The Friday Irregular

Issue #607 - 26th March 2021

Edited by and copyright ©2021 Simon Lamont
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Unless otherwise indicated dollar values are in US dollars and currency conversions are at current rates at time of writing.





  n. the C19th craze for collecting ferns and the use of fern imagery in the decorative arts [word coined by Charles Kingsley].


Friday 26th March   -   William Caxton printed his translation of Aesop's Fables, 1484. Artist Mary Beale born, 1633. Architect John Vanbrugh died, 1726. The first Henley Royal Regatta was held, 1839. Poet Robert Frost born, 1874. Actress Jan Sterling died, 2004. Purple Day in Canada and the US.
Saturday 27th March   -   Juan Ponce de Léon reached the northern tip of the The Bahamas on his first voyage to Florida, 1513. King James VI and I of the United Kingdom died, 1625. Composer Johann Ernst Ebelin born, 1702. Typhoid Mary, the first asymptomatic carrier of a disease to be identified in the US, was put into quarantine for the second and final time, 1915. Soprano Maria Ewing born, 1950. Archaeologist Elisabeth Schmid died, 1994. International Whisk(e)y Day. World Theatre Day.
Sunday 28th March   -   Artist Raphael born, 1483. The foundation stone of Valetta, capital of Malta, was laid, 1566. Ivan the Terrible, first Tsar of Russia, died, 1584. Teacher Ángela Ruiz Robles, inventor of the precursor to the electronic book, born, 1895. US President George H.W. Bush posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Jesse Owens, 1990. Pianist Moura Lympany died, 2005. British Summer Time begins.
Monday 29th March   -   Edward of York defeated Queen Margaret at the Battle of Towton to become King Edward IV of England, 1461. Adventurer Jørgen Jørgensen born, 1780. Queen Victoria opened the Royal Albert Hall, 1871. Parapsychologist Harry Price died, 1948. Actress Marina Sirtis born, 1955. Filmmaker Agnès Varda died, 2019.
Tuesday 30th March   -   The people of Sicily rebelled against the Angevin king Charles I, 1282. Artist Francisco Goya born, 1746. Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, died, 1806. Fashion designer and dandy Beau Brummel died, 1840. The US bought Alaska from Russia, 1867. Singer-songwriter and actress Dana Gillespie born, 1949.
Wednesday 31st March   -   Roman Emperor Constantine married Fausta, daughter of retired Emperor Maximian, 307. Philosopher René Descartes born, 1596. Artist John Constable died, 1837. The Vienna Concert Society rioted during a performance of modernist music, 1913. Singer-songwriter Kate Micucci born, 1980. Lawyer and ecofeminist Bella Abzug died, 1998. World Backup Day.
Thursday 1st April   -   Crown Prince Jin Chengdi became emperor of the Eastern Jin dynasty at the age of four, 325. Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of England and France, died, 1204. Physician William Harvey born, 1578. The Wrigley Company was founded in Chicago, 1891. Writer Anne McCaffrey born 1926. Swimmer Karen Muir died, 2013. April Fools' Day. Fossil Fools Day.


This week, Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil's Dictionary:
April Fool, n. The March fool with another month added to his folly.


A selection of quotations from films released in the same year. Answers next issue or from the regular address. Last issue's quotations were from films released in 1998:


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

IN BRIEF: Students studying a "science of happiness" course at Bristol University have been found to be happier than students not taking the course. ● A 50-year-old male Japanese biker used photo editing software on selfies to make himself look like a young woman for the purpose of getting social media likes. ● A Japanese company is offering paid leave to staff to grieve when their idols (favourite pop stars) 'graduate' (retire) or get married. ● A study published in the Journal of Religion and Health into the longevity of Catholic bishops and priests for whom worshippers would offer prayers for recovery when sick has found that there is "no effect of the number of received prayers on life duration" so the hypothesis promulgated by believers that prayers can affect health and life "was not confirmed". ● Physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider have seen results that, if confirmed, may rewrite the Standard Model, the accepted understanding of the way three of the four fundamental forces in physics interact. ● A rare "tsunami cloud", thousands of feet high and miles wide, which looks like an approaching tidal wave, has been photographed off Wales. ● Three Russian airmen aboard a Tu-22M3 long-range bomber were killed after their ejector seats accidentally activated as they carried out pre-flight checks while the plane was on the ground at an airbase 90 miles (145km) southwest of Moscow. All four crew members were ejected and their parachutes failed to open because of the low altitude. The fourth man survived and was hospitalised. ● Madame Tussaud's Waxworks in San Antonio, Texas, has had to remove their sculpture of twice-indicted former president Donald Trump because people kept attacking it. Their statues of other former presidents have been damaged or defaced shortly after they left office (Barack Obama's needed its ears replaced six times) but this is the first one to have to be removed. ● John Ratcliffe, National Intelligence Director under twice-indicted former president Trump, claims that the US will soon release "evidence of UFOs moving at non-human speeds and breaking sound barriers [sic] without a sonic boom".

CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: Idaho resident Ammon Bundy was due in court on charges including that he trespassed at the state capitol building during protests against COVID-19 restrictions last summer, but Bundy, the leader of the far-right People's Rights group, refused to wear a face mask to enter the court building so guards stopped him at the door. After a three-hour standoff between guards and Bundy's supporters he was arrested and now faces an additional charge of failing to appear in front of a judge. Bundy is representing himself, so his lawyer could not apologise in court... ● A customer who ordered a dozen custom face maks from a Minnesota arts and crafts store sent them back with a letter complaining that "I ordered a dozen custom masks from you, however you only sent me 12"... ● Galveston, Texas, woman Terry Lynn Wright, 65, who went viral after a bank guard's bodycam video of her shouting at him after she refused to put on a face mask in the bank or leave "what are you going to do? Arrest me? That's hilarious!" [he subsequently did] was arrested again six days later after refusing to put on a face mask in an Office Depot store.

UPDATES: Hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by Reddit trading tips community members involved in the recent GameStop trading incident have been donated to charities working to support endangered species including gorillas, pangolins, sea turtles and elephants. ● Mark Ponder, arrested for taking part in the US Capitol riot on January 6th told the FBI when interviewed that "You cannot stand if someone is going to take it from you, if you are going to get robbed. And you go to work every day and you go outside and somebody robs you. That's something you can't take, right?" Ponder should know about robbery. He was convicted of bank robbery and stealing a taxi, forcing its driver and passenger out of the car, on separate occasions in 2008. More than 300 people have been charged over the attempted insurrection so far, with the FBI expecting at least 100 more to be.


Politician John Magufuli (President of Tanzania [2015-death], 61), racing driver Johnny Dumfries (John Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute, 1986 F1 Lotus team, 1988 Le Mans 24 Hours winner, 62), soccer player Peter Lorimer (Leeds United, Scotland, Toronto Blizzard, 74), conductor James Levine (New York Metropolitan Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, 77), aerospace engineer Glynn Lunney (Project Mercury, Project Gemini, Apollo program, 84), actor George Segal (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Just Shoot Me!, The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, 87).


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
10, 23, 35, 40, 43, 46
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    It was Monday afternoon and the children were having a free drawing class where they could draw whatever they liked. As the teacher walked around the room she looked at their drawings. "That's a very pretty horse, Little Mary. Little Robin, that's a very fast-looking car. Little Simon, that's quite a fierce bear you've drawn," she said, before getting to Little Jennifer's desk where she looked puzzled. "What are you drawing, Little Jennifer," she asked.
    Little Jennifer looked up. "Well, Miss, I went to Sunday School yesterday so I'm drawing God."
    "But nobody knows what God looks like," the teacher said.
    Little Jennifer smiled as only she could. "They will in a minute, Miss!"

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