The Friday Irregular

Issue #636 - 15th October 2021

Edited by and copyright ©2021 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.






  n. extremely rare books or manuscripts


Friday 15th October   -   Edgar the Ætheling was proclaimed King of England following the death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings; he would remain uncrowned and concede the throne to William the Conquerer in December, 1066. Actress Jane Darwell born, 1879. The "From Hell" letter, allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper, was posted to the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, 1888. Dancer and alleged spy Mata Hari was executed, 1917. Artist and broadcaster Tony Hart born, 1925. Composer and songwriter Cole Porter died, 1964.
Saturday 16th October   -   King Otto I of Germany defeated a Slavic revolt at the Battle on the Raxa, 955. Samurai and daimyō Niwa Nagahide born, 1535. Artist Lucas Cranach the Elder died, 1553. Marie Antoinette, queen consort of King Louis XVI of France, was executed, 1793. Abolitionist Lucy Stanton, the first African-American woman to complete a four-year college or university course, born, 1831. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was published, 1847. World Food Day.
Sunday 17th October   -   A tornado, thought to have been of strength T8/F4, struck London, 1091. Courtier and poet Sir Philip Sidney, died, 1586. Dramatist Nathan Field born, 1587. Queen Elizabeth II opened the world's first commercial nuclear power station, in Sellafield, England, 1956. Singer Bernie Nolan born, 1960. Actress Joan Hickson died, 1998. International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
Monday 18th October   -   The coronation of Dagobert I as King of the Franks, 629. Margaret Tudor, queen of James IV of Scotland, died, 1541. Botanist Nicholas Culpeper born, 1616. The United States formally took possession of Alaska after buying it from Russia, 1867. Mathematician and engineer Charles Babbage, inventor of the mechanical computer, died, 1871. Greek actress, singer and politician Melina Mercouri, born, 1920.
Tuesday 19th October   -   Hannibal was defeated by the Romans under Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in the Second Punic War, 202 BCE. John, King of England, died, 1216. Surgeon William Cheselden born, 1688. Researchers at Rutgers University isolated Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, 1943. Poet Edna St Vincent Millay died, 1950. Singer Sinitta born, 1963.
Wednesday 20th October   -   Architect, physicist and mathematician Sir Christopher Wren born, 1632. The United States and the United Kingdom signed the Convention of 1818, settling the Canada-US border on the 49th parallel for most of its length, 1818. Explorer Richard Burton died, 1890. Psychologist Dr Joyce Brothers born, 1927. Aviator Sheila Scott died, 1988. Students at Princeton University discovered the Sloan Great Wall, then the largest cosmic structure known, 2003.
Thursday 21st October   -   Explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the strait between mainland Chile and Tierra del Fuego that now bears his name, 1520. Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge born, 1772. Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, died at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805. Florence Nightingale was sent to the Crimean War with a staff of 38 nurses, 1854. Writer Ursula K. LeGuin born, 1929. Sculptor, artist and filmmaker Nancy Graves died, 1995.


This week, Charles Babbage:
On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.


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 2014:


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

IN BRIEF: The Boynton Beach City Commission in Florida is being sued over a mural honouring Latosha Clemons, the city's first Black female firefighter. The mural depicts her as being White. ● Two men have been rescued after drifting in a boat - surviving on rainwater, oranges and coconuts recovered from the sea - in the southwest Pacific for 29 days. Livae Nanjika, one of the two, told reporters how they had heard no news about COVID or the world, and that, while he was looking forward to going home, it had been "a nice break from everything". ● An unexplained boom and tremors were felt across New Hampshire on Sunday morning, but nobody knows what it was. The USGS did not register any earth tremors, there were no military flights and, unlike a previous boom, no explosives-laden gender reveal parties. It is thought that it could have been a meteor breaking up, but no sightings have been reported. ● The V&A Dundee museum had received £100,000 ($136,400) from the auction of a complete set of Dalmore Decades No.6 single malt whiskies, comprising releases from 1951, 1967, 1979, 1995 and 2000. ● Scientists have found a DNA 'signature' in identical twins which suggests that identicality is not, as previously thought, a random occurrence for twins. ● A mural that appeared on the side of a Stockport pub on Sunday drew speculation that it might be a new work by Banksy, but by midweek another, local, street artist had claimed responsibility. ● The US Navy has sold the aged aircraft carriers the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS John F. Kennedy for scrap, for 1c (0.007p) each; the deal means that the Navy will not have to pay International Shipbreaking Limited to haul them to the breakers' yard. ● Electricity supplies in Kirkcudbright were knocked out for a few hours last Friday when the mast of a replica Viking longboat, being transported on a flatbed lorry as part of celebrations for the Galloway treasure hoard's arrival at a local gallery, knocked them down. ● Scott Pio, a Republican candidate for the Loudon County, Virginia, seat in the state legislature has announced a solution to rising sea levels - "I'm curious, do you think the sea level would lower, if we just took all the boats out of the water?" he tweeted... [The difference would be about six microns, a little over the diameter of a single strand of spider silk. -Ed]

CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: More than 500 cases of COVID-19 have been traced to last month's TRNSMT three-day music festival in Glasgow, and around 1,645 people have been traced as close contacts of those infected, despite attendees having had to show proof of a negative lateral flow test. The festival is not being considered as a "super spreader" event. ● One of the US Capitol rioters in court has asked not to go to jail because they might get COVID-19 (being unvaccinated, of course...)

UPDATES: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace suffered another outage on Friday; this one lasted just two hours and was again blamed on a "configuration change". ● Cases of "Havana syndrome" have been repored at the US embassies in Berlin, Germany, and Bogota, Colombia. ● Another mysterious hum, this time in Holmfield, a suburb of Halifax, West Yorkshire has been heard on and off for a year and efforts to trace its origins have so far proven fruitless. ● As this issue was being written William Shatner was blasted into a short sub-orbital flight aboard Jeff Bezos' giant phallusBlue Origin rocket.


Mountain gorilla Ndakasi (became famous around the world after photobombing a ranger's selfie, 14), politician James Brokenshire (MP for Hornchurch [2005-2010] then Old Bexley and Sidcup [2010-death], Secretary of State for Northern Ireland [2016-2018], Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2018-2019], 53), actor Granville Adams (Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, Homicide: The Movie, 58), musician Paddy Moloney (Ceoltóiri Chualann, Claddagh Records, co-founder of The Chieftains, 83), musician and TV presenter Rick Jones (Fingerbobs, Play School, Meal Ticket, 84), actress Juli Reding (Tormented, Darby's Rangers, The Interns, 85), writer/producer Ava Ostern Fries (Born Famous, created Troop Beverly Hills, 87), actress Cynthia Harris (Mad About You, Edward & Mrs Simpson, Three Men and a Baby, 87), stuntman Bob Herron (Rocky, Diamonds Are Forever, Spartacus, 97), animator Ruthie Tompson (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, The Rescuers, 111).


Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:
2, 41, 45, 47, 49, 51
[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at


    It was maths class. "OK, children", the teacher said, "Here's a slighlty harder problem for you to think about. If a school has eight classes, and each class has twenty children in it, how many pupils are there?"
    The children sat and thought about it, then Little Jennifer's hand went up. "Yes, Little Jennifer?"
    "Three hundred and twenty, Miss!"
    "No, I'm sorry, Little Jennifer, but that's wrong. How did you get that?"
    "Well, Miss, eight times twenty is one hundred and sixty, and then you double it."
    The teacher looked puzzled. "Why did you double it?"
    Little Jennifer pointed at her face and smiled as only she could. "Because we each have two pupils in our eyes, Miss!"

^ ...end of line