The Friday Irregular

Issue #745 - 8th December 2023

Edited by and copyright ©2023 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 fear of not having a working mobile phone


Friday 8th December   -   Poet Horace born, 65 BCE. Louis the Stammerer was crowned king of the West Frankish Kingdom, 877. Mariner Charles Lightoller, second officer on the RMS Titanic and the highest-ranking officer to survive the sinking, died, 1952. Actress Kim Basinger born, 1953. Golda Meir, educator and 4th Prime Minister of Israel, died, 1978. The Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft slingshotted past Earth for the first time, 1990, and the second time, 1992.
Saturday 9th December   -   The Gothic garrison in Rome fled as Byzantine general Belisarius entered the city unopposed, during the Gothic War, 536. Poet and philosopher John Milton born, 1608. Artist Anthony van Dyck died, 1608. The first traffic lights were installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London, 1868. Computer scientist Grace Hopper born, 1906. Anthropologist Mary Leakey died, 1996. International Anti-Corruption Day (UN).
Sunday 10th December   -   The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published, 1768. Mathematician and computer scientist Ada Lovelace born, 1815. Alfred Nobel, inventor of Dynamite and founder of the Nobel prize, died, 1896. King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom signed the Instrument of Abdication, 1936. Actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh born, 1960. Artist Greta Kempton died, 1991. Human Rights Day (UN).
Monday 11th December   -   King Louis XVI of France was put on trial for treason during the French Revolution, 1792. Composer Hector Berlioz born, 1803. Oliver Winchester, founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, died, 1880. The Mona Lisa, stolen from the Louvre more than two years earlier, was recovered in Florence, Italy, 1913. Actress Maila Nurmi born, 1922. Model Bettie Page died, 2008. International Mountain Day (UN).
Tuesday 12th December   -   Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the US Constitution, 1787. Astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt died, 1921. Actress Jennifer Connelly born, 1970. Three commuter trains crashed at Clapham Junction, killing thirty-five and injuring hundreds of passengers, 1988. Runner Nixon Chepseba born, 1990. Author John le Carré died, 2020.
Wednesday 13th December   -   Artist Donatello died, 1466. Dartmouth College was founded with a royal charter from King George III, 1769. Mary Todd Lincoln, 16th First Lady of the United States, born, 1818. HMS Ajax, HMNZS Achilles and HMS Exeter engaged the Admiral Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate, 1939. Actor and comedian Jamie Foxx born, 1967. Civil and human rights activist Ella Barker died, 1986.
Thursday 14th December   -   An earthquake caused severe damage to Constantinople, cracking the dome of Hagia Sophia, 557. Astronomer Tycho Brahe born, 1546. George Washington, general and 1st President of the United States, died, 1799. The 1918 general election in the UK, the first in which women had the legal right to vote, was held, 1918. Actress and singer Jane Birkin born, 1946. Author Emily Cheney Neville died, 1997.


This week, Golda Meir:
Don't be humble... you're not that great.


A selection of quotations from films containing the word 'snow' in the title, either as a whole word or part of a word. Answers next issue or from the regular address. Last issue's 'winter' quotations were from:


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

IN BRIEF: Danish police are advising people not to use toasters to warm up electric vehicle batteries after a man in Stenlille placed a toaster under his car for that purpose. The resulting fire destroyed the car and damaged a nearby house. ● The Leaning Tower of Pisa may be more famous but Italy's other leaning tower, the 12th Century Garisenda Tower, some 154' (47m) tall, standing in the centre of Bologna, which tilts at an angle of 4o, is in serious danger of collapse after sensors detected that it was shifting. A 16' (5m) high barrier has been erected around it to hopefully contain most of the debris, should it fail. ● The driver of one of two diggers being used to replace groynes at Bournemouth beach is being praised after his colleague's digger became stuck in the sand, trapped by rising waters. The man used his digger's bucket to rescue the other driver. ● Online user-written encyclopaedia Wikipaedia has released its list of the most searched-for subjects this years. The list is topped by ChatGPT, the virtual chatbot, followed by Deaths in 2023, the 2023 Cricket World Cup, the Indian Premier League and the film Oppenheimer (Barbie, released at the same time, ranked seven places lower). ● Scientists have developed a way to make laser beams up to nine times more powerful without losing any of their integrity. ● The Oxford University Dictionary has revealed its word of the year - 'rizz', a slang term used mostly online by Gen Z'ers, defined as style, charm or attractiveness, and the ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner. ● An Australian schoolgirl is being praised after her school bus's handbrake failed while the driver and a teacher were standing nearby and the bus started rolling towards a petrol station. Fourteen-year-old Isabelle Miller grabbed the wheel and steered the bus - carrying around 20 students - to safety. ● British Army doctor Alastair Bush has won the award of best international mullet at the World Mullet Championships in Australia. He started growing his hair into a mullet during lockdown. ● Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been knocked off the top of the Billboard 100 by a song released 65 years ago. Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" has become the oldest song to ever top the chart (taking the title from Carey's song, released 25 years before it first topped the chart in 2019), and Lee, now 78, has become the oldest person to top the chart. ● Santa Claus is facing eviction, not from the North Pole but from Santa's Grotto in Frome, Somerset, which marked its sixth year of operation by moving to a new purpose-built site comprising two wooden buildings in Critchell Manor Estate. Planning permission was rejected by the county council for sustainability reasons because visitors would need private cars as there is no public transport near the site, but the local parish council backed it, so building went ahead anyway and a new application has been made.

UPDATES: Ufologist Jaime Maussan, who presented the Peruvian congress with the fossilised bodies of what he claimed were small three-toed aliens discovered in an algae mine, is now claiming that they have been genetically tested and 30% of their DNA is not from any known species. True to form though, he had not actually presented any documented evidence to back up the claim.


Singer-songwriter Shane McGowan (The Pogues, "Fairytale of New York", "A Pair of Brown Eyes", 65), actor Dean Sullivan (Brookside, Doctors, The Royal, 68), politician Alistair Darling, Baron Darling of Roulanish (MP for Edinburgh Central then Edinburgh South West post devolution [1987-2015], Chief Secretary to the Treasury [1997-1998], Chancellor of the Exchequer [2007-2010], 70), astronaut Mary Cleave (the first woman to fly a Space Shuttle mission after the Challenger disaster, the first woman to serve as associate administrator in the Science Mission Directorate, while serving as Mission Control's CapCom (capsule communication) she became part of the first female-to-female ground-to-space communication with Sally Ride [first US female astronaut] during STS-7, 76), politician and campaigner Glenys Kinnock, Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead (MEP for Wales [1994-2009], Minister of State for Europe [2009], wife of Neil Kinnock [1967-death], 79), singer Denny Laine (Denny Laine and the Diplomats, co-founder of the Moody Blues and Wings, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 inductee, 79), musician Les Maguire (last-surviving original member of Gerry and the Pacemakers, Hog Owl, Ian and the Zodiacs, 81), actress Brigit Forsyth (Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, Still Open All Hours, The Practice, 83), former US Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O'Connor (the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, served from 1981 until 2006, 93), photographer and filmmaker Elliott Erwitt (subjects included the Nixon/Krushchev 1959 meeting and the cast of The Misfits, Glassmakers, 95), politician Henry Kissinger (US National Security Adviser [1969-75], Secretary of State [1973-77], Chair of the 9/11 Commission [2002], 100).


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
5, 17, 28, 41, 49, 53
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    The class were having a spelling quiz. "Alright, children," the teacher said, "who can spell 'mousetrap'?"
    Little Mary raised her hand. "M-o-u-s-t-..."
    "No, sorry, Little Mary. Little Edward?"
    "No, sorry, Little Edward. Anyone else?"
    Little Jennifer put her hand up. "OK, Little Jennifer?"
    Little Jennifer smiled as only she could. "C-a-t, Miss!"

^ ...end of line