Lottie Dod born, 1871. Compuserve launched the first consumer internet service, and the first public email service, 1979. Cyclist Victoria Pendleton born, 1980. Writer Theodor Geisel ("Dr Seuss") died, 1991. Monday 25th September - The Viking invasions of England ended at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066. Poet Johannes Secundus died, 1536. Astronomer Ole Rømer born, 1644. The United States Congress passed twelve amendments to the United States Constitution, including the ten that form the Bill of Rights, 1789. Composer Johann Strauss I died, 1849. Nobel laureate writer William Faulkner born, 1897. The UK government's report on the Profumo Affair was released, 1963. Model & actress Jodie Kidd born, 1978. Golfer Arnold Palmer died, 2016. Tuesday 26th September - The coronation of William II as King of England, 1087. Margaret, Maid of Norway, Queen of Scotland, died, 1290. Anne of Bavaria, queen consort, born, 1329. Sir Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the Earth, 1580. Mathematician Antoine Parent died, 1716. Environmentalist Johnny Appleseed born, 1774. Concorde made its first, record-breaking, crossing of the Atlantic, 1973. Tennis player Serena Williams born, 1981. Actor Paul Newman died, 2008. Wednesday 27th September - William the Conqueror and his army set sail to begin the Norman conquest of England, 1066. Florentine ruler Cosimo de' Medici born, 1389. Emperor Go-Nara of Japan died, 1557. Jean-François Champollion announced his deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, 1822. Cartoonist Thomas Nast born, 1840. Artist Edgar Degas died, 1917. Software engineer & activist Richard Stallman anounced the GNU Project, 1983. Singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne born, 1984. TV screenwriter, director & producer David Croft died, 2011. World Tourism Day. Thursday 28th September - Philosopher Confucius born, 551 BCE. Roman general Pompey assassinated, 48 BCE. Roman emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius at the Battle of Mursa Major, 351. Portuguese navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo reached what is today San Diego, California, 1542. Plumber and inventor of the ballcock Thomas Crapper born, 1836. Writer Herman Melville died, 1891. Neo-Burlesque dancer & model Dita Von Teese born, 1972. SpaceX launched Falcon 1, the first private spacecraft, into orbit, 2008. Poet Danny Abse died, 2014. World Rabies Day.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, Confucius:Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
^ FILM QUIZ
A bag of quotations from films with a common actor or actress. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were from films starring Catherine Zeta-Jones:
- I'm happier 'n a tornado in a trailer park!
- Yeah, and if a frog had wings, it wouldn't bump it's ass a-hoppin'.
- Careful Maggie, your claws are showing.
- The fans are standing up to them! The security guards are standing up to them! The peanut vendors are standing up to them! And by golly, if I could get down there, I'd be standing up to them!
- Kid, the next time I say, "Let's go someplace like Bolivia," let's go someplace like Bolivia.
- Permission to panic, sir!?
-- Dad's Army 
- - Be careful senorita, there are dangerous men about.
- Well if you see one, be sure to point him out.
-- The Mask of Zorro 
- You're doing recon work on our anniversary?
-- Ocean's Twelve 
- - Also, we know how much you loved Mom's car, so we're giving it to you.
- You're taking away my home, and giving me a twenty year old car? Who are you?
-- The Haunting 
- No! Nobody puts Donkey in the corner!
-- Rock of Ages 
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
- Researchers at the University of York have uncovered 30 "lost" words that they hope will return to common usage. The words include 'percher' (a social climber), 'snout-fair' (handsome), 'peacockise' (to pose or strut ostentatiously), 'awhape' (to stupefy with fear or amaze), 'dowsabel' (a female sweetheart), 'sillytonian' (a gullible or silly person), 'rousy-bouzy' (boisterously drunk) and - perhaps after a night of being rousy-bouzy, 'slug-a-bed' (someone who lies in late).
- Chinese maze makers have planted 130,000 Chinese junipers outside Xilinshui village in the Hebei province to form a giant QR code when seen from above. QR codes are the square patterns that pop up every now and again on such things as lottery tickets, and typically encode a web address (though regular barcode-type data can also be encoded) that smartphones or tablets can visit after scanning the codes. The maze measures 744' (227m) square, and was part of a development after the village was awarded a 1.1m yuan (£124,000, $168,000) grant. The data encoded in the QR code is the web address of the village's tourism site; we presume they are either selling postcards of the maze or balloon flights...
- Archaeology on Salisbury Plain in England is usually associated with ancient sites like Stonehenge or Solsbury Hill, but a team excavating a former military site at Larkhill have unearthed something decidedly more modern - a 1932 MG J2 roadster car, one of only 2,083 ever made. The bodywork is missing and the tread pattern on the tyres suggest that it was last used in the early 1960s, probably as a pool car by troops before being partially dismantled and dumped in an artillery pit.
- The list of the top baby names for 2016 in England and Wales has been published. Topping the respective lists are Olivia, Amelia and Emily for girls and Oliver, Harry and George for boys, but entries lower down the lists show the influence of pop culture. HBO's Game of Thrones had a notable effect, with more than 300 girls being christened Arya, more than were named Mary (204) or Catherine (163), and 69 were named Khaleesi ["Mummy, can I have a pet dragon?" may be heard in years to come... -Ed]. There were 5 Sansas, 4 Daeneryses, 3 Briennes and, on the boys' side, 11 Tyrions - no Joffreys. Away from GoT Marvel's films probably influenced the 90 Lokis and 18 Thors. There were 16 Kal-Els, after Superman, and Star Wars' return prompted 54 Kylos, 17 Reys and, er, 12 Anakins [but still no Jar-Jars... -Ed]. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's success probably influenced the 95 Hermiones (although not as many as in 2004, whem the name peaked). There was also a peak in the number of children (7 girls, 35 boys) being called Bowie, after the late David.
- A family in Coventry called out the RSPCA in a panic after seeing a lizard lurking under a bed. Officer Vic Hurr was sent to the house and approached the unmoving and unrecognised lizard cautiously. "It was protruding from the edge of the bed and it wasn't moving at all," he told reporters. "I got out my torch to see better and that's when I realised it wasn't a lizard at all, it was a pink stripy sock." The family were said to have been "quite mortified" at having called out the RSPCA to rescue a dirty sock...
IN BRIEF: Whitechapel 'fatberg' reported on previously is to be turned into 10,000 litres (17,600 pints; 21,135 US pints) of biodiesel. Bookmakers Paddy Power off odds of 66/1 on Birmingham City manager Harry Redknapp being replaced by ex-Aston Villa & England defender Ugo Ehiogu - who died in April. Police in St Ives 'arrest' swan causing trouble on road. Koala discovered after surviving 16km (10 mile) road trip on car axle. Greater Manchester Police, England's second largest police force, still running Windows XP on more than 1/5 of their computers. Devon agricultural engineer proposes to girlfriend by ploughing "MARRY ME" in his future father-in-law's field (with permission) after harvest. Snowdonia mountain rescue issue plea for sensible clothing choices after man climbs Snowdon in his underpants for charity (he reached the summit but felt unwell and had to receive treatment for hyperthermia after descending on the mountain railway). Scientists studying barn owls to learn how they keep their hearing into old age. Sunken WW1 U-boat, bodies of 23 crew, discovered off Belgian coast. Cyclist Mark Beaumont breaks world record for cycling around the world, completing trip in 79 days.
2017 Ig Nobel Award Winners (for published improbable scientific research): Physics Prize: Marc-Antoine Fardin, for using fluid dynamics to study the question "Can a cat be both a solid and a liquid?"; Peace Prize: Milo Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Casio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz & Otto Braendli, for demonstrating that playing the digeridoo is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring; Economics Prize: Matthew Rockloff and Nancy Greer, for experiments into how contact with a live crocodile affects people's willingness to gamble; Anatomy Prize: James Heathcote, for the medical research study "Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?"; Biology Prize: Kazunori Yoshizawa, Rodrigo Ferreira, Yoshitaka Kamimura & Charles Leinhard, for discovering a female penis and male vagina in a cave insect species; Fluid Dynamics Prize: Jiwon Han, for studying the fluid dynamics that lead to coffee sloshing when people walk backwards holding their caffeine hit; Nutrition Prize: Fernando Ito, Enrico Bernard & Rodrigo Torres, for the first scientific report into human blood in the diet of the hairy-legged vampire bat; Medicine Prize: Jean-Pierre Royet, David Meunier, Anne-Marie Mouly & Tao Jiang, for employing advanced brain-scanning technology to measure the extent to which some people are disgusted by cheese; Cognition Prize: Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antoinetta Stazi & Salvatore Maria Aglioti, for demonstrating scientifically that many identical twins cannot tell themselves apart visually; Obstetrics Prize: Maria López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino & Luis Pallarés Aniorte, for research showing that the human fetus responds more strong to music played through a speaker inserted in the mother's vagina than one placed on her belly.
^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS
French & Saunders returning for Christmas special to mark 30th anniversary. Angry Birds maker Rovio looking for €802m-€896m (£710m-£795m; $960m-$1.07bn) valuation when listed on Helsinki Nasdaq stock market on 3 October. Two new Banksy murals appear in London. Radiohead, Hans Zimmer to collaborate on Blue Planet II soundtrack. Pre-Broadway staging of Frozen musical gets warm reception. Daniel Dae Kim takes over Hellboy reboot's Ben Daimio role after Ed Skrein quit over whitewashing of role. Bungie apologises for Nazi-like flag in Destiny 2, working on replacing it. Lily Allen, Rio Ferdinand, Reggie Yates take top awards at Diversity in Media Awards. David Bradley to continue role of First Doctor in Doctor Who audio plays after appearance in forthcoming Christmas TV special. Russell T Davies returns to Doctor Who by illustrating book of related poems Now We Are Six Hundred. Francis Bacon's painting Study of Red Pope 1962, 2nd Version 1971 seen in public for the first time in 45 years, to be auctioned in October, valued at £60m ($81.3m). George Harrison's sitar (used on Norwegian Wood) to be auctioned, estimated at upwards of $50,000 (£37,300). Adria Arjona joining David Tennant, Michael Sheen for Amazon/BBC production of Good Omens. BBC to air Harry Potter documentary, tied in with British Library exhibition, to mark 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone's publication. Lady Gaga postpones European leg of 'Joanne' tour after being hospitalised with fibromyalgia. Linkin Park announce Chester Bennington tribute concert to be played at Hollywood Bowl, October 27. Speculation that BBC could be producing audio drama of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys after audiobook CD preorder listing appears on Amazon. OFCOM warns UK broadcasters they could face fines if they don't publish details of, meet targets for diversity in their staff. Reverse crime drama Rellik drops 1.5m UK viewers in second week. Zoë Wanamaker, Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan to be joined by Lulu and Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie for revival of Pinter's The Birthday Party at Harold Pinter Theatre, London, January. Wenner Media putting Rolling Stone magazine up for sale. Sampha wins 2017 Mercury Prize for debut album Process. Selena Gomez reveals she had a kidney transplant this summer due to Lupus; kidney donated by her best friend. Spotify facing new legal challenge over royalties due to songwriters. BBC cancels Pitch Battle after single series. Aidan Gillan to play comedian Dave Allen in TV biodrama. New Emeli Sande album due next year. Dutch dance company Nederlands Dans Theater performing ballet based on Radiohead songs. Peter Hook, New Order settle legal dispute. Yoko One forces Polish soft drinks firm to rebrand "John Lemon" lemonade as "On Lemon". Foo Fighters joined on stage in London by... Rick Astley for performance of Never Gonna Give You Up... 1984 golf game hidden as Easter egg on Nintendo Switch. Eastenders spin-off Kat & Alfie: Redwater cancelled. Private photo collection of late Cunard liners staff photographer George Ruff to be auctioned. New Tomb Raider film poster mocked for distorting star Alicia Vikander's neck. YouTube ending paid channels (but not currently-US-only YouTube Red).
Emmy Awards: Best lead actress in a drama series: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale; Best lead actor in a drama series: Sterling K Brown, This Is Us; Best lead actress in a limited series or movie: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies; Best lead actor in a limited series or movie: Riz Ahmed, The Night Of; Best lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Veep; Best lead actor in a comedy series: Donald Glover, Atlanta; Best drama series: The Handmaid's Tale; Best comedy series: Veep; Best limited series: Big Little Lies; Best TV movie: Black Mirror: San Junipero; Supporting actress in a drama series: Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale; Supporting actor in a drama series: John Lithgow, The Crown; Supporting actress in a comedy series: Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live; Supporting actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live; Supporting actress in a limited series or movie: Laura Dern, Big Little Lies; Supporting actor in a limited series or movie: Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies; Directing for a drama series: Reed Morano, The Handmaid's Tale; Directing for a comedy series: Donald Glover, Atlanta; Directing for a limited series or movie: Jean-Marc Vallee, Big Little Lies; Writing for a drama series: Bruce Miller, The Handmaid's Tale; Writing for a comedy series: Aziz Ansari & Lena Waithe, Master of None; Directing for a variety series: Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live; Writing for a limited series or film or drama: Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror: San Junipero; Variety sketch series: Saturday Night Live; Reality-competition programme: The Voice; Variety talk series: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Musician Grant Hart (Husker Du, 56), former Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov (single-handedly averted nuclear war after computers gave false report of US missile launches in 1983, 77), American football player turned actor Bernie Casey (San Francisco 49ers, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Revenge of the Nerds, 78), Australian social activist Evelyn Scott (National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Order of Australia, 81) artist David Shepherd (steam locomotives, wildlife paintings, 86), actor Harry Dean Stanton (Pretty in Pink, Alien, 91), boxer Jake LaMotta (inspiration for Raging Bull, 95).
^ WEBSITE OF THE WEEK
As noted above, this week sees the celebration of Hobbit Day. For more on why this is (and why some people think it should be somewhere else in the year), this is The One Wiki to Rule Them All's entry for it.- http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Hobbit_Day
^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:7, 8, 25, 27, 40, 56[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...
It was almost time for dinner and Little Jennifer's mother walked into the kitchen only to see the chocolate gateau which was sitting on the table ready for dessert had a large slice cut out of it, and Little Jennifer was sitting at the table looking as innocent as only Little Jennifer could, with cake crumbs and chocolate all around her mouth. "Oh, Little Jennifer," her mother said, "I told you that was for pudding and you weren't to touch it."
Little Jennifer wiped the chocolate off her face with her fingers and ate it, then smiled sweetly. "But, Mummy, you also told me to do my homework. Today Miss gave us maths homework; she asked us to work out how much would be left if you took an eighth of a cake from a whole cake. So I did."
^ ...end of line