The Friday Irregular

Issue #665 - 20th May 2022

Edited by and copyright ©2022 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 and may be rounded.
The Friday Irregular uses Common Era year notation.






  n. the location on an animal's skin that it cannot reach to scratch, often between the shoulder blades


Friday 20th May   -   Explorer Vasco da Gama arrived at Kozhikode, establishing a sea route to India, 1498. Anatomist Hieronymus Fabricius born, 1537. Poet John Clare died, 1864. Krakatoa began its cataclysmic eruption, 1883. Singer-songwriter and actress Cher born, 1946. Sculptor Barbara Hepworth died, 1975. World Metrology Day. World Bee Day.
Saturday 21st May   -   Explorer Hernando de Soto died, 1542. Mineralogist William Babington born, 1756. Derby School was granted a royal charter by Queen Mary I of England, 1554. Paleontologist Mary Anning born, 1799. Despite Harold Camping's prediction, Judgement Day and the rapture failed to occur, 2011. Singer-songwriter Twinkle died, 2015. International Tea Day.
Sunday 22nd May   -   Roman emperor Constantine the Great died, 337. The Wars of the Roses began with the First Battle of St Albans, 1455. Martha Washington, 1st First Lady of the United States, died, 1802. Cartoonist and creator of Tintin Hergé born, 1907. Lassen Peak in northern California erupted, 1915. Photographer and human rights activist Barbara May Cameron born, 1954. World Goth Day.
Monday 23rd May   -   Burgundian troops captured Joan of Arc at the Siege of Compiègne, 1430. Pirate William Kidd was executed, 1701. Botanist Carl Linnaeus born, 1707. Cyrill Demian was granted a patent for the accordion, 1829. Actress Joan Collins born, 1933. Criminal Bonnie Parker was killed alongside Clyde Barrow in an ambush by law enforcement officers, 1934. World Turtle Day.
Tuesday 24th May   -   Roman general Germanicus born, 15 BCE. Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus died, 1543. The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford opened, 1683. Actress and director Mai Zetterling born, 1925. The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland, 1956. Author Tanith Lee died, 2015.
Wednesday 25th May   -   Halley's Comet made its first recorded perihelion passage, 240 BCE. King Charles II of England landed at Dover, beginning the Restoration of the British monarchy, 1660. Writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton born, 1803. Archer Eliza Pollock died, 1919. Model and actress Molly Sims born, 1973. George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, 2020. Geek Pride Day. Towel Day.
Thursday 26th May   -   Diarist Samuel Pepys died, 1703. Actuary and physicist William Morgan born, 1750. Napoléon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy in Milan, 1805. Photographer Dorothea Lange born, 1895. The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, 1967. Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Hedy Epstein died, 2016.


This week, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in Paul Clifford [frequently acknowledged as one of the worst opening sentences in English literature]:
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.


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 1976:


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

IN BRIEF: Authorities in Aberystwyth, Wales, have removed a humorous memorial plaque that someone had fixed to a public bench overlooking the sea. It read "In loving memory of Huw Davies. Used to sit here and shout at the seagulls". Seagulls have become notorious around Britain's coastline for trying to steal food. ● A driver who failed to move his car following a request to clear vehicles from a street due to be resurfaced near Darlington railway station returned to find fresh asphalt covering the entire road except for the area around and under their car. ● Identical twin sisters have given birth to their first children, both sons, in the same Anaheim, California, hospital, within hours of each other. ● An elderly couple in India are suing their son and daughter-in-law for failing to provide them with a grandchild. ● The aptly-named Kenton Cool, 48, has completed a record 16 summit climbs of Mount Everest. In 1996 he had been told he would never walk again after shattering both heel bones in a climbing accident. ● Richard Scott, 51, from Kinross, has broken the world endurance record for using a swing. ● A passenger with no experience of flying an aircraft was successfully talked through landing a single-engine plane after the pilot suffered a medical emergency. A flight instructor was hastily summoned to the control tower and guided the man through the process. ● When a Florida driver fell ill her car was left drifting in neutral towards a busy intersection until passers-by ran to stop it. ● The Royal Mail has been testing using drones to deliver post to remote Scottish islands and the Isles of Scilly off Cornwall. They hope to get approval from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly a fleet of 500 mail drones in the next few years. ● A British employment tribunal has ruled that calling a man bald is considered sexual harassment. ● Vogue magazine publisher Condé Nast has apologised to a pub owner after writing to demand that he change the name of his pub, The Star Inn at Vogue, in a village near Redruth. He had written back pointing out that the village of Vogue has existed for 200 years and the pub for at least 150, although he had only recently renamed it to reflect the village's name. He also pointed out that Madonna had not sought the village's or magazine's permission for her 1990 song, either. Condé Nast acknowledged that "further research by our team would have identified that we did not need to send such a letter on this occasion" and sent the residents of Vogue "best wishes for a happy summer".

CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: A 24-year-old Japanese man who was accidentally given a 46.3m yen (£287,000; $357,400) COVID relief fund payout which was intended to be divided between 463 people has told a court that he cannot repay it as he has gambled it away. ● North Korea has announced its first confirmed cases of COVID-19, although it is thought that the virus has been rampant across the country despite closing its borders at the start of the epidemic. Offers of vaccines to the country had been declined. A major outbreak across a mostly unvaccinated population would be a disaster for North Korea and increase the chances of new mutations developing.

UKRAINE: Organisers of last weekend's Eurovision Song Contest have confirmed that they defeated an attempt to disrupt voting in both the first semi-final, in which Ukraine took part, and the final, which Ukraine won. The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack tried to flood the vote tallying computer systems with data requests to stop them from working. It was traced to the pro-Russian Killnet hacker group. Jury voting by six countries in the second semi-final also showed "irregular voting patterns" and was replaced by an aggregated result, and jury voting results from Azerbaijan, Romania and Georgia in the final were read out by a Eurovision official rather than the usual national representatives.

UPDATES: The American Federal Aviation Authority has revoked the licenses of the two pilots who made a failed unauthorised attempt to swap planes at 12,000' (3,660m) by skydiving between them. ● The public Congressional hearing into unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) was told that the Pentagon's new UAP Task Force has amassed around 400 reports, but "we have detected no emanations within the UAP Task Force that would suggest it's anything non-terrestrial in origin", according to Scott Bray, deputy director of US naval intelligence. Bray attributed the increase in sightings in recent years to the growing popularity of drones and quadcopters, better sensor technology, the increasing use of mylar balloons for scientific research and a decrease in the stigma attached to reporting sightings.


TV screenwriter Kay Mellor (Band of Gold, Fat Friends, The Syndicate, 71), Sheikh Kalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Abu Dhabi [both since 2004], 73), actor Fred Ward (Tremors, The Right Stuff, Escape From Alcatraz, 79), producer Phillip M. Goldfarb (Taxi Driver, L.A. Law, The Last Detail, 82), singer Rosmarie Trapp (The von Trapp Family, had an uncredited cameo in The Sound of Music [1965] alongside her mother and brother Werner, 93).


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
5, 12, 14, 25, 36, 55
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    Little Jennifer's grandmother was staying with the family because she had been ill and needed bed rest. When Little Jennifer's mother took her daughter in to say goodnight Little Jennifer was staring at her grandmother's false teeth in a glass of water beside the bed. "What is it, Little Jennifer? Those are just my teeth," her grandmother said.
    Little Jennifer looked at the teeth, looked in awe at her grandmother and looked up at her mother. "Mummy," she said, "the tooth fairy will never believe this!"

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