25 May 2012


From Wikipedia ~ "Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25 May as a tribute by fans of the author Douglas Adams.  On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author, as referred to in Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams' death on 11 May 2001.

"The original quotation that explained the importance of towels is found in Chapter 3 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ~ 'A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.  Partly it has great practical value.  You can ~

  • wrap it around you for warmth
  • lie on it on the beach
  • sleep under it beneath the stars
  • use it to sail a miniraft
  • wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat
  • wrap it around your head to ward off noxious fumes
  • wave it in emergencies as a distress signal
  • dry yourself off with it if it seems clean enough
"More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value.  For some reason, if a strag (non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel on him, he will automatically assume 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, is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

The Hitchhiker's Guide is filled with droll humor, as well as camouflaged commentary on issues ranging from environmental activism to radical atheism.  Adams was a proponent of both, and influenced thinkers and writers as diverse as Richard Dawkins, Mark Carwadine, and Richard Leakey.  But it would be a mistake to place Adams into a conveniently-labeled cubbyhole.  His was an original voice and a questing intellect, concealed behind gentle, playful humor.

I can think of no finer celebration than the Diva's Song from the 1997 French science fiction film The Fifth Element.  When I first saw the movie, this performance literally left me breathless.  The Russian operatic soprano Evgenia Laguna is transcendent, her voice soaring effortlessly through its four octave range.

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