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  INCOMING! AUGUST 16, 2004.  


On this day in 1977, Elvis Presley died at age 42 in Memphis, marking the birth of un-cool America. Never has anyone achieved the style and charisma of the king, except, of course, the legions of black

  entertainers he borrowed from. What we did get: People who have copped his style since, like Morrissey, in a cool way, and Vanilla Ice, in an ice-cool way. Twenty-seven years ago today, Elvis' body was found by his road manager in the bathroom of his Graceland Mansion, and rumor has it Saint Elvis actually left behind a holy relic. The King is dead, and it's a day that should be remembered, if just because you tools probably want to know what's up for Day 3 of the Olympics.

Yes, the TV is on, and the Olympics on it, with balls and breaststrokes. We got a little men's 100m backstroke, and the women's breast stroke. Oh, and there's some beach volleyball, if you can't find the remote or something to throw at the television in time. At last check of the Neilson ratings, the count was down by 2.2 million from those who watched opening night four years ago in Sydney. I swear the coverage of who's on what steroid was way more fascinating than, what have we got here … racquetball, or women's air rifle. Except for the


men's horse. In men's gymnastics, apparently all you need is a lobotomy, and some tights. Oh, and the "horse." Play ball.



"All I wanted was a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me."

The only thing I really remember about college orientation was a


pained exchange with a guy having a staring contest with his feet, "Do you know where I can get a Pepsi around here?"

For many in the nation, today is college Freshman Orientation day, also known as "breaking the ice and your parents bank day." Get your backpacks and tuition on, and say goodbye to your childhood forever. Quickly orient yourself with alcohol and sleeping through classes. Freshman Orientation is officially the first day of four years of humility; just don't forget to take a good look at the fear on your parent's faces as they say goodbye to their baby.

What's today in Athens?

Why, women's gymno: Today might be the day you should tear yourself away from watching the garbage trucks roll down the street, and turn your attention to the goddamn Olympics, because there's a 15-year-old gymnast people say might be the next little Lou Retton! Carly Patterson will be going out for the first U.S. women's all around gold medals since 1984, which, actually, might have been the last time the Olympics was cool. That's a long time, so go team go! Even though gymnasts don't get their periods and shit because their Russian trainers scare the periods out of them, try


and remember that she really is only 15.



"Well done, Sister Suffragettes!"

If you ever wondered what the hell was going on in Mary Poppins during the painful musical numbers, like the father George Banks, the banker's "all in a day of work" song, to his suffragette wife


Winifred's braying "suffragette" ditty well, well, I was wondering, too. It could possibly be Disney suggesting an era of Capitalism at work, rather than just a pretty story about family values and rosy-cheeked frivolity. I'm reminding us of this because today marks the 84th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing women's suffrage. With the radical change in the constitution, many suffrage workers got their pantaloons on to lobby and practice "civil disobedience" in order to pass the amendment giving women the right to vote, which technically should have given them equal rights. But it hasn't exactly worked that way, has it?

Moral of the story: Even if it's equal, it only works if women vote in a certain manner of interest. Believe it or not, women haven't always voted for their own equality, even though they have 51 percent of the vote. So, nearly 100 years after suffrage, and we still have the choice between three men for president. So hurrah for suffrage, because it's a bigger step toward democracy than


a third party. Both only seem to work with an accompanying social movement.

If you're feeling so angry you could kick someone in the balls, you can live vicariously through John Godina tonight as he shoots the put for the gold medal tonight. Just imagine he's throwing it at Nader's crotch.



Speaking of Nader, today marks the deadline for Ralph Nader to qualify to be on the ballot in Ohio and Tennessee. Hoo boy. This guy


really needs to come clean. Ohio's a big swing state. His newest and worst habit is criticizing Democrats for using the very same tactics or "dirty tricks" that he has employed to get himself on the ballot. He has even gotten some right-wing Christian group to help him in Oregon, using Republicans who want him on the ballot so he can "take votes from Kerry." All we really need him to do is admit he's willing to tear down the whole world for his self-aggrandizement.

Oh, and it's Bill Clinton's birthday today! Happy Birthday, big Bill, we wish you were still President. Even though he's no longer in office, he's still working for the American people, working toward economic growth and wearing weird African jewelry.

Sigh. More Olympics. Day 6 -- the women take to


the pool, and two Americans aptly named Butch and Vic take to archery. What a great week for America.



The state unemployment numbers for July are released today, projected at being the worst since December. This isn't going to be


pretty; I, for one, just added myself to this list. (I'm available!) Economists are musing that even though the jobless rate has improved slightly, it's probably because people have actually given up looking for work and aren't counted as unemployed any longer. Imagine trying to explain this to your parents.

Speaking of parents, on this day in 1989, the Menendez brothers shot and killed their parents in Beverly Hills. These notorious preppies did the unthinkable -- and people still thought they were heartthrobs. This supports my theory that all preppies are scary-hot. Never underestimate the power of the V-neck sweater. They weren't total assholes, either -- they rocked at tennis and figured if they killed their father, they might as well kill mom so she wouldn't suffer with evil dad gone.

Freestylin' swimming for Day 7 of the Olympics. At


least these guys are hotter than the shot putters.


Rachel Elder might be more than just a statistic, but she IS looking for a job.


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.