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  INCOMING! APRIL 5, 2004.  
   
   
  It's difficult to keep up with what's going on right now, let alone look forward to a week ahead. Therefore, The Black Table introduces INCOMING!, your guide to what's up.

Monday

Sure, it's baseball's Opening Day -- and there's baseball all day, starting at 1 p.m. ET with the Cubs at Reds and running through Rangers at A's at 10:30 p.m. -- but true sports dorks will be deadbolted to the recliner starting at 9 p.m., for the NCAA Championship game between the Connecticut Huskies and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. By now, of course, all the brackets you

 
 

whimsically filled out three weeks ago are as marked up and smudged as a Chris Burke Master's thesis. But even if you're not a sports fan, you can enjoy tonight's game, thanks to the following:

1. Connecticut center Emeka Okafor is, in the words of The Black Table's Amy Blair, "six feet and nine inches of perfectly sculpted man-loveliness."

2. If a Cro-Magnon woman mated with the Unfrozen Cave Man Lawyer, and then the two of them raised him in a hippie commune where all children were required to smoke joints while doing layup drills, and that commune were located in Australia, that spawn would be remarkably similar to Georgia Tech center Luke Schenscher.

3. Broadcaster Billy Packer looks like the grumpiest Muppet alive.

4. The infamous "One Shining Moment" highlight package. After the game is over, CBS puts video of the most memorable moments of the tournament to the song "One Shining Moment," which might be the worst song humans are capable of writing. (It's one of those songs that, after you hear it, you desperately want to take a sledgehammer to a piano.) Yet, somehow, sports fans always tear up during CBS' segment. Every time. It's really quite amazing. When this comes on tonight, just stare at a sports fan's and watch him try not to cry. He can't do it. It's a mystery.

 


 
 

 

Tuesday

Late-night porn impresario/nastiest-looking woman this side of West Virginia Robin Byrd turns 47 years old on Tuesday. For those of you without Time Warner Cable, Byrd hosts "The Robin Bird Show" on

 
 

Channel 35 basic cable, which basically is a parade of the most repulsive "adult entertainers" one could possibly dredge up. Whether it's a woman with a penis, a guy with butt cheeks he could tuck in his shoes or some sort of marine mammal, "The Robin Byrd Show" can always be counted on to repulse and fascinate.

What's perhaps most amusing about the show is that Byrd and her cohorts apparently believe the carnage on screen is titillating other than, you know, freaking horrifying. Byrd's snaggle-toothed smile and cackle is one of someone who feels she

   
 

is getting away with something, who is being naughty. We dunno … does sticking your face in a blender count as naughty? 'Cause it's pretty much the same thing.

We can never tell if the show is being shown live or if it's something that was taped a couple decades ago, so we can't suggest you tune in to see if they're having a big birthday bash for Robin. But if you're looking for something that you can see and cannot unsee, man, "The Robin Byrd Show" has to be on the top of that list.

 

Wednesday

Of all the television programs that shined ever so briefly -- but brightly -- and have since been relegated to the trash heap of so-forgotten-they-won't-even-show-it-on-TV Land history, we feel the

 
 

most unfairly forgotten is MTV's long-dead game show "Singled Out."

Don't you remember "Singled Out?" The premise was so simple and easy-to-comprehend that it's no wonder that every dating show of the last decade has copied it: Men and women were asked "saucy" questions as they stood on a strange Chutes-and-Ladders-like game board. With every question they answered in a similar fashion, they would move closer together on the board. When they finally met, hey, it's a match! They would then have sex with each other, right there, while the credits rolled, as host Chris Hardwick put gel in his hair and shucked and jived. (Every day on this earth, Hardwick looks at Ryan Seacrest and questions the existence of a higher deity.) The show, which nobody even thinks about anymore, launched the careers of not only Jenny McCarthy, but also her replacement, Carmen Electra. We don't know about you, but we wasted many hours in college doing bong hits and watching this show. Many. (Our favorite part was toward the end of the show's run, once McCarthy had left and the show was on its last legs, when Hardwick, apparently seeing his future clearly for the first time, stopped shaving, cleaning himself up or even paying attention to

 

 
 

much happening on the show all together. It was like watching Campbell Scott after his monorail plan got squashed in "Singles.")

Anyway, you can see whatever happened to Chris Hardwick on Wednesday; he "stars" in the new Cedric the Entertainer comedy "Johnson Family Vacation," which opens Wednesday. (Poor Hardwick doesn't appear on the poster, or in any of the promotional materials, but, you know, Steve Harvey gets another chance to grin like a five-year-old in the bike aisle of a toy store.) This makes perfect sense of us; if you're looking for an example of the Lame White Guy, Hardwick has to be the perfect specimen. Plus, it will be funny to see how he's aged. After all, "Singled Out" was on the air nine years ago. Feel old yet? Good.

 

Thursday

National Security Director Condoleezza Rice will begrudgingly testify before the commission investigating the intelligence breakdown behind 9/11 on Thursday, and it's huge; some have argued that the

 
 

entire credibility of the Bush administration will be on the line. Condi's got some 'spaining to do. The Commission is expected to drill her about the claims by former advisor Richard Clarke that the Bush administration either ignored or pooh-poohed the issue of terrorism before September 11. Rice has been trying to avoiding testifying under oath for weeks, instead going on countless network news shows, which are much easier to handle than going in front of Congress since, you know, you can lie on those shows, if you have to. But now she'll do it under oath, in front of the entire nation, with a bunch of old white men peppering her with

   
 

questions. Don't expect any "Gotcha!" moments, but it's certainly one of the biggest tests Rice and the administration have faced yet.

The interrogation is expected to be a long, brutal, public one. In an interesting twist, every answer Rice answers that is similar to the answer of a sitting Senator will bring them closer on the Senate floor, culminating in one lucky gentleman getting to make out with Ms. Rice as the credits roll.

 

Friday

It's Good Friday, and we all know what that means … time to watch them beat the shit out of Jesus some more! The Passion of the Christ continues to dominate the NASCAR country multiplexes, but did you

 
 

know that it's actually a hit in Iraq as well? Seriously. (This is absolutely true.) According to a friend of The Black Table stationed in Iraq, Iranian bootlegs of Passion actually advertise the film as "absolutely hilarious." We suppose this is a fair assessment. If you've seen the film, to steal our friend's line, the film certainly is "side-splitting." And who can forget the part when Jim Carrey jumps out of Jesus' birthday cake and pretends to hump a bear? That was by far the funniest part, we think.

 

   
 

And don't forget the wacky catchphrases:
"That's gonna leave a mark!"
"Cowabunga!"
"De cross!! De cross!!"
"Did I do THAT??!!"
"Kiss my grits, Pilate!"
"Book 'em, Dano."
"I'd buy THAT for a dollar!"
and, of course:
"Wha' happen'?"

(Thanks to Matt Dorfman and our friend in Iraq for contributing to this one.)

 

INCOMING! will run every Monday on The Black Table, starting, well, now. Writers will be rotated, and if you're interested in contributing one, email Will Leitch at leitch@blacktable.com.