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  INCOMING! JANUARY 3, 2005.  


Well, welcome back. We're not entirely excited to have the holidays over either; we just woke up, and wham, it was Tuesday. Jeez.

Anyway, we've got a battle between good and evil on this ever-so-pleasant of days, January 3, a day that, had my life not so graciously turned itself on its ear in a most shocking way, would have been my eight-year wedding anniversary. Whew. That was close. The '90s man; crazy shit went down then.

Anyway, it was 33 years ago today that George Steinbrenner, president and owner of the American Shipbuilding Company, announced that he was buying the New York Yankees. His famous words: ""We're not going to pretend we're something we aren't. I'll stick to building ships." We know how that worked out.

And also today: Mel Gibson -- whose trailer for his new film Apocalypto inexplicably shows his bearded weirdness alongside a bunch of Mayans -- is 50 years old today, which is both younger and older than I thought. I celebrated Hanukah with Mel, and lemme tell ya, the guy can spin a motherfucking dradle. Of course, then he just denies it. Or is that his dad?






Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann -- whom you might recognize as the host of 1990's "To Tell The Truth" and ABC's "Night Of 100 Stars" -- is expected to announce his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania today. He'll be running as a Republican against Democratic incumbent - and hardcore Eagles fan -- Ed Rendell. Swann did sideline reporting from the Chic-fil-A Peach Bowl last week, and now he assumes the mantle of Black Republican. His qualifications so far appear to be that he's the chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, he is popular in Pittsburgh and that he is black. Take that, Kanye West!

It was two years ago today that Britney Spears married childhood friend George Costanza in Las Vegas. Somehow this was not, in fact, her worst marriage of the last two years.

Also tonight, in the Rose Bowl, Southern California and Texas play for the mythical BCS national championship in college football. There is no actual national championship in college football, which makes this game a blatant money grab, which makes it like everything else in college sports. But hey, players who leave college early for the pros are jerks.





The other day, I met up with a couple of friends of mine to watch the Northwestern-UCLA game in the Sun Bowl. (Yeah, my friends and I, we party fucking hard.) We were at a bar on the Upper West Side where Northwestern graduates in New York City congregate - Northwestern graduates do not party; they congregate - and we realized, with considerable sadness, that we were the oldest people in the bar. This was a riff on the old Chris Rock joke about being the oldest guy in the bar, except that we were on the Upper West Side, watching a freaking Northwestern game, which somehow made it 1,000 times more lame.

But still not quite as lame as Marilyn Manson - a.k.a. Brian Warner - must feel today, as he turns 37 years old. Imagine being Marilyn Manson and turning 37. He gets up, he dutifully applies the eyeliner, the heavy white foundation makeup, the delicate dabbing of pig's blood. You go downstairs for breakfast, drinking the milk that's a few days past the expiration date because you're that fucking outrageous. You can't handle it, America? Is this too much for you? Being Marilyn Manson on his 37th birthday is what it's like to look out at the rest of the world … and realizing that you will always be the oldest person in the bar.

George Washington Carver, whose interesting, nuanced life has been boiled down to "invented the peanut," died 73 years ago today. I won't get into Mr. Carver too much here, except to say our "research" for this entry on Wikipedia brought us to the complete list of people who have been honored with their pictures on U.S. Postal stamps. (Carver, obviously, is one of those.) Did you know the following people have been honored with postal stamps?

  • Millard Fillmore
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Jesus (honestly, Jesus stamps? I can't believe these aren't on every piece of junk mail I get)
  • Bat Masterson
  • Matthew Perry (OK, fine, not that one)
  • Emily Post
  • Alcohol Al Smith
  • Nikola Tesla





Anybody else remember Danny Pintauro? He was the cherubic little kid who played spoiled rugrat to Tony Danza's au pair on "Who's The Boss?" I never really liked "Who's The Boss?" very much, which is a strong statement, since Danza's character was a former minor league player for the Cardinals, and he had a move in the right direction with me right there. Anyway, Pintauro turned out to be a notorious gay party boy, a career move that caused all kinds of trouble in the notoriously anti-gay entertainment industry. It forced this talented actor into a stint last year in the "hilarious whodunit, 'Shear Madness' at New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas." Because if you can make it there, well, you know, you make it in suburban Boise. Anyway, he's 30 today.

And to close out this catalog of historic activities and achievements, Nancy Kerrigan was smacked in the knee 12 years ago today by Shane Stant, hired by rival skater Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly. She ended up making it to the Olympics and, for the first time, heterosexual men watched figure skating. Unfortunately, no one else was beaten during the actual routine. We're hoping someone smacks Michelle Kwan this year, though, just because it's entertaining when they fall down while trying a double axle … but just not quite entertaining enough.




Will Leitch is a managing editor of The Black Table and editor of the sports site


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.