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Did you watch Knight Rider as a child? Of course you did. It premiered on this day in 1982. Michael Knight, played admirably by David Hasselhoff, was some sort of privately contracted narcotics agent or something stupid like that. I don't know. All I know is that he drove that bitchin' car, KITT. KITT, of course, was a Pontiac Firebird, modified with intelligence and a snooty-sounding guy under the hood.

Catch Martin Scorsese's take on Bob Dylan tonight when Part I of No Direction Home: Bob Dylan airs on PBS. Can Scorsese make sense of Dylan's mumblings? Will Scorsese reenact that night when Dylan beat a guy bloody with a phone? And we can't wait for that great tracking shot through the Hollywood Bowl.

The Irish Republican Army will confirm today it has completed its weapons decommissioning, according to a report to be released to the British and Irish governments. The IRA said in July it would end its armed campaign to gain independence for Northern Ireland, now under British control, and continue with a political strategy. The IRA isn't known as the most trustworthy organization, so independent confirmation of the decommissioning could encourage peace in the region.






The Consumer Confidence Index for September will be released today by the Conference Board, an innocuous sounding organization that makes the stock market freak out. The board polls 5,000 Americans to get their feelings on how they feel the economy is doing and if they plan to make purchases in the upcoming month. Expect people to be concerned about Rita/Katrina-esque energy prices and likely to spend money on gas over stuff. The consumer has kept the economy treading water since September 11, so don't piss off the consumer. Instead, go buy stuff!

This is Day Two of U.S.-Chinese talks on the textile trade. While these talks can't possibly be as interesting as watching Zoolander, good moves by U.S. negotiator David Spooner will keep us all in cheap, sweatshop-made T-shirts for another few years. But there could still be hope for American Apparel; previous talks ended on September 1 with no deal.






Five years ago, the Al-Aqsa Intifada began after Ariel Sharon ignored the advice of PR people everywhere and visited the Al-Aqsa mosque. This wave of violence is also known as the Second Intifada, for those who prefer to keep track of such things with ordinal numbers. More than 5,000 people on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides died during the period, which only ended last February. It may have gone on longer, had not Yasser Arafat died and been replaced by the more moderate Mahmoud Abbas. Things still aren't rosy in the region, but progress towards peace seems at least possible.

The month's Esquire told us about a great new Web site, When scary documentaries on DiscoveryHealth aren't enough for you surgery junkies out there, or-live gives you a live stream of an actual operation. At 4 p.m. today, surf on over for a live carotid stent procedure. Curious about what it looks like when doctors slice up your neck to open blood vessels blocked by nasty fatty plaques and blood clots? Consider yourself sated. But you'll never go to a doctor again.





It's the last day of the 18th World Petroleum Congress, so hop a flight to Johannesburg and catch all the oily action. A presentation this morning on "Oil and Gas - Sustainability of Supply" promises to be depressing, so it's best they saved it for the last day. The roundtable discussions sound more promising: "Flaring," "West Africa Deep Water - The Journey So Far," and "Reserves and Resources." Keep in mind that they give these things interesting names in hopes someone will actually show. Find the action at the bar, where oil execs will sound like the Count from Sesame Street as they chant rising oil prices and clink glasses. Off the record, we heard about a hot KY-Jelly wrestling competition around 11.

Happy 48th birthday to shitty comedian Andrew Dice Clay, who got way more mileage out of dirty nursery rhymes than should be allowed by law. Who can forget the hours of laughs inspired by the Dice Man's rapier-like wit? "There was an old lady who lived in a shoe. She had so many kids her uterus fell out!" My goodness. Our knee burns from excessive slapping.






Get out those noisemakers and chill the champagne, because today is the last day of Fiscal Year 2005! The federal government will begin partying like it's 2006 on Saturday, in order to wastefully spend today the money you made yesterday for things that won't benefit you tomorrow. Just remember, Fiscal New Year's Eve is never as good as you expect it to be. But we'll all hold out hope that the Office of Management and Budget gets laid this year.

The Johan Gutenberg Bible was printed today for the first time in 1452. Though wooden block printing existed in Gutenberg's day, it was his popularization of moveable type that allowed for the mass production of printed material and, ultimately, computer software that lets any old asshole put their insignificant thoughts online. Ahem. Today, a Gutenberg Bible is available for all to see, care of the University of Texas. The school spent a week in 2002 using an overhead scanner to produce 1,300 digital images for all of us to look out and go, "Neat!" before clicking back to online heart surgery.




Aileen Gallagher is a managing editor of The Black Table. Geoff Wolinetz contributed the funny part about Knight Rider to this story.


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