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  INCOMING! OCTOBER 18, 2004.  
   
   
 

Monday

Happy Election Day!

No, I don't have the wrong month. Thanks to new provisions in the Florida's voting laws, effective July 1, 2004, voting supervisors must begin taking votes in their main and branch offices 15 days before Election Day. Lest we think that the government of Florida is doing this to confuse its many elderly voters by changing the date, or to try to remove the voting mandate from several thousand people falsely recorded as having committed a felony, the law requires that additional voting sites are geographically central to all of the county's voters rendering equal access to all.

That means if you live in Florida and are so inclined, you can cast your vote for John Kerry,

 
 
 

George Bush, Ralph Nader or any one of the many other candidates as soon as Monday. If you're over 80, Jewish and live in the Fort Lauderdale area, you can even write in Pat Buchanan's name. It's your vote. Do what ever you want with it.

Question: How hard is counting the votes? How do grown human beings fuck up counting? Seriously. I saw a horse at carnival in upstate New York that could add two and two. I understand these elections are close, but we learn how to count in like first grade. Not only that, we have these wonderful machines called calculators, and what they do is take large numbers and add them together, so as to reduce the element of human error. Even a fucking abacus would do the job, and China's had them for nearly 4,000 years.

Make sure you bring photo ID and signature identification with you. No need to screw up your vote all by yourself. They'll figure out a way to do that later.

Speaking of ideas destined to fail spectacularly, if you're in the San Francisco area and believe that your gasoline-powered car and gas-heated house are sending our planet on a collision course with geological disaster, stop by the Hyatt Regency. It's the first day of the Solar Electric Power Association's 2004 Conference. On the agenda for day one is a riveting panel discussion entitled, "Value vs. Cost: Solar Power's Competitive Edge." Don't forget to stick around for the evening activities either. I hear they might get a car all the way up to five miles per hour.

 

 
 

Tuesday

What images do the words "Washington," "colonies" and "swishy, inbred monarch" conjure to you?

If you said George W. Bush, you aren't right, but I like you a whole lot more than I did mere minutes ago.

No, the correct answer is the Revolutionary War. In 1781, things looked bleak for Lord Cornwallis and the British troops. Not only were they suffering from the sting of being called "foppish Mama's boys" and "powdered wig monkeys" by the rebels, they were surrounded by nearly 14,000 American troops. On October 19, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his 7,000 troops to the colonists at Yorktown, Virg., effectively ending the Revolutionary War. Ever the valiant, honorable soldier, Cornwallis feigned illness and did not

 
 
 

attend the surrender ceremony, instead forcing his second-in-command to take his sword to the American commanders.

Also on this day in 1982, famed automaker John DeLorean was arrested for possession with the intent to sell when he was found with enough cocaine to fund a Latin American junta. The authorities claimed that DeLorean's intent was to sell the cocaine to rescue his faltering automobile company. Fashioning the world's thinnest excuse ever, DeLorean argued to the court that he didn't know that it was a drug deal until it was too late and that the government had coerced him into selling cocaine to them. His lawyer argued, "Without the government, there would be no crime here." Miraculously, the jury agreed that the government entrapped him. Despite video quoting DeLorean saying that the cocaine was "better than gold and in the nick of time," he was acquitted of all charges in 1984. Thanks to the Back to the Future trilogy, DeLorean's illustrious history with law enforcement (including charges for racketeering, fraud and tax evasion) is largely whitewashed because, with minor modifications, his cars can save Christopher Lloyd's career.

As for DeLorean's lawyer's complaints, if Lord Cornwallis had never surrendered to the colonists, the American government would never have existed. If the American government had never existed, DeLorean would have never been arrested. The lesson here? Always blame the British for your problems.

 

 
 

Wednesday

If you like ridiculous, unnecessary graphics and shameless self-promotion, tune into FOX tonight. Really, if you like that stuff, you should be tuning into FOX every night. Tonight, they're also going to have a baseball game on. If the Boston Red Sox decide that they want to get their shit together and hit the ball out of the infield before the 7th inning, they'll take on the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. (Or the St. Louis Cardinals will play the Houston Astros in

   
 

Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. There's another series going on, honest.)

You may remember last year's series. After former Red Sox manager Grady Little left Pedro Martinez in Game 7 to face another batter, Martinez surrendered a double to Jorge Posada that allowed the game-tying runs to score in the 8th inning. In the 11th inning, a first-pitch home run by Aaron Boone off of pitcher Tim Wakefield propelled the Yankees into the World Series and sent the Red Sox home to cry in their soup for the 85th consecutive year. If you're keeping score at home, that's a lot of tears and enough soup to keep Campbell's executives driving DeLoreans (see what I did there? I brought it full circle). Being the rational group of folks that Red Sox fans are, effigies of Little burned outside Fenway Park, chants of "chowdahhead" echoed through the streets and the population of the greater Boston area (and presumably some of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine) called for Little's firing, which they got mere days after the series ended.

The most riveting subplot of this entire series is no longer which team will throw the first punch or whether anyone on the Red Sox will decide that it's time to groom themselves properly. No, I think as a nation, we're collectively holding our breath to find out what Scooter will teach us next.

For those of you who haven't watched FOX baseball this season, Scooter is an animated baseball that relays the fundamentals of the game to the viewing audience, such as how to throw a fastball and why Jon Lieber always looks constipated. Personally, I'm hoping that Scooter will teach us how to make a shiv out of one of the legs of my coffee table so I can gouge my eyes out when he comes on the screen. I can't think of a single more annoying addition to a sports telecast than Scooter. My three-year-old cousin turned to me while we were watching the game and said, "Scooter is demeaning us all."

If you aren't watching this game on Wednesday night, then you lost all your points for the earlier George W. Bush answer and I don't want to be your friend anymore.

By the way, it is possible that both the Yankees and the Cardinals will have clinched their league series by Wednesday, meaning there will be no game that night. If that happens, take turns playing brushback with your roommate in the kitchen. Watch the cat. Let your girlfriend play Scooter; girls like Scooter, for some reason.

 

 
 

Thursday

Get out that antibacterial soap and those condoms. It's International Infection Control Week.

According to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control's Web site, President Reagan declared the third week in October "National Infection Control Week" back in 1986. Each year, in order to "keep it real" for the "kids," the APIC selects a theme for the week. This year's theme? "Keep It Clean." Wow. Someone at the marketing department deserves a promotion for that one, am I right? It literally knocked me on my heels. Imagine the possibilities of this galvanizing slogan. Was "Don't Touch Any Bacteria" taken? The Web site also has suggestions for activities to honor the week, such as having a picnic. Nothing stimulates the appetite like a hearty discussion about the HIV pandemic. I know that when I have a big, juicy burger in my hands, I love to discuss the dangers

 

 
 

of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

Speaking of infectious diseases, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are back on TV tonight on the heels of their mystifyingly successful FOX TV program "The Simple Life." Lucky for us all in America, their appearance tonight is on a rebroadcast of Canadian music channel MuchMusic's 2004 Teen Choice Awards. The girls will be presenting awards to the hottest teen icons in music, movies, television and sports. I'm told the highlight of the broadcast is when Paris and Nicole double-team a shocked and engorged Prime Minister Paul Martin. Won't he have egg on his face when he finds out that Ashton Kutcher is on hand and it's just one big Punk'd episode?

If you live in Toronto and have a gun handy to shoot out your television screen if necessary, why don't you give the girls a chance? It's not like there's hockey on or anything. Come on! It'll be fun. I'll bring the Molson.

 

 

Friday

If you're like me and spend Friday nights at home watching televised debate, make sure you heat up a can of Dinty Moore because tonight we have a humdinger. Former Vice President Al Gore and Former Senator Bob Dole will square off at Virginia's Regent University in a debate being dubbed as "Clash of the Titans." If that's the case, all I can say is "Get out the Cracken!" That's right. The losers of the nation's last two Presidential elections will go toe-to-toe to answer the overriding question of "What's At Stake For America?" To give it that added air of respectability, Court TV's Catherine Crier will moderate the debate.

These rules of this debate were as hotly contested as those of the Presidential debates (you know, the other debates). Al Gore insisted that the podiums be at least waist high so that Bob Dole cannot exploit the Viagra advantage in his pants. On the other hand, Bob Dole insisted that Al Gore be at least 50 feet away from Tipper at all times because when those two get together, it's tonsil tennis galore. Gore asked that Dole not call him, "the robot dude to my right." Dole asked that Gore not refer to him as "a crotchety old man with a broken penis." A last minute bullet was dodged when it was agreed that 1,000 red Skittles in a large martini glass would be delivered to Dole's dressing room on the night of the debate. Gore will be shirtless, but must wear a tie.

Speaking of events that won't draw much of an audience, the new Ben Affleck blockbuster

 

 

Surviving Christmas opens this weekend, kicking off the post-J.Lo era for Affleck and officially extending the start of the Christmas season to well before I'm comfortable with it being Christmas season. The plot of this mega-hit is that a man, played ably by James Gandolfini, rents his family to a lonely man for Christmas. Wacky, episodic misadventures ensue before we all ultimately bask in the true meaning of Christmas, which of course is that it's never the wrong time to market crap to the American consumer and that Ben Affleck is never worth the 10+ dollars it costs to see him on the screen.

Happy Election Day, everyone. And Merry Christmas!

 

Geoff Wolinetz is an editor at Yankee Pot Roast.

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INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.