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  INCOMING! NOVEMBER 15, 2004.  
   
   
 

Monday

"At a point in every person's life, one has to look deeply into the mirror of one's soul and decide one's unique truth in the world, not as we may want to see it or hope to see it, but as it is."

Pop quiz: Who was it that made this impassioned plea for self-awareness? A civil rights leader in the mold of Martin Luther King, Jr., entreating his flock to stand up for their place in the world? An Arthur Miller character, soul torn asunder in the throes of epiphany? A big, gay politician? If you guessed former governor of New Jersey and noted Gay American James McGreevey, consider yourself fabulous. McGreevey officially resigns his office today in the wake of his shocking confession of homosexuality three months ago. McGreevey's emotional outing was the final straw in an administration plagued by an extramarital affair and a series of fund-raising scandals, but it definitely made the best headlines.

Republican critics charge that McGreevey should

 
 
 

have stepped aside immediately after his revelation, but the governor decided instead to take some time, not just to "see things as they are," but also to make a few changes on his way out. In his final weeks in office, McGreevey delayed a controversial law that would trigger rampant development, started a needle exchange program in an attempt to slow the spread of AIDS and imposed tough limits on awarding contracts to political contributors. Funny to see the kind of government efficiency that comes with a clear conscience and no worries about reelection.

As of one minute past midnight tonight, New Jersey Senate President Richard Codey becomes acting governor. And as for McGreevey, well, in his own words" "Now I begin my own journey as an American who happens to be gay and proud." And out of a job. Are gay people still allowed to register with Monster.com?

 

 
 

Tuesday

If you love your "stories" but hate to read, then you probably already know what today is.

On this day in 1981, television supercouple Luke and Laura tied the knot on ABC's "General Hospital." The episode was the highest-rated hour in soap opera history and gave hope to millions of women around the world that they, too, could one day have a deep, loving relationship with a man

   
 

who had once sexually assaulted them.

See, apparently what happened was that Laura was married to Scott when she got a job working for Luke at a club, and one night, Luke, distraught over complications with his boss Frank's Mafia affiliation, raped Laura on the dance floor. Laura, rather than name Luke as her rapist, instead wrote him a love letter that Scott found on the day Luke was supposed to marry Frank's daughter, Jennifer. At the ceremony, Scott beat the crap out of Luke, then later divorced Laura, who herself would go on to cement her relationship with Luke by helping him thwart an evil mastermind who planned to deep-freeze their entire town of Port Charles by using a massive weather-controlling device.

The Black Table has it on good authority that there are people out there to whom the preceding actually makes sense.

Today is also the United Nations International Day of Tolerance, but I just can't really deal with that shit right now.

 

 
 

Wednesday

Another big day for ex-governors. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean turns 56. You can bet he's going to celebrate. And there's gonna be cake! And candy! And ice cream! And presents! And disco dancing! And party games! Yee-haw!

Despite his well-known penchant for exuberance, the former presidential hopeful is keeping quiet about whether or not he'll become a candidate for

   
 

chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Some dispirited Democrats feel the party requires a more moderate shift, and say Dean is the wrong choice to represent "mainstream American values." Though to be fair, conservatives were into legal assault weapons and denying gays civil rights long before those things became "mainstream." I mean, they knew ignoring sound medical and evolutionary science was going to be big before anyone even knew what that was!

Then again, questions have arisen as to how much of a political future Dean has at all. The popular Democrat has taken on a new role as a spokeman for the Yahoo! Local search engine, lending his voice to a new radio spot that has aired in 10 cities since mid-October. Supporters have cheered the ad, while critics say it's embarrassing and inappropriate. Like it or not, though, you have to admit the guy's got a sense of humor, one that's sure to keep you smiling when 18,000th person forwards the audio clip to your e-mail.

 

 
 

Thursday

Do you know somebody who smokes? Today, why not badger them relentlessly about their bad habit, which they already surely know is significantly detrimental to their health, but which, because of your constant nagging, they'll begrudgingly sacrifice for one day if only to get your pestering cakehole to close for just five minutes -- God, please, just shut up for five minutes -- and then return to with renewed enthusiasm first thing tomorrow morning? Yep, today is the Great American Smokeout!

We all know smoking is bad for your health. If you do it, you probably shouldn't. But if you're a non-smoker encouraging your chimney friend to quit, just be careful that his kicking the habit isn't bad for <EM>your</EM> health; like for instance, when he finally snaps and punches you in the face in the midst of a raging nic fit.

Of course, you could always do something productive with those unused smokes. Need a suggestion? Then go visit the Clinton Presidential Center, which officially opens today in Little Rock, Ark. A 20,000 square foot complex on the bank of the Arkansas River, the Center encompasses a museum, the archival collection, educational and research facilities and of course, the William Jefferson Clinton Commemorative Humidor. ZING!

Highlights of the complex include walking and cycling trails, a presidential limousine exhibit and

 

 
 

an exact replica of the Oval Office, where eagle-eyed visitors may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Hillary playing make-believe. The Center's planners also proudly boast that the library will contain the largest collection of presidential papers and artifacts in U.S. history, which conceivably could mean a single copy of the Starr report. ZINGO!

Folks, the guy was horny.

After its grand opening today, the museum will be open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, $3 for children 6-17 and free admission plus two-fer drinks for the ladies aged 18-29. BA-ZINGITY-DOO!

 

 

Friday

Are you sitting down? You should be, because today is World Toilet Day, the triumphant culmination of the World Toilet Summit, held this week in Beijing. The summit, sponsored by the World Toilet Organization (natch), brings together upwards of 150 academics, sanitation experts, government officials and environmentalists to enjoy three days of speeches and presentations on the grammatically nonparallel theme of "Human,

 
 

Environment and Living." Some seminar highlights:

  • Improved Quality of Human Life Thru the Observation of Toilet Users' Culture
  • DRY TOILET: The Only Viable Option of Sanitation in the Next Generation
  • Toilets as Tourism Attraction
  • Case study of Toilet Borne Disease

The Black Table also notes that Thursday from 1:30 to 5:30, guests will "visit toilets and related facilities in Beijing," followed immediately by "dinner on your own." Erm, no thanks. Not really hungry anymore.

This is the fourth annual World Toilet Summit, and Beijing city officials are taking advantage of the occasion to showcase efforts to clean up the Chinese capital in advance of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. According to Yu Debin, deputy director of Beijing's Tourism Bureau, "Toilets represent the level of development of a country. They also represent a region's spiritual and material civilization." If that's true, the city is still a few metaphysical two-ply sheets short of a roll. Nearly two-thirds of Beijing's notoriously unsanitary public facilities are rated two stars or lower out of four on the city's ranking system. Still, if Greece could get their act together in time for the Games, there's hope that China can, too. With any luck, by the time 2008 rolls around, not only will Beijing have new stadiums, new parks and new public transportation, but also a few brand-new places to get away for a few minutes and contemplate it all.

 

Jason Reich is an Emmy-winning writer for "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."

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INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.