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  INCOMING! NOVEMBER 28, 2005.  
   
   
 

Monday

Take a deep breath. Clear-aired Canada will begin hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal today, in conjunction with the first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. As of September, 156 countries worldwide have ratified the agreement, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming. However, Canada's dirty-lunged, big-brother bully to the south has not, despite the fact that the U.S. is the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world. The Bush administration fears the protocol would retard our precious economic growth. The better option, of course, is to let the ice caps melt, flooding all of California and New York. Who gives a hang? They're blue states.

Ten years ago today, President Clinton signed a highway bill putting a kibosh on the federal 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, handing the right to set those limits over to the states. Montana went with no limit at all, and Kansas, Nevada and Wyoming cranked it up to 75. Predictably, highway fatalities have risen since then, but frankly, I'd rather be dead than stick to a 55-mph speed limit whilst poking along through some endless square state. I once spent 16 hours or so driving across Wyoming. I had no company other than the tumblin' tumbleweeds for literally hours on end. I actually read a book -- WHILE DRIVING -- to keep from falling asleep. I think Monica was just trying to say "thank you," from all of us who've ever driven cross country.

Finally, say happy 43rd birthday to Jon Stewart. No amount of Dairy Queen ice-cream cake could ever express the level of gratitude we feel for his show, which reminds us each night that we are not the only sane ones in a world gone mad. Born Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz in New York City, Stewart has manned the helm of the Daily Show since 1999, and never fails to delight in calling Democrats and Republicans alike on their circus-like tendencies. Your peanut gallery heartily approves. Please, never leave us.

 




 
 

 

 
 

Tuesday

On this day in 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine between Arabs and Jews, and thus began a magnificent shitstorm which, more than 50 years later, has yet to calm. The land flowing with milk and honey became a decidedly less-nice place to live in the years that followed -- that is, unless you enjoy bus bombs and snipers. Given that the extent of my frame of reference here is nine credits in Jewish history from the University of Nebraska, I feel as though I should back away from this one slowly, slowly. I could spend three years on Wikipedia and never understand it all.

On a lighter note, but one regarding world domination nonetheless, the word "Microsoft" was born on this day in 1975. I, and many of my friends, were also born in 1975. But we are not yet quite as popular as Microsoft, despite the fact that spending time with us does not result in something called the "blue screen of death." Bill Gates was 20 when he first used the words "micro-soft," for "microcomputer software" in an email to Paul Allen. You know, I was reading up on Bill Gates. He was born with a million-dollar trust fund, dropped out of Harvard and was featured on the cover of Time before he was 30. I really should stop writing this Incoming and go learn how to do something productive.

 


 
 

 

 
 

Wednesday

Today is the official end of hurricane season. Plywood and bottled-water sales are expected to drop 87 percent in Florida and Texas; everyone can now get in their cars and go back to Galveston. Go on, go on, it's safe now! I suppose the only people disappointed by this development are East Coast surfers, who now have to wait another year until lugging a surfboard and a full-body wetsuit onto a subway becomes worthwhile.

And we have another birthday. Who? Your favorite redhead! And no, it's not me. Jeez. It's Clay Aiken. Holy crap, you know what? He's almost THIRTY. I haven't heard much from him since he was a dick to that group of schoolkids in New Jersey. Go figure.

   
 

 

 
 

Thursday

We here at The Black Table do a lot for you. We sit in front of our keyboards, taxing our brains to [try to] bring the funny just so you have something to click on when all those Excel files threaten to leave your eyes permanently crossed. We give and give and give, and what do we get in return, except you crashing our parties, drinking our booze, begging for drugs and throwing up on our shoes? You can't even be bothered to rattle off a flimsy Black List these days. SHEESH. Feel guilty yet? Good. Make up for your blatant neglect by going to Amazon.com and buying a copy of Will Leitch's book Catch, which is released today. One can never get enough Mattoon, and Will is here to make sure that doesn't happen. Suddenly, I have a hankering for a Lender's Bagel. Buy the book to find out what I mean.

Today is also World AIDS Day, so toss your antiretrovirals in a little paper cup and make a toast! You know people, given that 92 percent* of Africa's population is now made up of AIDS orphans, I just don't have the heart to make a joke about it. Please, just wrap it already and go get the stupid test.

 


 
 

 

 
 

Friday

In 1915, Albert Einstein published his theory of relativity. According to the Interweb, the central idea of the theory is that "two observers who move relative to each other will measure different time and space intervals for the same events, but the content of physical law will be observed the same by both." I watched a special on it on PBS one time; I seem to remember that there was a chap in a bowler hat riding a bike and something about time travel.

In 1939, LaGuardia Airport opened in New York, helping kick off an era of $30-dollar cab rides and bone-jarring fright-fests on the BQE.

Britney Spears was unleashed upon this earth 24 years ago today, and I can think of a couple of birthday presents I'd like to give her, including, say, a bag to wear over her bloated, pimply head and an overdose of sleeping pills to put in her milkshake.

Finally, in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed, and gosh if they haven't done a bang-up job, what with the melting ice caps and all.

 

 
 

 

Erin Schulte recieved a massive, multi-million dollar payment to help plug Will Leitch's upcoming book. That check is still in the mail.

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INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.