The Friday Irregular

Issue #624 - 23rd July 2021

Edited by and copyright ©2021 Simon Lamont
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  n. the art of engraving on wood using a hot poker


Friday 23rd July   -   Three hundred colonists sailed from Dieppe for New France, 1623. Composer Domenico Scarlatti died, 1757. Thomas Brisbane, 6th Governor of New South Wales, born, 1773. The first Ford motor car was sold, 1903. Jenny Pike, Canadian servicewoman, photographer and darkroom technician, born, 1922. Physicist and astronaut Sally Ride died, 2012.
Saturday 24th July   -   Margravine Matilda of Tuscany died, 1115. Explorer Jacques Cartier became the first European to set foot on what is now Quebec, 1534. Novelist Alexandre Dumas born, 1802. Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States, died, 1862. The Dust Bowl heatwave peaked with a temperature of 43oC (109oF) in Chicago, 1935. Actress Lynda Carter born, 1951.
Sunday 25th July   -   Archivist Brian Twyne born, 1581. The coronation of King James VI of Scotland as James I of England, joining the kingdoms in personal union, 1603. Adventurer Friedrich von der Trenck died, 1794. Biophysicist Rosalind Franklin, whose work led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, born, 1920. Journalist and activist Amy Jacques Garvey died, 1973. Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk, from the Salyut 7 space station, 1984.
Monday 26th July   -   Conquistador Francisco Pisarro González was appointed Governor of Peru, 1529. Pickpocket and fence Mary Frith, aka Moll Cutpurse, died, 1659. Nobel laureate playwright George Bernard Shaw born, 1856. Disney's Alice in Wonderland premiered in London, 1951. Actress Olivia Williams born, 1968. Chemist William A. Mitchell, inventor of Cool Whip and Pop Rocks, died, 2004. Feliçan Esperanto-tagon!
Tuesday 27th July   -   The English Parliament passed the second Navigation Act, requiring all goods for the American colonies to be sent in English ships from English ports, 1663. Charlotte Corday, assassin of Jean-Paul Marat, born, 1768. Chemist and physicist John Dalton died, 1844. Bugs Bunny debuted in the animated short A Wild Hare, 1940. Anthropologist Dorothea Bleek died, 1948. Actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta born, 1968.
Wednesday 28th July   -   The marriage of King Henry VIII of England and Catherine Howard, his fifth wife, 1540. Playwright Cyrano de Bergerac died, 1655. Poet Gerald Manley Hopkins born, 1844. Vinnie Ream, aged 18, became the first and youngest woman to be commissioned by the American government for a statue, of Abraham Lincoln (now in the U.S. Capitol rotunda), 1866. Singer and actress Rachel Sweet born, 1964. Author and journalist Margot Adler died, 2014. World Hepatitis Day.
Thursday 29th July   -   Otto II, Duke of Bavaria, died, 1253. The Zong massacre was committed by the crew of the British slave ship Zong, 1781. Composer Gaetano Donizetti born, 1797. Atari released Pong, the first commercially successful video game, 1972. Heptathlete Jennifer Oeser born, 1983. Actress Irene Handl died, 1987.


This week, Jane Austen:
What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.


A mixed bag of quotations. Answers next issue or from the regular address. Last issue's quotations were from films released in 2008:


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

IN BRIEF: Bruce Springsteen's manager has settled a 46-year-old debate over the lyrics to "Thunder Road" - does Mary's dress wave or sway? "The word is 'sways'" Jon Landau told the New Yorker. ● A documentary about the late chef Anthony Bourdain has stoked controversy by using an AI simulation of his voice to read extracts of his writing. ● Clippy, the bane of Microsoft Office users between 1997 and the mid-2000s is back - as an emoji replacing the standard 'paperclip' one in Office apps. ● Coca-Cola is reformulating Coke Zero to "deliver an even more iconic Coke taste" - do they not remember what happened with New Coke in 1985? ● Norway's beach handball team have been fined €1,500 (£1,295; $1,775) by the European Handball Federation for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships. ● The film most complained about to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) last year was 1980's Flash Gordon - because of the portrayal of Ming the Merciless as 'oriental'. The BBFC reclassified it from an A to a 12A. ● A Michigan homeowner renovating his porch discovered 150 bowling balls buried underneath it. ● Retired solicitor Archie White, 96, has become the UK's oldest ever graduate after completing a bachelor's degree in fine art at East Sussex College. ● A collision between three robots at an Ocado delivery fulfillment centre on Friday led to a fire that caused thousands of orders to be cancelled. ● Google Maps has been shamed into changing its displayed route up Ben Nevis after it was pointed out by mountaineering charities that it was "potentially fatal", including directing people to walk off a cliff... ● New York Police officer Ronald Kennedy has been praised for using an empty crisp packet and tape as a makeshift dressing to cover the wound on a stabbing victim. The victim is now in critical, but stable, condition in hospital.

CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: A woman in quarantine in a hotel on Australia's Gold Coast has been fined after a hotel staff member saw a drone being used to deliver cigarettes to the balcony of her room. ● Controversial right-wing British columnist Katie Hopkins has been dropped from Australian reality show Big Brother VIP before it started filming and deported after boasting online about breaking quarantine regulations in her hotel. As at least one person on Twitter commented, it is probably some form of retribution for all the criminals England sent to Australia all those years ago... ● One in five Americans still believe that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips despite zero evidence. ● A trial is underway at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London looking at whether a COVID-19 patient's own blood can be used to effectively treat the lung scarring caused by treatment for the virus in hospital. ● A doctor in San Diego, California, has pleaded guilty to trying to import hydroxychloroquine from China to include in treatment kits he claimed would cure the virus' infections. The shipment was labelled as "yam extract" but Jennings Ryan Staley believed it was hydroxychloroquine. It was actually baking soda. ● A homeopathic 'doctor' has been charged with selling fake vaccine cards and 'immunisation pellets'. ● Infants across America who have been kept at home by the pandemic and spent much of the time watching Peppa Pig are stunning their parents by using British idiom instead of American...

UPDATES: The couple whose gender reveal party featured a smoke bomb that allegedly sparked the El Dorado Wildfire in 2020 have been charged with 30 crimes including involuntary manslaughter. ● The 200-million-year-old fossil footprint discovered by four-year-old Lily in Wales is now on display at the National Museum Cardiff; curators have described it as "one of the best-preserved examples of its type from anywhere in the UK". ● American diplomats in Vienna are coming down with the same illness first reported in Havana, Cuba, in 2016-17. It is thought to be caused by directed microwave radiation. ● The drawing of a bear's head by Leonardo da Vinci sold at auction for £8.8m ($12.06m). ● New research suggests that the phosphines detected in the atmosphere of Venus could be the product of volcanic eruptions. ● Wally the Walrus is still enjoying the waters off the Isles of Scilly and has been given a specially-built pontoon to bask on after capsizing several small boats attempting to climb onto them and rendering others unusable as he slept on them for up to 42 hours.


Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui (2018 Pultizer Prize, Myanmar, Afghanistan, 41), Darron Coster (retired Royal Military Policeman who was present at the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing and treated victims, 54), rapper and beatboxer Biz Markie ("Just a Friend", Goin' Off, "Vapors", 57), darts player Andy "The Viking" Fordham (1995 British Matchplay champion, 2002 Welsh Open champion, 2004 BDO world champion, 59), opera director Sir Graham Vick (Scottish Opera, English National Opera, founded the Birmingham Opera Company, 67), wrestler Paul 'Mr Wonderful' Orndorff (GCW, WWE Hall of Fame, WCW trainer, 71), singer and violinist Robby Steinhardt (Kansas, "Dust in the Wind", "Carry On Wayward Son", 71), comedian and TV presenter Tom O'Connor (Opportunity Knocks three-time winner, Name That Tune, Crosswits, 81), cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (Jyllands-Posten newspaper, the controversial 2005 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, 86), actress Mary Ward (Sons and Daughters, Neighbours, Prisoner, 106).


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
8, 23, 35, 36, 41, 44
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    Little Jennifer's teacher had shown the class a video of dolphins performing at a sea park, hoping to start a discussion on animal welfare. "Well, children, what do you think that video showed you about dolphins?"
    Little Jennifer's hand shot up. "Those dolphins must have been very clever. Miss! They'd trained those people to stand at the side of the water and throw fish at them!"

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