The Friday Irregular
Issue #518 - 15th March 2019

Edited by and copyright ©2019 Simon Lamont

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Unless otherwise indicated dollar values are in US dollars. Currency conversions are at current rates at time of writing.



  n. A genus of weevil found in South America, often on palms.


Friday 15th March   -   Roman general and Dictator Julius Caesar assassinated, 44 BCE. Margaret of England, Duchess of Brabant, born, 1275. Christopher Columbus returned to Spain after his first voyage to the Americas, 1493. Artist Jan Fyt born, 1611. A British army of 1,900 men defeated an American force more than twice as big at the Battle of Guildford Court House in the American Revolutionary War, 1781. Engineer Joseph Bazalgette died, 1891. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated the Russian throne, 1917. United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg born, 1933. Chef and broadcaster Clarissa Dickson Wright died, 2014. World Consumer Rights Day. The Ides of March (Ancient Rome).
Saturday 16th March   -   The Babylonians captured Jerusalem, 597 BCE. Archduchess Kunigunde of Austria born, 1465. Anne Neville, queen of King Richard III of England, died, 1485. Ferdinand Magellan reached the Phillipine island of Homonhon, 1521. Astronomer Caroline Herschel born, 1750. The first version of Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet overture fantasy premiered, 1870. Illustrator Aubrey Beardsley died, 1898. Actor Leo McKern born, 1920. Activist Rachel Corrie killed, 2003.
Sunday 17th March   -   Harold Harefoot, King of England, died, 1040. Edward the Black Prince was made Duke of Cornwall, 1337. Historian and sociologist Ibn Khaldun died, 1406. King James IV of Scotland born, 1473. Poet and playwright Jean-Baptiste Rousseau died, 1741. The Siege of Boston in the American Revolution ended as British forces evacuated the city, 1776. Author and illustrator Kate Greenaway born, 1846. Tenzing Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled Tibet for India, 1959. Fashion designer Alexander McQueen born, 1969. Actor Michael Gough died, 2011. Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland, Montserrat, Newfoundland and Labrador and Irish communities worldwide. Sláinte!
Monday 18th March   -   The Roman Senate proclaimed Caligula emperor, 37. Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, executed, 1314. Mary Tudor, Queen of France, born, 1496. The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, 1765, 1766. Novelist Laurence Stern died, 1768. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, born, 1837. The supertanker Torrey Canyon ran aground off Cornwall, resulting in the then world's worst oil spill of 25-36 million gallons (94-164 litres), 1967. Singer and actress Queen Latifah born, 1970. Actress Peggy Wood died, 1978.
Tuesday 19th March   -   Polish duke Henry the Bearded died, 1238. The English House of Commons passed the Abolition of the House of Lords, 1649 act, describing the Lords as "useless and dangerous to the people of England", 1649. Writer Tobias Smollett born, 1721. Composer Philip Hayes died, 1797. The Battle of Bentonville in the American Civil War began, 1865. Singer Anna Held born, 1872. Bob Dylan released his first, eponymous, album, 1962. Cricketer Ashley Giles born, 1973. Businessman and engineer John DeLorean died, 2005.
Wednesday 20th March   -   Poet Ovid born, 43 BCE. King Henry IV of England died, 1413. Sir Walter Raleigh was freed after 13 years in the Tower of London, 1616. French emperor Napoleon III born, 1811. Artist Louis Léopold Robert died, 1835. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was published, 1852. Actress Theresa Russell born, 1957. The Aum Shinrikyo cult carried out a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, 1995. Juliana of the Netherlands died, 2004. World Storytelling Day. The March equinox.
Thursday 21st March   -   Ælla, King of Northumbria, killed in battle, 867. Dafydd ap Gruffydd attacked Hawarden Castle, 1282. Algonquin princess Pocahontas died, 1617. Composer Johann Sebastian Bach born, 1685. Austrian forces repelled the French at the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube in the Napoleonic Wars, 1814. Journalist, suffragist and union activist Alice Henry born, 1857. South African police opened fire on a group of demonstrators in Sharpeville, 1960. Snooker player Mark Williams born, 1975. Comedian and actor Ernie Wise died, 1999. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. World Down Syndrome Day.


This week, Bob Dylan:
The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for any one but inspire them?


A selection 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 Diana Dors:


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

IN BRIEF: Twitter abuzz with the mathematical life hack "x% of y is equal to y% of x", as well as the "correct" way to eat fresh pineapple. ● Man suing British Airways after having to sit next to an obese man "the size of Jonah Lomo" which "forced [him] into a position of unnatural posture" through the 12-hour flight that left him with back problems affecting his ability to work. ● Mayors of the Iceland towns of Bolungarvik and Ísafjörđur filing daily complaints to Google over Google Maps depiction of their towns as snow-covered when they are usually "green and beautiful" with only occasionally enough snow for winter sports; complain that tourists might be put off visiting. ● International study by Rand concludes that people who get up two or more times a night to go to the lavatory are so tired during the day that they are costing their countries' economies billions - around £4.5bn ($5.95bn) a year in the UK. ● If there is one way to annoy a Brit it is to criticise their tea-making skills, but the Jockey Club's etiquette expert Neil Phillips is suggest that rather than stirring tea with a circular motion we should be moving the spoon in a straight line from the far to the near side of the mug and back... ● A 'cult' which claims a burping therapy can remove evil spirits allegedly meets in a Somerset B&B. ● Mayor of Bologna, Italy, decries Spaghetti Bolognese as "fake news" and an invented dish, adds that "what we'd prefer the world to know is Bologna invented tagliatelle, tortellini and lasagne." ● Texan barber giving away free condoms with every haircut, but staples them to business cards...

TRUMPWATCH - An occasional look at the sillier stories around the US president: Bafta-winning artist Alison Jackson put out an urgent appeal for help finding a bespoke "Donald Trump wig" worth £15,000 ($19,800) that 15 stylists had spent six months creating for her, and was to be worn by a lookalike in a a show. She had accidentally left the wig, fitted on a wig maker's block in a black bag, in the back of a London black cab. ● Quinnipiac University survey finds that almost two thirds of American voters think Trump committed crimes before becoming president, and 50% trusted Michael Cohen - Trump's former lawyer and 'fixer' who is heading to jail after lying to Congress - against 35% who trust Trump. ● Trump claims he was misinterpreted when he said he took North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un at his word that he did not know anything about the death of American student Otto Warmbier, despite being videoed saying it. He later denied called Apple CEO Tim Cook "Tim Apple" to his face, despite being videoed doing exactly that, then frantically backpedals claiming that he intended a pause between 'Tim' and 'Apple', then rages on Twitter about people - and news agencies, of course - deliberately misinterpreting him. ● The Trump SoHo New York hotel was failing dismally until they rebranded as The Dominick, dropping the name 'Trump'; now one of the most sought-after stays in the city. ● A month after Trump declared a national emergency on the US-Mexican border the Department of Homeland Security has not yet filed a list of projects it supposedly needs to appropriate military funding for, while to actually build the wall will require numerous applications of eminent domain to seize private land; such seizures are processed through Congress, not the White House or Homeland Security...


Respawn Entertainment ban 355,000 Apex Legends accounts for cheating, all on PC version. ● Mattel release first Maori Barbie, modelled on rugby player turned journalist Melodie Robinson. ● Barbra Streisand to play British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park, alongside Florence + The Machine, Robbie Williams, Celine Dion this summer. ● Carole Bayer Sager to receive US Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award. ● Camilia Cabello's "Havana" named biggest global hit of last year - despite being released in 2017. ● Captain Marvel breaks record for highest-grossing female-led film with estimated opening box office of $153m (£116m) in the U.S., $455m (£345.3m) globally. ● Netflix slammed for its synopsis of Doctor Who as "Evil aliens. A Wacky but brilliant tourguide. Flying through space in a tiny blue box is the trip of a lifetime"; one Twitter user suggests they would been better using the Tenth Doctor's "It's a wibbly wobbly timey thing." ● Demo tape thought to be the first recording of David Bowie's "Starman" auctions for £51,000 ($67,200). ● UK's first nationwide country music radio station, Country Hits Radio, to launch next month. ● Latest Fortnite update makes PS4/XBox One cross-play the default for battle royale mode. ● Final night of Take That's Greatest Hits Live tour to be broadcast live to 600 UK cinemas. ● Suffolk Coastal District Council investigating whether Ed Sheeran's wildlife pond is really for wildlife (for which planning permission was granted), not parties, as it has a jetty, steps and sheds. ● Michael Ball, Alfie Boe to headline finale of Hampton Court Palace Festival in June. ● Pokémon Go company Niantic release details of upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite augmented reality game. ● Idris Elba reportedly in talks to take over Deadshot role vacated by Will Smith in Suicide Squad 2. ● Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez engaged. ● Julie Andrews to receive Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion for Career Achievement. ● Ukraine pulls out of Eurovision Song Contest after winner and runners-up in its song-picking contest refused to agree not to perform in Russia. ● Joni Mitchell's book of handwritten lyrics and paintings Morning Glory on the Vine to go on general sale after limited edition of 100 were produced in 1971. ● Bananarama, back as duo, release first track from upcoming In Stereo album. ● Lana Del Rey self-publishing book of poetry priced at $1 (£0.76) ● Maxine Peak to play Nico for Manchester International Festival stage show. ● Disney moves release date of sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil forward 8 months to October 2019. ● Margaret Atwood to tour UK this autumn to promote The Handmaid's Tale sequel The Testaments. ● Stormzy added to line-up for Radio 1's Big Weekend event, alongside Miley Cyrus, Little Mix, The 1975, Billie Eilish, Vampire Weekend and others. ● Tess Daly, Claudia Winkleman complete 24 hour 5 minute dance marathon for Comic Relief. ● The Flash showrunner Todd Helbing standing down after fifth season, co-executife producer Eric Wallace to take over. ● Long-lost drawings by John Constable auction for £60,000 ($79,000) and £32,000 ($42,165).


Cyclist Kelly Catlin (US team pursuit world champion [2016, 2017, 2018], US team pursuit Olympic silver medallist [Rio 2016 Games], 23), TV presenter Magenta Devine (Network 7, Rough Guide series, Young, Gifted and Broke, 61), actor Jan-Michael Vincent (Airwolf, The Mechanic, The Winds of War, 73), actor Jed Allan (Beverly Hills 90210, Lassie, The Days of Our Lives, 84), businessman Sid Sheinberg (president & CEO of MCA Inc/Universal Studios who first hired Steven Spielberg, 84), mobster Carmine Persico (former head of New York City's Colombo crime family, 85), studio drummer Hal Blaine (The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night", Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs Robinson", 90).


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
4, 22, 30, 35, 48, 53
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    Little Jennifer and Little Emily were walking home from the park when, as they passed the vicarage next to the park, the vicar leaned over the wall, with a tennis ball in his hand. "Hello, Little Jennifer, Little Emily, is this your ball?" he said.
    Little Jennifer looked thoughtful. "Did it do any damage?" she asked.
    "No, it just landed on my lawn a few minutes ago," the vicar replied.
    Little Jennifer smiled sweetly, as only Little Jennifer could. "Then it's ours," she said.

^ ...end of line