The Friday Irregular

Issue #559 - 10th April 2020

Edited by and copyright ©2020 Simon Lamont
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tfir@simonlamont.co.uk

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Contents

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^ WORD OF THE WEEK
aerogami
  n. the construction of paper planes.


^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Friday 10th April   -   King James V of Scotland born, 1512. Philosopher Jacopo Mazzoni died, 1598. The Virginia Company of London was founded to establish British colonies in North America, 1606. Singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor born, 1979. Writer Sue Townsend died, 2014. Event Horizon Telescope scientists announced the first image of a black hole, 2019. Siblings Day.
 
Saturday 11th April   -   Llewelyn the Great, King of Wales, died, 1240. Artist Bartholomeus Strobel born, 1591. The coronation of William III and Mary II as joint sovereigns of Greast Britain, 1689. Singer-songwriter Lisa Stansfield born, 1966. Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was deposed, 1979. Actress Edna Doré died, 2014. World Parkinson's Day.
 
Sunday 12th April   -   Margaret of Bourbon, Queen of Navarre, died, 1256. The Union Flag was adopted as the flag for English and Scottish ships, 1606. Photographer Imogen Cunningham born, 1883. Canadian forces completed the taking of Vimy Ridge from the Germans, in World War I, 1917. Animator Oliver Postgate born, 1925. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, died, 1945. International Day of Human Spaceflight. Easter.
 
Monday 13th April   -   Krum, khan of the Bulgarian Khanate, died, 814. Catherine de' Medici, queen consort of Henry II of France, born, 1519. Handel's Messiah premiered in Dublin, 1742. Outlaw Butch Cassidy born, 1866. An oxygen tank aboard the Apollo 13 service module exploded en-route to the Moon, 1970. Writer Muriel Spark died, 2006.
 
Tuesday 14th April   -   Lucia Visconti, Countess of Kent, died, 1424. A celestial phenomenon, described as an aerial battle, was seen over Nuremberg, 1561. Mathatician and astronomer Christiaan Huygens born, 1629. The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, 1912. Artist John Singer Sargent died, 1925. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar born, 1977.
 
Wednesday 15th April   -   Godwin, Earl of Wessex, died, 1053. Polymath Leonardo da Vinci born, 1452. Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published, 1755. Singer Bessie Smith born, 1894. The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated by British troops, 1945. Actress Greta Garbo died, 1990. World Art Day.
 
Thursday 16th April   -   The Jewish fortress of Masada fell to the Romans after several months under siege, 73. Mathematician John Hadley born, 1682. Astronomer Jacques Cassini died, 1756. The Rush-Bagot Treaty, establishing the United States' border with Canada, was ratified by the U.S. Senate, 1818. Singer Dusty Springfield born, 1939. Writer Edna Ferber died, 1968. World Voice Day.


^ THE WISDOM OF...

This week, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt:
Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.


^ FILM QUIZ

Aselection of quotations from films with the same director. Answers next issue or from the regular address. Last issue's quotations were from films directed by Lamont Johnson:


^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS

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


^ TRUMPWATCH

After announcing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) issued guidelines recommending that Americans wear face masks Trump told reporters "Sitting in the Oval Office... I somehow don't see it for myself." [Given his response to world - and national - affairs we would think he sits in the Oval Office with a paper bag over his head at all times... -Ed] ● Trump played down the economic downturn that has seen 10m Americans file as jobless in a two-week period last month as "It's not like we have a massive recession or worse. It's artificial because we turned it off." [Sounds like an admission of responsibility... -Ed] ● Ivanka Trump tells Yahoo! she's been finding time apart from doing her undefined job from home and childcare to learn the guitar and study Greek and Roman mythology, assumes "pretty much every parent around the country" is doing the same... ● Jared Kushner addresses reporters, shows precisely why an unqualified over-self-confident idiot like him should not have been put in charge of pandemic response by daddy-in-law. ●The Trump administration originally wanted none of the $2tn (£1.6tn) Stimulus Bill funds to go to Native American tribes; they eventually got $10bn (£8.07bn), half the amount they asked for and Democrats agreed to, after Republican senators reduced their payout. ● The Trump administration has been accused of putting veterans and Veterans Affairs workers at risk by demanding workers go back to work without a 14-day self-quarantine period after being exposed to COVID-19. ● Insatiable complainer Trump attacks hospitals, says "the complainers should have been stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit." [If there had still been a White House Pandemic Response Unit rather than unqualified idiot Jared Kushner who denied the virus was a risk to the U.S. perhaps they would have been... -Ed] ● Speaking of which, Trump spent much of last month claiming that "nobody" saw the pandemic coming, but his trade advisor Peter Navarro sent several memos to the administration starting as far back as late January warning about the virus, advising an immediate travel ban on China and warning that the "risk of a worst-case pandemic scenario should not be overlooked" as it could kill as many as 500,000 Americans and lay waste to the economy. ● Trump has repeatedly said that the U.S. has plenty of ventilators, and may send some to Britain. Presumably these "many" are the ones being bought from China, where there are twenty-one companies manufacturing them.
    It should be remembered that it is not just Trump and his family attempting to rewrite history over the virus, vice president Pence has recently been insisting that Trump never belittled the threat from the virus. He did, for months. ● Stephanie Grisham, Trump's White House press secretary (who, as far as we know, never gave a press conference) has left her job to be replaced by Trump Campaign Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Shortly after news of her appointment broke video of a February 25th interview on Fox resurfaced, in which McEnany told host Trish Regan "This President will always put America first. He will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like [the virus] come here. We will not see terrorism come here, and isn't that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?" By February 25th there were 57 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and the administration was doing nothing while denying any risk. There are now over 400,000.
    Trump is still pushing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19, and ha said that the U.S. has stockpiled 29 million pills, despite there being no trials-based evidence for it's effectiveness. "What do you have to lose?" he asked several times at a recent briefing. Well, hydroxychloroquine has a very narrow dosage range where it is effective against malaria, above which it can cause serious harm. So why is Trump advocating it? Perhaps because Planquil, the brand-name version of the drug is made by Sanofi, a French drugmaker. Sanofi's largest shareholders include a mutual fund run by Ken Fisher, a major donor to the Republican Party, and all three of Trump's family trusts have investments in Fisher's mutual fund as well as in other European stock-market index funds that most likely also hold significant shares in Sanofi.

As well as assisting in the national response to the coronavirus and dealing with outbreaks among its own ranks, the U.S. military has been ordered to "increase surveillance, seizures of drug shipments, and provide support for eradication efforts that are going on right now at a record pace" on the U.S-Mexico border, causing concern in the military that they are being pushed into spying on American territory. Unsurprisingly the administration has failed to make the best use of the reserve military National Guard, only some of whom have been called up to assist with aid deliveries during the pandemic outbreak.

Trump has accused some Americans who cast their votes in election by mail of "cheating", telling reporters that he opposes postal-only elections during the coronavirus outbreak as he fears it would lead to widespread election fraud. Trump's place-of-residence for voting is in Florida (having fled New York City when investigations into his taxes started) so he will be voting by post because "I'm here in the White House". There is, need we say, little evidence of significant voter fraud with postal voting.

The Department of Justice is investigating Deutsche Bank over money-laundering allegations. Probably not the best time then for the Trump Organization to be asking the bank to postpone its loan repayments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Walter Shaub, former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under Obama then Trump has highlighted that as Trump did not divest from his businesses when he took office (something presidents usually do to avoid conflicts of interest), the scenario now playing out, where Trump, as president, is trying to get a deal for his businesses from a bank under investigation by his administration, is the "absolute nightmare that someone (ahem) warned about" when Trump became president. the Trump Organization has had to lay off or furlough staff and shutter resorts and golf clubs as result of the pandemic, though the Secret Service recently signed an "emergency order" to rent $45,000- (£36,300)-worth of golf carts in Sterling, Virginia, to protect an unnamed "dignitary" There is a Trump golf course in Sterling. It has not closed. We wonder who that "dignitary" might be, but, er, whoever it is [*cough* *splutter* -Ed], it will mean presumably U.S. taxpayers' money continuing to end up being payed to the Trump Organization...

The unplanned, unexpected and hasty withdrawal of the U.S. Army from Syria at Trump's surprise order has left $4.1m (£3.3m) of equiment not properly accounted for. It is not thought that any of it was left in Syria, but the lack of time and problems with internet connectivity meant that transfers in the Army War Reserve Deployment System were not recorded. ● We reported above that many April Fools' Day pranks were abandoned this year. Star Wars actor Mark Hamill tweeted late on April 1 that "I downloaded this headline yesterday before I decided not to participate in #AprilFoolsDay but didn't want it to go to waste. #Enjoy" above a news TV picture of Trump at a press statement with a fake headline "BREAKING NEWS - DONALD TRUMP RESIGNED. 'The world is saved,' 'I can't believe this!' #TRUMPTERMINATED" You can see it here. ● Conservative columnist Max Boot of The Washington Post wrote that he had tried to avoid calling Trump the worst president in U.S. history because history requires time to put events into perspective, and had instead labelled Trump the worst "modern" president, until the last month, where Trump had been warned about the impending pandemic but took no action to acquire the testing equipment and emergency supplies that are now desperately needed, preferring to play golf, hold rallies and ignore or downplay the risk. Boot is now sure that Trump is indeed the worst president in U.S. history.


^ OBITUARIES

Singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, "That Thing You Do!", Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 52), actor Jay Benedict (Aliens, Foyle's War, Emmerdale, 68), singer John Prine (John Prine, The Missing Years, Fair and Square, 73), comedian Eddie Large (Little and Large, 78), mathematician and cricket enthusiast Tony Lewis (The Duckworth-Lewis method, 78), singer Bill Withers ("Lean On Me", "Ain't No Sunshine", "Just The Two Of Us", 81), actor James Drury (The Virginian, Walker, Texas Ranger, The Adventures of Brisco County, 85), actress Shirley Douglas (Lolita, Dead Ringers, mother of Kiefer Sutherland, 86), Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath (Longleat House and Safari Park, 87), actress Lee Fierro (Jaws, Jaws 2, 91), actress Honor Blackman (The Avengers, Goldfinger, The Upper Hand, 94), actor Forrest Compton (Gomer Pyle: USMC, The Edge of Night, The Twilight Zone, 94), immunologist Dr William Frankland (pupolarised pollen counts, dubbed "the grandfather of allergy", 108).


^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!

Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
1, 6, 8, 12, 42, 58
[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 Simon came home from school with a big bruise on his arm. "What happened to you?" his concerned mother asked, as she inspected it.
    "I ate some chocolate after lunch, Mum," Little Simon said.
    His mother looked puzzled. "Eating chocolate won't bruise your arm," she said.
    Little Simon sighed. "It will if it's Little Jennifer's..."


^ ...end of line