Today’s posting is a bit lighter than usual, and to this end we start with arguably the best mechanical and civil engineer ever, as Isambard Kingdom Brunel gauged opinion over his birth date in 1806. Born John Christian Tanck before going onto be known as John Christian ‘Chris’ Watson – third Prime Minister of Australia, inaugurated himself in 1867. Not to be outdone, three time Prime Minister of France André Léon Blum moderately left his mum in 1872. Co-founder of frozen chip company Wallace McCain left the oven in 1930. Iconic presenter of children’s favourite television programme Blue Peter, Valerie Singleton slipped anchor in 1937. Country singer, (it gets worse as she’s also considered a world class yodeller), Betty Lou Miller aka Margot Smith, found this was just the beginning in 1942. Ex-fan of Colombian marching powder, actor Dennis William Quaid gave his folks something to talk about in 1954. Mikhail Gorbachev looky likey (minus the birthmark), principled politician and former leader of the blues, George Iain Duncan Smith is another year nearer retirement given he’s now 62. Spanish divot maker Severiano ‘Seve’ Ballesteros had a free drop in 1957. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs was out in 1963. F1 champ Jacques Joseph Charles Villeneuve left his first skid marks in 1971. Alternative rock singer, with the alternative hip name Gerard Arthur Wait isn’t quite one of the kids from yesterday given he was born 1977. One of the Columbine High School killers, Eric David Harris found it wasn’t close season in 1981.
As for deaths, there are two Popes to start things off – Pope Constantine stepped down from the pulpit in 715, then in 1024 Pope Benedict VIII hung his smock up for the final time. King of England Edward IV managed to bag a place in Windsor Castle back in 1483. William V, Prince of Orange found everything went black in 1806. American freak show performer, Zip the Pin Head undid himself in 1926. Dead Norwegian of the day is pioneer of modern weather forecasting Vilhelm Friman Koren Bjerknes who found he was as vague about his death in 1951 as he was about his forecasting capabilities. Ahmet Muhtar Zogolli or Zog I, King of the Albanians has been in permanent exile since 1961. One half of singing pair Sam & Dave, David ‘Dave’ Prater Jr. found it was so nice while it lasted, until he rolled over in 1988. Fan of pancakes and fried chicken (seemingly), feminist author Andrea Dworkin didn’t suffer from morning hair after 2005. Finally, third President of Trinidad and Tobago, Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson started to use his absence voting right from 2014.