Last Sunday, stuck in traffic by Echo Park Lake, I listened to the radio as voices marked the 67th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The very words “Pearl Harbor” have come to symbolize many negative things — unpreparedness, wartime disaster, surprise attack, sneak attack, etc. But I thought, Hell, it also meant the end of the Great Depression, a fact that some of the radio voices also acknowledged. Would it be too much, then, to officially add to December 7's traditional Day of Infamy designation, “AKA, The Day the Depression Ended”? And why not extend this to other dates and events as well — 9/11 could also be dubbed The Day Bush Was Reelected.

(Dodger Stadium photo from

The reason I was trapped in gridlock was something called the City of

Angels Half Marathon. For days signs had been appearing in Echo Park

that foretold of street closings (Sat., 1 a.m.-Sun., 10 a.m.) and

general upheaval, the kind of notifications that are always mentally

filed away by residents and soon forgotten. When Sunday arrived those

of us in cars suddenly remembered the signs, now that we saw the rows

of DayGlo orange road cones, sleepy traffic cops stationed at

intersections and the tow trucks. Lots of tow trucks. Why not refer to

running events as the L.A. Marathon/Tow Truck Fiesta? The marathon was

a fund-raising event for Grove of Hope, an educational nonprofit, but I

saw no one running down Sunset Boulevard that morning. So why not let

the towing services share the glory?

(Halley's Comet from W. Liller/NASA)

While I'm at it, let me propose a few other alternate names for local events:

  • Dodgers Win the Pennant/Return of Halley's Comet
  • Hollywood Christmas Parade/Night of Lost Wallets
  • Sunset Junction Street Fair/$20 Sunburn Marathon
  • DWP's Festival of Lights/The Day the 5 Stood Still

If you have other alternate event names for local dates, please email me at

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