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  INCOMING! OCTOBER 24, 2005.  


Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to bring criminal charges in the C.I.A. leak case today. Possible indictees include chubby political mastermind/Satan's representative on Earth Karl Rove, Vice Presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis "I'm a Grown Man Who Goes by the Nickname 'Scooter'" Libby Jr., and even, although this is unlikely, the Vice President himself. Should this transpire, and what with Condoleeza Rice on a state visit to Canada, George W. Bush will actually be running things. Probably best to stay indoors.





Chicago and Houston play the third game of the World Series today. If history is any indication, Chicago will come into Houston with a two game lead and then will promptly drop the next four, at which point it will be revealed that Konerko, Pierzynski and Podsednik (UNRELATED: Did you ever think you'd see a day where Vizcaino was one of the easiest names on a roster to spell?) took small amounts of cash to throw games; it'll be another forty years before Chicago South gets back to the Series. I kid.

Actually, if you look at the pitching matchups, it's more than likely that Houston will take one if not both of the opening games, in which case Caracas-area poultry better go into hiding.






According to the National Calendar of Idiot Holidays, today is National Mule Day. In celebration, let us quote from Jerry Leath Mills' seminal essay "Equine Gothic: The Dead Mule as Generic Signifier in Southern Literature of the Twentieth Century," the rest of which can be found here. "My survey of around thirty prominent twentieth-century Southern authors has led me to conclude, without fear of refutation, that there is indeed a single, simple, litmus-like test for the quality of Southernness in literature, One easily formulated into a question to be asked of any literary text and whose answer may be taken as definitive, delimiting, and final. The test is: Is there a dead mule in it? As we shall see, the presence of one or more specimens of Equus caballus x asinus (defunctus) constitutes the truly catalytic element, the straw that stirs the strong and heady julep of literary tradition in the American South." Read the whole thing.





True story: Back in 1996, for various reasons mainly having to do with impecuniosity, I was forced to commute into New York City via Hoboken. One unusually raw October morning, stepping off the train, I couldn't help but notice a well-dressed balding man in his forties escorting a four-year-old girl trough the station and to the PATH train. The girl was beaming and full of energy, wearing her finest Laura Ashley dress and holding her daddy's hand as they went to work together. It was a sweet little spectacle, made even sweeter by my return trip from town, wherein I saw the same father-and-daughter team. This time, the chattering girl I had seen that very same morning was fast asleep on her father's shoulder. He stepped gingerly onto his train and carefully laid her across a two-seater and stood up for the duration of his trip, so that she might continue to nap.

And that would have been that, had police not, once week later, discovered an oil drum left on the side of Route 46 in Mount Olive, New Jersey, that contained the body parts of an adult male and a small child. The bodies had been dismembered and doused in lye and hydrochloric acid, so they were fairly decomposed by the time of discovery, making identification almost impossible. Fortunately for the police, a small swatch of a Laura Ashley dress had somehow avoided destruction. As it turned out, I was not the only person in the train station that day to have noticed the father taking his daughter to work; at least seven people who had seen the two came forward and specifically mentioned the little girl's pretty dress.

After a brief investigation it transpired that the father was some sort of crooked C.P.A., who maintained an office in Manhattan but did the majority of his work for the Terzarima crime family of Manalapan, New Jersey. On the evening of their disappearance, he had apparently driven by the home of Al "The Fireman" Lighieri, a low-level boss in the family, to drop off some documents. Unfortunately for the accountant and his daughter, at the very moment he drove up Ligheri was busy torturing a member of the rival Boccacio family with an electric cattle prod and a tire iron. Lighieri, panicked that the accountant might implicate him in this activity were he ever charged for it, made quick work of both the hapless number cruncher and his adorable daughter. Had he chosen a better hiding place for the bodies than a major highway in a populated area of the state, it is likely that they would never have been found.

The arrest and prosecution of Lighieri seemed set to grip the attention of the tri-state area for weeks, with nonstop radio, newspaper and television coverage a near certainty. However, on October 26th in the Bronx, 56,375 people watched the New York Yankees defeat the Atlanta Braves for their first World Series title in seventeen years. In the midst of the celebrations, parades and everything else that occurred surrounding the victory, the case of the accountant and his daughter faded in the public consciousness. Lighieri cut a deal with prosecutors to turn evidence against higher-ups in his family in an unrelated drug case and was put under witness protection and relocated, some say to Arizona, without ever being tried. The little girl was buried alongside her father at Greenwood Cemetery in Boonton, New Jersey. Her widowed mother still appears there every day to place a flower on their grave.

On this day in 1954, actress Marilyn Monroe and Yankees slugger Joe DiMaggio were divorced.






Today Pedro Pasteris, the former Coast Guard Chief of Argentina, is expected to testify in a probe concerning crimes against humanity during that country's period of military rule, when opponents of the regime were routinely kidnapped and "disappeared."

Have a great weekend!



Alex Balk runs the Web site "The Minor Fall, The Major Lift."


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.