back to the Black Table
  INCOMING! OCTOBER 31, 2005.  


It's Halloween! The day when straight men around the nation stuff balloons under their shirts and experiment freely with make-up. I'm not Gay … it's Halloween! The day when office girls don midriff baring "school girl" outfits and leather body suits. I'm not a slut … it's Halloween! See, I'm wearing a headband with ears!

A day when kids knock on your door and demand candy, when teenagers hurl flaming dog shit on calculus teachers' doorsteps, when toilet paper rains on trees, when we chubble down handfuls of mini chocolate bars that sit in the plastic Jack-O-Lanterns on co-workers desks. A day when we convince ourselves that candy corn tastes good.

So grab your best ghoul and find a party where the punch is green and smoking and the deviled eggs look like eyeballs. Alternatively, you can sit at home watching scary movies on network television with added commercials and the really violent parts edited out. As long as you consume enough candy to convulse in sugar shock, the Halloween gods will be appeased.






Would you believe it's back-to-back holidays? Today is National Author's Day. You know the absolute best way to celebrate? Buy my book! No, the celebration of the literary is not something I made up; it was made up by some other writer back in 1928. Frankly, I fully intend to celebrate. It's about freaking time, after all those flowers sent to Mom on Mothers Day, grilling tools to Dad for Fathers Day, coffee mugs for Boss's Day and all those short people tripped over at Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. It's about freaking time authors got their day, and the best way to celebrate? Pre-ordering on Amazon.

The goofy billionaire geeks at Google have a slightly different way to celebrate in mind. Today they begin digitizing the library collections of several major universities as well as the New York City public library. All those dinosaurs in publishing have put up massive protests, crying violation of copyrights and so on. I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not sure entirely what this means for me, but I think that pre-ordering my book is still your best bet.

Also today, the Federal Reserve Board gathers for its monetary policy meeting, where virtually everyone on Wall Street from the stockbrokers to the guy selling street meat from a cart expects the Feds to raise rates for the 12th straight time to combat inflation. I really have NO IDEA what this means. But I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you stay the course and head to Amazon.






President Bush's last week didn't go so well. The number of dead soldiers in Iraq hit 2K, Scooter Libby was indicted and Harriet Miers withdrew her Supreme Court bid rather than take another stab on that tricky questionnaire (on the plus side, how many straight men got to dress up in wigs and fake boobs to be Valerie Plame or Miers for Halloween?). Lucky for W, today he and the lovely Laura are hosting a dinner for Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles -- everyone's favorite national jokes from across the pond!

Now that we're on the subject of leaders of questionable ascendance, on this day in 1948, President Harry Truman squeaked past his Republican challenger, Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York, to win a second shot at the big old house at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue those tourists are always gawking at. Those lazy journos at the Chicago Tribune, however, decided that Dewey was a shoo-in and went to bed before the numbers were in, allowing for the great photo op of Truman holding up a paper proclaiming Dewey Defeats Truman.





Hey boys and girls, on this day way back in 1928 Mickey Mouse made his screen debut in the animated Steamboat Willie (though there's some debate that this happened next week). The annoying seven-minute short featured a black-and white Mickey singing on a steamboat and trying to woo a hot piece of tail named Minnie. Some scenes of what might classify as animal violence have since been cut out, including a scene of Mickey pulling a cat's tail and swinging it around by its head, another of Mickey using a goose as a bagpipe and one of him playing a nursing sow's teats in the manner of an accordion keyboard. Gotta love that Crazy mustached Walt!

Speaking of animal cruelty, 29 years later, on the very same day in 1957, the Soviet Union blasted a Siberian husky named Laika into space aboard Sputnik 2, giving the U.S. a huge case of Space-dog envy. Laika had been a stray on the streets of Moscow, so enlisting with the space program hadn't seemed like a terrible job at the time -- plus he was kind of in sugar shock from all that freeze-dried astronaut ice cream. While in space, Laika was kept alive by for several days with a sophisticated life-support system. Unfortunately someone forgot to charge the batteries, and the lovable pooch died while in orbit. If only those Commie Bastards could have sent Mickey Mouse into orbit instead. Just think of all the child abuse that could have been avoided when parents become violent from the heat line, and $5 mouse head ice cream treats at the magic Kingdom.






Friday is Eid Al-Fitar, the celebration that comes at the end of Ramadan, a Muslim month of fasting every day from Dawn until sunset (which comes at about three in the afternoon since freaking daylight savings time kicked in last Sunday). There's a great way to celebrate, it involves pre-ordering my book.

And if you happen to find yourself in Central Park this weekend, and you see a bunch of six-feet baked potatoes wondering around in worn sneakers, don't panic, this isn't an alien spud invasion. It's the runners of the ING New York City Marathon in the foil blankets they're given to prevent rapid heat loss at the end of the race. I personally only run when I'm being chased (which doesn't happen as often as you might think). But before you call me lazy, let's revisit the legend of Marathon. The race takes its name from the Battle of Marathon, when the ancient Greeks defeated the much larger Persian army in the Fifth Century B.C. That's back before Sprint and Nextel merged, so in order to tell his fellow Greeks to break out the bubbly, a messenger named Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to share the joyous news. But when he got there, he promptly DROPPED DEAD. And because we seldom learn from history, willowy runners everywhere thought it would be a great idea to replicate this feat on an annual basis in every major city in the world. The International Olympic Committee estimates the distance Pheidippides ran (though there's no historical evidence supporting the story) to be 21 miles and change, so they added an extra four miles for good measure, making the race 26 miles and 385 yards -- a staggering distance that makes my taxi's meter tired just thinking about it.

But if you want to get in on the fun without the run, why not recycle the sports bra and hot pants from your sexy Halloween costume, break out a roll of aluminum foil, clutch a bottle of Gatorade and head uptown. Your odds of scoring are pretty good, inhibitions are way lowered by dehydration and exhaustion.




Shari Goldhagen is the author of Family And Other Accidents. For Halloween, she's either going to be a slutty cowgirl, a slutty witch or Harriet Miers.


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.