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  INCOMING! MAY 23, 2005.  


Happy Victoria Day, Canucks! Or, Fête de la Reine, if you're one of those arrogant, backwoods Canadians still speaking Paris-talk. And if you're in Québec, you recognize today as National Patriotes Day (a.k.a. Journée Nationale des Patriots), which used to be called Empire Day, until it became Commonwealth Day. Confused? There's also a charmingly weak movement to reassign this day's name and reason to something nonspecifically innocuous like Heritage Day or Citizenship Day. I tell you, the people at Hallmark's Canada office are just frantic this time of year.

Meanwhile, we in America recognize the day for what it really is: Canada's Memorial Day. It's cute how they kick off their summer one week ahead of us -- as if anyone cares aboot Canadian barbeques, blockbusters or department-store sales! Why don't you cats up there just wait a week and rename your silly holiday Memorial Day North? I mean, celebrate your Anglo-Franco heritage all you want -- everybody knows you're really America Jr., eh?

Also today, Afghani President Hamid Karzai swings by the White House to discuss with President Bush the War on Terror® and to cancel together their subscriptions to Newsweek. Oh yeah!



Suck it, Newsweek! You blew it big time! Presidents Karzai and Bush now prefer U.S. News & World Report, thank you very much.




Today is the 122nd Birthday of everybody's favorite Gothic stone suspension bridge crossing the East River: yup -- the Brooklyn Bridge! Yes, on this day in 1883, after 14 long years of construction and catastrophe, the bridge that would be resold to thousands of gullible dupes opened, thus enabling the first ever wave of bridge-and-tunnelers to invade Manhattan's hotspots. Guess how many immigrant laborers are buried within its cement? Twenty-seven! That's fifty-four hands that built America. And twelve more people died just a week after it opened, when a rumor of collapse turned into a deadly stampede. Stupid outer-borough gossipmongers, always causing stampedes!

Brooklyn Bridge Fun Fact: Remember Katie, the adorable shiksa for whom lil' what's-his-face swooned in the schmaltzy TV series "Brooklyn Bridge"? She grew up to be none other than Jenny Lewis, the adorable shiksa lead singer of Rilo Kiley (following in the child-actor-in-a-nostalgic-TV-dramedy-to-MTV-rock-star footsteps of Paul Pfieffer/Marilyn Manson, only for real). What's all this got to do with the world's most famous suspension bridge? Nothing, but it sure is fun to talk about TV.



If you want to watch a majestic thoroughfare in action, here's the Brooklyn Bridge webcam. And now your day just got a little bit boringer.




Today is Towel Day, the made-up non-holiday observed by only the most desperate passionate nerds fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. To celebrate, all you've got to do is carry a towel around with you all day, as per the guide's recommendations. Says the guide:

For some reason, if a strag (non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Carrying a towel around today lends you slightly more geek cred than your socially inept friends who spent last week wearing Jedi robes, because only the book describes the importance of fresh linens to the galactic pilgrim; such references were cut from the current film, despite Mos Def's continual clutching of such prop throughout the flick. Then again, if the inexplicable presence of a towel was the only part of the movie that made no sense, you simply weren't high enough.

The 25th of May has no actual significance to the book or its author, except that it's two weeks after Douglas Adams's untimely death in 2001, which is how long it took the stoned fanboys who thunk it up to convince fellow nerds to carry a towel around.

Also today: President Bush will welcome Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the White House to discuss the War



on Terror®, the Tsunami™, and the cataclysmic consequences of unchecked liberalism in the media (*ahem*, Newsweek, *cough*). Expect hours of hilarious late-night talk-show laughs at the expense of the president's misunderpronunciation of "Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono." And now you're going to be silently repeating that to yourself all day long. Bambang!




Today's diplomat visiting from a part of the world in turmoil? Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas hits D.C. to discuss the War on Terror® with Bush and to terminate his Newsweek subscription. Having already canceled his with President Karzai earlier in the week, look for Bush to just ceremoniously torch this week's issue.

After all that fun, expect Presidents Bush and Abbas to kick it old-school while cranking "Are You Gonna Go My Way?" up to 11. Today is the 41st birthday of the once-dreadlocked, half-Jewish, half-black, rock-funk guitarist Lenny Kravitz. And where is his ex-bride Miss Lisa Bonet today? Weeping quietly on her couch as she recounts the dozens of consecutive career misfires that took her from beloved Cosby kid to kitschy punch line.

Also blowing out candles today are space diva Sally Ride (54) and arsonist/talking horse Bobcat



Goldthwait (43). If somebody can explain to me how the hell that shaky mental patient wound up sharing a bed with Nikki Cox, I'll give you 15 dollars.




Aw yeah, it's Lag B'Omer, the Jewish holiday celebrating … I have no idea what. The point is: no Hebrew school today! All I remember is that Lag B'Omer means "33rd day of the Omer" and the normal rules of Omer don't apply. The Omer (Hebrew for "Lent") is a 49-day-long period of sorrowful remembrance during which you're not supposed to shave, dance, or wed, which is pretty much all that distinguishes it from the rest of the year's normal state of being sorry and remembering things. And for some reason you have to count the days with a ridiculous daily prayer that actually translates to "Today is the __ day of Omer!" And there's also something to do with measuring grain that I don't think applies anymore. Jews sure do like to count things. Anyway, 49 days in a row is a long time to feel guilty and sad, so today we take a break from the drudgery of counting and celebrate with picnics and bonfires. Maybe you'd like some rugalach? Eat, eat, bubelah, you're too skinny. You want people should think I don't feed you?

Also, on this day in 1968, a starry-eyed Yalie enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard. For two weeks. Fast-forward some booze-and-coke-fueled decades later, followed by the forgiving embrace of the Lord and Savior, and that enthusiastic



guardsman's got a fucking mandate from the people.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, folks!




INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.