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  INCOMING! JUNE 13, 2005.  


If nothing else, today should be celebrated as the day that those glorious midget twins, the Olsens, came screaming into the world. Remember, that's Mary Kate and Ashley, and not the other way around. Really, what would gossip pages editors and readers do without them? I'm not sure how the Olsen twins, born in 1986, will celebrate their 19, lately rather precarious, years on this earth, but it probably won't be as exciting for fans as their last birthday, when they legally shed their status as jailbait. Yeah, back then "fans" were speculating the twins would start shedding clothing for girlie magazines as soon as they hit college.

But that hasn't happened. Instead, Mary Kate is


hiding behind extremely large sunglasses and even larger floppy hats. Still, I expect that throngs of not-so-preteen boys and men will quietly sing to themselves "I love love, and I hate hate" in celebration, and perhaps eat cake frosted with Olsen-branded toothpaste.

Alas, it may also spark cocaine-induced rioting among twin sisters everywhere, particularly those who are not yet skinny enough to be worth a combined $300 million.




If you know someone named Dave, and I know quite a few, be sure to buy them a piece of sandpaper with their name scratched onto it today.

Why, you ask? Well, because it's both Dave Day and the day that sandpaper was invented in 1834. Actually, that's bullshit. Sandpaper was only patented that year in the U.S. It was first used in 13th century China, according to some, as a substitute for toilet paper. More importantly, it inspired an entire fucking ballet, called the Sandpaper Ballet, where Leroy Anderson of Boston Pops fame turned it into a musical instrument. That was in 1954. Apparently soft-shoe dancers covered the stage in sand, and then three grades of sandpaper were rubbed together to make music. Thank GOD for avant garde.

The last time I used sandpaper was in shop class during the fourth grade, but it was a memorable experience. It was the same day that my classmate Billy cut the tips of his fingers off with an electrical saw and we had to search for them in the sawdust and slip them into little plastic baggies for re-attachment. We only recovered two of three, and they were a bloody mess. But I've



gotten off topic.

Why do they have a Dave Day? To acknowledge the great works of some of society's most famous Daves! No kidding. Some of the more memorable Daves I would like to send sandpaper to include David Hasselhoff. I'm thinking it might come in handy on his permed chest hair.




Today, go get struck by lightning while flying a kite. Benjamin Franklin first tried it on this day in 1752, and it made him famous. Or if you'd rather, go fly a kite with a child. Or you could just talk about kites with your friends and lovers. Kites


were apparently first flown by people of the South Seas Islands to catch fish. In the Polynesian Islands, kites were associated with gods. You know, maybe that's why Franklin got struck by lightning.




Today through Saturday, the National Right to Life group holds its annual conference at the Bloomington, MN Sheraton. The event is also billed as the "Pro-Life Event of the Year." Yep, that's because the rest of the year pro-lifers plan to bomb the shit out of stuff.

Surprisingly enough, fetuses will not be admitted to the conference. If I'm reading the conference Web site correctly, childcare is available at a cost for "newborns" through 12-year-olds, but there is absolutely no mention of the unborn on that list. Now is that really a caring life-loving attitude?

Pro-life teens will have their very own sessions to choose from, with topics like "Abortion: How to Answer the Hard Questions without Losing Your Lunch." I imagine this translates into, how not to let the school bullies taunt you for your pro-life views and then steal your peanut butter and jelly samich and cookies from the lunch table. They can also learn about "Lifeboat Ethics." I have no idea what that means. Key speakers will include, um, mostly people I've never heard of before.

Moving on to death, today is also Bloomsday, in honor of one of those famous dead literary Irish



guys, James Joyce, and his famous book Ulysses. No, that's not an indie rock band, or a solar probe, though it is actually both of those things too. (For extra points, can you name the other 79 famous dead Irish literary guys?) Anyways, Ulysses is said to be "difficult" literature, so I'll give you a quick rundown.

The entire book takes place over the course of a single day. You guessed it, June 16 -- only in 1904. On this day, advertising salesman Leopold Bloom goes on a micro-odyssey through Dublin where he examines his relationship with his wife Molly and surrogate son Stephan Dedalus. Very little happens. And that kind of sums it up. The best way to celebrate is to go get stewed at your local Irish bar. Though the more serious-minded among you might foolishly be tempted to read the book's entire 267,000 WORDS in one sitting.




Today through Sunday the oxymoronically named Democracy for Texas hosts DemocracyFest 2005 in Austin, Texas. Even more surprising, the event, which boasts DNC Chairman Howard Dean as its guest speaker, is totally sold out! Who knew there were Democrats in Bush-whacked Texas?

OK, it's true, Austin is perhaps a tiny speck of blue in a huge sea of crimson red that is the rest of this state. Dean and friend Jesse Jackson will speak Saturday night at the world-famous Stubb's BBQ on something they're calling the Progressive Express - which is not a train or a bus, but a very large mechanical bull. Sadly, there won't be any barbecue-sauce-lathered-girls wrestling match. Democrats are no fun.

Today is also Icelandic Independence Day. On this day in 1944, Iceland said fuck you to Denmark. Contrary to popular, or unpopular, belief, only



about 10 percent of Iceland is covered in ice. But have an ice cube and put on some Bjork.


Kristen French is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York.


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.