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  INCOMING! JULY 26, 2004.  


The Democratic National Convention gets underway in Boston today. With the November presidential election only a few months away, the nation's Democrats descend upon the Land of Nomar to verbally fellate one another and, if they get around to it, officially nominate John Kerry as the Democratic candidate for president. As Democratic conventions go, this one promises to be more exciting than the 1988 snoozefest in Atlanta that left most of the country scratching their heads over the Dukakis nomination, but not


quite as eventful as the infamous 1968 battle royal in Chicago that saw 11,000 of Chi-town's finest introduce an army of pissed-off hippies to the business ends of billy-clubs and pistol butts. Wicked pisser!

The Dems won't waste any time breaking out their big guns on the first day of the convention. Former Vice President and 2000 Presidential runner-up Al Gore emerges from his self-imposed exile, still trying to shake off the stink of endorsing Democratic also-ran Screamin' Howard Dean. With a coveted primetime speaking slot, Gore looks to deliver a passionate call-to-action that, most likely, will be delivered in a cringe-worthy manner that reminds people of Al Gore imitating Darrell Hammond imitating Al Gore. It's probably a safe bet that television commentators will use phrases like "slightly uncomfortable" and "stiff" and "reminiscent of an awkward Thanksgiving dinner with that weird uncle you only see once a year" to describe the speech. It's also likely that Gore is secretly hoping Kerry won't fare well in this fall's election, so he may use this opportunity to position himself for a run at the White House in 2008 by appealing to the voters with claims such as "This country needs a leader who is as interesting as a glass of warm milk," or "I invented blogs and internet porn," or "My wife still hates Dee Snider, Rob Halford and all the heavy metal music." (The real question: Beard, or no beard?)

With Gore serving as the opening act, former President Jimmy Carter should look like a world-class orator when he takes the stage later. There's no doubt Carter probably has some valuable insight to share about the state of our nation's current foreign policy, but every time we see the toothy ex-prez, we can't help but be reminded of his beer-swilling black sheep of a brother, Billy. Seriously, remember Billy Beer? Twelve packs were adorned with a picture of Jimmy's bespectacled bro-bro fishing a Billy Beer out of an aluminum washtub. And the can featured Billy's signature beneath the statement: "It's the best beer I've ever tasted. And I've tasted a lot." A lot of people have said a lot of terrible things about Billy Carter, but they can never say the man didn't have balls.

Closing out the night, the Elvis of American politics, former President Bill Clinton, will take a night off


from pimping his autobiography and winking at chubby co-eds to whip the collected Donkey-supporters into a frenzy of political self-love. Nobody works a crowd like The Man From Hope, so get the Tivo ready and you just might catch a blushing octogenarian pulling a Janet Jackson during one of the countless crowd reaction shots. Like the hillbilly-rock lovin' fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd who eternally shout "Play Freebird, man," expect the Clinton-junkies to be vocal in their desires to see some of his trademark moves, like "the lip bite," "the peeking-thumb fist" and the sure-to-bring-the-house-down "half-smirk, head-tilt into the lip bite."



Only in America can you get drunk (allegedly), drive your car off a bridge, cause the death of a pretty, young girl and still go on to serve seven terms in the U.S. Senate. But some would argue that a second


chance like this is just the kind of thing that makes our country so great. No, really, some would argue that. Anyway, when hometown boy Senator Ted Kennedy takes the stage on the second night of the DNC, he's sure to remind us all why he's everyone's favorite Kennedy not named John, Bobby, Eunice, Patricia or John, Jr.

Tonight also could be billed as The Night of A Thousand Losers, as former candidates for the Democratic nomination Howard Dean, Carol Moseley Braun and New York Post veep nominee Dick Gephardt all take to the stage to pretend they really like John Kerry, even though six months ago they would have punched their own mothers for the chance to see Kerry go down in primary flames.

Following the procession of Kerry's pretend-friends, Teresa Heinz Kerry floats on stage to convince everyone that her man has what it takes to serve as leader of the free world. It's possible that she may back up her case by referring to her hubby as "the future big swinging dick" of the Democratic party, but not likely. Instead, she'll probably focus on Mr. Kerry's shining military record, the success of their power-couple marriage and the extensive health benefits of the federal government's favorite vegetable, the ketchup.

And in one of the bigger coups of the convention, Ron Reagan, son of former Republican President Ronald Reagan, will address the masses on the importance of stem cell research. The Bush Administration has placed extensive limitations on such research because of moral and ethical objections to using human embryos. Expect the openly-liberal Reagan to urge Democrats to ease


these restrictions in hopes of developing treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, which contributed to his father's death. And expect George W. Bush to later order GOP Convention leader Bill Harris to "get me one of Carter's kids to talk about the benefits of disenfranchising minority voters."



The real fun at the DNC gets underway tonight. After another quick parade of Democratic presidential wannabes -- Bob Graham, Al Sharpton and Keebler Elf-look-alike Dennis Kucinich (who has just


last week officially dropped out of the running for the nomination, by the way; do we smell upset?) -- the stage is turned over to the photogenic Edwards family from North Cackalacka.

It's always interesting to see how the family members of high-profile politicos handle themselves in front of a crowd. Sure, John Edwards is a fiery speaker and a famously engaging campaigner, but how will his wife Elizabeth and his oldest daughter Cate handle the pressure of speaking to a packed Fleet Center crowd and a television audience of millions? No one knows. If Elizabeth has half the public speaking ability as the ol' ball and chain, she'll do fine. And Cate, well, she's what we like to call "a looker," so it really doesn't matter what she says as long as she wears something that offers viewers a little glimpse of the famous Edwards' Flesh Mountains. Sorry, ladies, but just because she's the daughter of the man who could be our next VP doesn't mean she can't be sexually objectified by lowlifes like us.

The night concludes with what will probably be the second best speech of the entire event (we doubt anyone will top Clinton's spoken-word version of "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show") as presumptive Vice President nominee John Edwards addresses the American people to outline the ticket's plan for building a stronger, more secure nation. Much has been made about Edwards' quick rise to the top of the party and his subsequent lack of political experience, but when the spotlight locks in and the cameras roll, none of that matters. Edwards looks like he was sent over from Central Casting to play the role of vice president on the next season of "24," and he smoothly combines just the right mix of intellectual candor and sweet


Southern charm. He'll undoubtedly weave a mesmerizing tapestry of words that expounds equally on the value of mending relations with our foreign allies and the virtues of a nice, big bowl of fresh peach cobbler. After this speech, expect to see pretty boy John Edwards on the cover of TigerBeat: Politics for, like, three months. Easy.



For the DNC delegates, Thursday is a bittersweet day. The convention comes to a close, so their livers get a reprieve from the seemingly endless stream of Sam Adams Light that flowed


throughout the week. But they also have to say goodbye to their DNC-flings. Sure, they only met at the sign-in table on Monday, but it feels like they've known each other their whole lives. They'll never forget those nights when they stayed out past curfew and went swimming with their clothes on. Or that time when they ditched Hillary's speech and totally crushed on each other over lunches of pepperoni pizza and chocolate milk. Hopefully they can steal a kiss at the end-of-convention social while they dance to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight."

But before all that noise, the last day of the DNC features a list of speakers so spectacular it has to appear in bullet form:

  • Gen. Wesley Clark
  • Joe Lieberman
  • Madeline Albright
  • A bunch of random House representatives
  • And many more!

Most important, the coming out party for foxy daughters continues as John Kerry's girls, Alex and Vanessa, hit the runway for some hot Donkey action. If you thought Cate Edwards was hot, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Seriously. Vanessa Kerry is so hot that she was once romantically linked to everyone's favorite Beantowner, Ben Affleck. Despite being a tremendous tool, Affleck scores notoriously hot chicks, yo, so you know 'Nessa's completely stacked.

Finally, batting cleanup is the man of the hour, John Kerry. All the hubbub over the last three days has led to this, Kerry's moment of truth. His opponents label him as an out-of-touch waffler,


a wooden Washington insider, a cold fish propped up by a power-hungry condiment queen. This is Kerry's chance to redefine himself. And he's likely to shine. The man captained a swift boat up and down the rivers of Vietnam; odds are this night won't even rank in the Top 10 in terms of pressure-filled moments in his life. With a room full of teleprompters and a face full of Botox, tonight's the night Kerry positions himself as the man to bounce The Boy Blunder out of the White House come November.

Afterwards, thank Buddha you aren't one of the guys who has to clean up the Fleet Center at the end of the night. Do you know how hard it is to pop 20,000 balloons with the blunt end of a broom?



After countless hours of political droning, get out of the house on Friday and check out M. Night Shyamalan's latest offering, "The Village." In his fourth film in five years, Night brings us his latest


attempt to make a movie that is structured like a bad episode of Scooby Doo: Something strange happens, our heroes investigate and form a theory, only to find out that their theory is wrong and then -- BAM! -- twist-ending all upside your head. Rumor has it that Night continues his streak of awkward cameos in his movies by portraying the gigantic left breast of the village's resident harlot.

Catching a movie on opening weekend not your thing? Why don't you celebrate the anniversary of Disney's first full-color cartoon by watching all the studio's animated classics and trying to pick out the hidden pornographic content in each family-friendly


flick? Can you find the clouds that spell SEX in "The Lion King?" Can you locate the pictures of a naked babe in "The Rescuers?" Or maybe your eagle eyes can catch a glimpse of Jessica Rabbit's pubic region in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" It's fun for the whole family!


S.E. Shepherd is a writer who recently relocated to Las Vegas. You can learn more about him at


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table. Writers will be rotated, and if you're interested in contributing one, email Will Leitch at