Sunday, April 17, 2005

A note to our readers

Consider this the mock issue as in mocking. We'd had a different issue planned including a strong editorial. For various reasons, we altered that at the last minute which meant we all had to start over. (Including Ava and C.I. who had written a review of Fran Drescher's new show Living With Fran.)

We were outraged by many things this week. But somehow outrage didn't seem the way to go this week. So we took a page from C.I. and decided to "mock, mock freely" and "don't knock the mock" (as C.I. once wrote). We think humor is really important to getting through the day and to the sanity of humanity currently.

The media roundtable was one of the many things postponed this issue. Hopefully, we'll get around to doing that next time. (It's not being held, it hasn't been done yet.)

We'd argue the scramble produced some of our best writing.

Let's start with our choice for blog spotlight. We spotlight Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. It's a funny blog, it has a point and we love it. There were a number of entries this week from community members that were worthy of highlighting. Folding Star's been hitting hard on the Senate. Rebecca had an amazing week (even if she did take off Friday to attend a wedding and Saturday to help us). And what can we say about C.I.?

"When Judith goes scoop, nothing goes right." Ava was the only one of us who knew the song, but once she sang it for us (she has a lovely singing voice) we too couldn't stop humming it. We think the Times should make that a slug line for all pieces by Miller: "When Judy goes scoop, nothing goes right." There was the usual Indy Media Review which was informative and gave you a heads up to issues and emerging issues. (Check it out, you'll find a link to a story on a then unnannounced candidate for governor among other things. You'll also learn about about an election discussion that took place in Tennesse and the press didn't tell you about.) And we loved the highlight of Bob Somerby which turned into a highlight on the state of the news print media today. There was amazing stuff all around.

Once Dona and Jess groaned that they were tired early Saturday evening, we decided to make it a mock issue. And that gave us the perfect opportunity to highlight Betty who does outstanding work.

With short notice, C.I. and Ava pulled from the mailbag on their TV reviews going through some of the less threatening e-mails received. Not surprisingly, while the rest of us brainstormed, they went off and wrote that in less than an hour while we were still brainstorming.

We includes Betty and Rebecca who always are so kind to help us out. We thank you for that.
We'd also like to thank Folding Star who read early drafts of the piece by Ava and C.I. as well as the piece on swap meets and legacies.

On one of our breaks in this all nighter, Ty found a story from The Guardian and that ended up being a commentary on Harry Reid with whom we grow ever more disenchanted with (to put it mildly). After many drafts, we were pretty pleased and thought we were through. We had done it as AP reports by Glen Johnson all the way through and made it a factual reporting of Reid's potential continous shifting. But then C.I. wondered if we were going to do this spoof, why not take a moment to use the spoof to also comment on the New York Times? Great idea and we were quickly moving through additional drafts. We think it's a funny piece and a funny piece to us is something that makes you laugh and underscores a point.

In the middle of the drafts on that, Dona wondered if anyone had given thought to the editorial?
Ava and C.I. both said if we're spoofing, we should make a point to spoof the Times' editorial on the case against the protestor. Great idea since the Times could have told people what happened in NYC during the Republican convention but chose not to. And now they'll get a lot of credit for their "half-assed' story which they push as a more or less isolated incident. There's another part of the story (read our editorial) and the Times hasn't seen any of that as "news fit to print" yet.

We usually try to have one additional story each edition but since we were doing humorous writing, we often found our first drafts being straight reporting that we then had to turn into humorous reports with each draft. That took up a great deal of time.

But we hope you'll enjoy what's there.

-- Jim, Jess, Ty, Dona and Ava

A Protest on Video Not In Your Paper (we use parody to explain the Times editorial)

The New York Times recent editorial (Saturday, April 16th) "A Protest on Video" was laughable. If you're not clear why, read our spoof:


The New York police have, on the whole, done a good job dealing with crowds -- and if they haven't we'd never tell you. But that doesn't mean that we'll do our usual kiss ass now that the country knows tapes were doctored by someone in the criminal justice system (we could assign a reporter to attempt to figure out who, but we don't really care). No, now we will speak out and announce our outrage to the world.

What happened was outrageous. We know because the GOP convention took place in NYC and NYC is our home. So we saw all the abuses in real time and the false arrests. We laughed about that in real time. They made for funny anecdotes at a party for John McCain.

So we knew exactly what was going on. And if those arrested had been prosecuted wrongly but without any screw ups, we'd be the last to piss in anyone's Post Toasties. But gosh, golly darn, there's a video out there that was doctored and we'll be darned if we'll be shamed into another editorial apology buried inside the paper just because we keep lying and omitting even after the public has caught on.

Thanks to the videotape, the elaborate testimony against Dennis Kyne shows that police officers don't always get it right. We have a suggestion: learn to lie better!

Having covered for your asses all during the GOP convention we can't help but feel a little betrayed now since you apparently couldn't use a free pass to ride the train all the way to false conviction on trumped up charges!

The Bloomberg adminstration says the police handled the protestors with model restraint; there have been no charges of brutality, no videos of nightstick raised in anger.


The motor cycle cops charging at peaceful protestors hasn't been discussed anywhere but Democracy Now!, right? We can get away with this lie, right? No one's really talking about the asbestos some were exposed to either, right? And the fact that they were, shall we say, 'overbooked' for hours and hours isn't mainstream knowledge, is it?

Okay then. We believe the police did an outstanding job. And we should know, we are housed in NYC. When we see something wrong, we report on it. Is some pushy developer going to spoil your high priced view? Drop us a line, we'll jump their asses from here to Helltown. Too many homeless on the street bringing you down? Drop us a line and we'll suggest Bloomerberg ship them out pronto if he wants to win the coming election.

Because we take brave stands. It wasn't easy for us to make the decision to provide GOP delegates with tickets to Broadway shows. We knew a lot of people would say, "New York Times has sold out her integrity." We've heard that so many times, because we've sold out so many times, that it really doesn't bother us.

And we'd like to thank all the delegates and Karl Rove for the wonderful thank you notes. Wasn't it cute how we killed the 'Bully Boy has a wire in the debate' story? And don't you love it when we pimp out Elisabeth Bumiller as a genuine reporter? We'd do it more often but she's gotten finicky in her old age. "Please don't put me back out on the streets tonight," she'll whine, "I think I have a cold."

So here's the deal police, district attorney's office and any other official sources that we'd smooch all day but I just washed my hair! (Ha ha, I think I'm Bette Davis!) Get your railroading right and we'll just cluck over this one case. We'll act like it was an isolated incident.

No one needs to know otherwise. It's not like we really told what you did at the convention, is it? No! We've never told our readers that peaceful protestors were caught up in nettings and not given any orders to disperse or, that when orders were given, no time was given as you immediately swept in with the netting.

We wouldn't be saying anything now but you've botched this one so badly that everyone had to notice. Look, we live to cover for official sources. We are the establishment and then some!
But you got to work with us on this. How to build a better criminal justice system? Build better liars! Send your guys on over and we'll let Billy Safire coach them on that, he's in semi-retirement, he's got nothing else to do.

(For those interested in real reporting on the GOP convention, we'd suggest you start with
"The New York Times tries to return the scene of their omission last fall (the RNC protests) and they still get it half-assed" which contains links to some of Democracy Now!'s real time reporting as well as perspective on what the Times didn't tell you.)

Harry Reid: Determined to lead us to the promissory note land?

Reading the Associated Press article "Dems. Adjust on Social Security Stance" (by Glen Johnson) from The Guardian, we started thinking how all the important issues should be farmed out to focus groups. (That's sarcasm.) We also wondered how stories would play out in the New York Times. What follows is a spoof. If, when reading it, you think for instance, "They are ragging on Helen Thomas!" We love Helen Thomas. We just couldn't see a Times reporter
having anything nice to say about Thomas. The same thing with Senator Barbara Boxer and
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones as well as the United Nations.

"Dems. Adjust on Environmental Stance/ U.N. Continues to Plot World Destruction"
Judith Miller (New York Times)
May 21, 2005

After a very heated focus group session, annoying Senator Harry Reid announced the Dems would back off from their support for the environment.

"People find the topic so depressing," Reid explained. "Like G.E., we just want to bring good things to life. Hey, if we say we're the party that brings good things to life, is that slogan different enough from G.E.'s that we can use it without being sued? Woah, rhetorical question! Let's put it to a focus group!"

In other news, the United Nations continued their secret plan to destroy the world with a dirty bomb set to go off as soon as they can stop raping third world citizens, destroying water supplies, farming out fat contracts to their friends, and implanting chips in the skulls of all people.

Inside sources in D.C. (Cheney) say that this is an important story and all Americans should focus on it. U.N. bad. U.N. evil. U.N. full of liars. Stinky U.N. makes me sick, sick, sick!

"Dems. Adjust on the Economy."
David E. Sanger (New York Times)
June 11, 2005

After a lively focus group with big lobbyists and Wall Street brokers, Harry Reid announced today that the Democrats would back off from their support for jobs.

"Only the working class needs them," explained Harry Reid wrinkling his nose. "We don't want to be the party of the little people. How many midgets vote anyway?"

"I'm just happy that big money is still interested in talking to us at all," Reid confessed. "Every now and then we'd throw a road block out there for them. Which is why it was so important that we support the Bankruptcy bill, to prove that we were for the big people. Having done that, we feel happy to ship jobs over seas and to turn the working class into indentured servants. Sure some people may whine, but didn't Charles Dickens write a lot of cool novels about a similar period? Write down that we support the arts and we support literature and we support education."

White House lovely Karen Hughes responded, "I am aghast at the Democratic Party's announcement this morning that they support the arts. Deep Throat? And I'm not talking Watergate. Nekkid statues? 'Smack My Bitch Up?' 'Move, Bitch, Get Out The Way?' This 'support' for the arts puts the Democratic Party on the opposite side of the American people."

"Dems Adjust on Support for the Arts."
Glen Johnson (Associated Press)
June 14, 2005

After a recent focus group that Frank Luntz conducted in a Rush Room, Democrats looked at the polling results and Harry Reid rushed out to speak to the press.

"I want to be very clear here, we do not support the arts," Reid explained. "We thought we did but we don't. When people hear 'art' they tend to think of two things, Europe or Hollywood and both are polling very badly. So we do not, take this down, support the arts."

When asked if they still supported literature and education, Reid responded that he'd have to get back to us on the issue of literature but that of course the Democratic Party supported education.

"We always have and we always will."

"Dems Adjust on Literature"
Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times)
June 15, 2005

Following what some are terming a "focus group" and others are calling a very painful blood letting on Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor, stinky Senator Harry Reid warily approached the press this afternoon to announce that the Democrats were strongly against literature.

"Uh, well," Reid began wiping some fop sweat from his brow, "I don't know what to tell you. Somewhere, somebody spread a nasty rumor that we supported literature. It's not true, it never was. Have you read Nabokov? Lolita? That's just smut. What about D.H. Lawrence? Smut, smut, smut, smut."

When asked if the Democratic Party was against reading, Reid appeared to backtrack as the Democrats so often do.

"We are for children's picture books -- especially if they're retelling Bible stories -- and we are for coffee table books. We are also for cook books."

When an aide to Senator Reid reminded him of all the monies the TV dinner industry had contributed, he corrected the last remark. "Cook books are smutty. We are officially against them and, of course, Martha Stewart as well."

Asked of education, Reid stated that as long as he was a functioning adult, the Democratic Party would continue it's "historical" support of education.

(Unfounded) Rumors abound that the suit Harry Reid was wearing was picked out by infamous feminist Naomi Wolf prompting some (in the press corps) to make cheap jokes at his expense.

America's mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush, long term education maven and all round round-the-way-gal, declared Reid's remarks repugnant.

"How dare he leave out Jokes for the John?" admonished the lovely Mrs. Bush. "My family is a typical family, like everyone else's, and we have long enjoyed fart jokes. When Senator Reid refuses to include them but includes coffee table books, it's obvious that this is one more example of a Democrat elitist who's less interested in the people and more interested in being . . . well, I won't say the word but it rhymes with 'bitch.'"

"Dems Adjust Stance on Education"
by Glen Johnson (Associated Press)
June 16, 2005

Emerging from the hearings of his newly formed committee Education Is Bad For Everyone, Senator Harry Reid attempted to escape reporters who ran after him.

Shouting, reporters persisted in following him, "Are the Democrats backing off from their historical support of education?"

"Historical!" Reid snapped turning around to face the throng. "What historical? The Democratic Party has never stood for education. Didn't you get that when we started triangulating in the 90s? What are teachers' unions but unions? And we stand against unions. All unions! Except the sacred union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony."

And what of the fate of America's children, America's future?

"Good Lord!" Reid exclaimed, "Who wants a nation of smarty pants! What good does reading do anyway? Reading leads to cook books and literature and yes, depraved coffee books with photos of felines! Pretty soon you're some depraved maniac wanting to cook your own meals and think for yourself! We've got a man in the White House who's most famous for reading a picture book and it sure hasn't hurt him any. We need to return to the good old fashioned values of illiteracy and ignorance and fart jokes like the great American, former First Lady, Barbara Bush said. In fact, later today, I'll be putting a whoopi cushion in Nancy Pelosi's chair because I'm a good, upstanding, average American. And that's what today's Democratic Party stands for. Today. Right now. At this minute. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for a focus group."

"Dems Adjust Their Stance on Two Party Rule"
by Adam Nagourney & Janet Elder (New York Times)
July 7, 2005

Following the devasting results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll which found that an overwhelming 99% of respondents could not tell the difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, Senator Harry Reid held a press conference in front of the Abe Lincoln monument today.

"If I can nutshell it for you," Reid offered, "it would be this: we're Republicans."

When asked of the need for an opposition party, Reid dismissed concerns.

"Look, we tried being the loyal opposition, believe me, no one was more loyal than we were. We damn near broke the rubber stamp from using it so often. It didn't work. The American people have spoken. Now we could be cry babies or dreamers and dig in for a fight, but what's the point? When Trump says, 'You're fired,' it's end of story, time to go home now."

Longtime D.C. reporter and all around nut case Helen Thomas stood up and hurled an unprintable remark at Senator Reid. Reid shrugged and sighed.

"What Helen doesn't get is that we want to be Republicans. Who wants to resist the easy and profitable thing? I mean maybe Helen likes being banished to the back row, but that's not going to send any of our kids to college our pay off the bank for our second home, is it? It's about being practical and doing what is doable. We're taking the off ramp to Easy Street and we'll all be better for it. The American people have spoken. And via the liberal media. If the liberal media like CBS and the New York Times is against us, what chance do we have? Haven't they always been our friends? And who can intimidate a paper or CBS? No one and we don't have the energy to waste on a battle. The Republicans wouldn't battle the press and neither shall we. So we're going to cruise on over to Easy Street where most of us own second homes, by the way, and we'll accept that the American people have spoken. They have been heard. All 900 of them polled. In a random sample. From people too dumb to check their caller i.d. and avoid the call. So with this large of a sample, it's obvious that America wants one party rule. Real one party rule that's honest about it. Not the kind of one party rule we've given them lately where we pretend we're Democrats, but open and full faith one party rule where we proclaim loudly and proudly that we are with the GOP. It's time to step out of the closet and say, 'I'm here, I'm Republican, I'm out and proud!' In a non-gay way, of course, because we do not support same-sex marriages, civil unions or really even the talk show Ellen."

Actually, Senator Reid was playing fast and loose with the facts, a Democratic trademark long noted in these pages and one some insiders (Nagourney & Elder) hope he will drop now that he's stepped over to the right side of the spectrum. In actuality, 858 Americans were polled randomly, not 900 as the Senator lied.

Responding on the poll results and on Reid's announcement, our personal pin up George W. Bush (put on your boxing gloves, Peggy Noonan, we'll fight you for him) said, "This just proves what I've always said. The American people are a hard working, decent peoples who wake up each morning wanting to see the moon shining up in the pink sky."

Again, Senator Reid lied. The polling sample was 858, not 900.

"Only His Tailor Knows for Sure LOL!"
by Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times)

On the heels of recent revelations that Republican Senator Harry Reid's spine was removed on the evening of March 14, 2001, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and Senator Barbara Boxer, two of the last elected officials who remain in the Democratic Party, called for an investigation.

"I think it's pretty clear what was done and I just want to know if the United States' Congress is going to have the guts to tell the American people," screeched Tubbs-Jones.

Vice President Dick Cheney announced to a crowd of people fashionably attired in white sheets, "I hear tell that Harry Reid loaned his spine out to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. In fact, we almost strong-armed Collie Powell into telling the U.N. that."

Urging the crowd to participate in voluntary bon fires on the homes of other people, our second in commanding commander-in-chief left the stage.

"What we have here is another case of the Democratic Party engaging in hyperbole and lies," explained smart and sexy GOP consultant Mary Matalin. "Obviously Senator Reid's spine was removed. We've all seen the x-rays. All over the TV! But maybe he wanted his spine removed? Maybe he thought it was the hot new look? Maybe he thought it would help him squeeze into those Dockers that had gotten too tight around the waistline? Why does everything have to be some sort of tin foil hat conspiracy plotted by Karl Rove? We have tried to work with the Democratic Party, with both of them, and they are resistant to our plans to end poverty by utilizing the death penalty. They say our plans are inhumane and we say that's pre-9-11 thinking on their part."

Senator Barbara Boxer made wild accusations supported by the public record.

"Karl Rove bragged about this to the press," Senator Boxer alleged waving a column by Robert Novak. "We have that in writing. On January 12, 2001, Bob Novak wrote it in his column 'I Want to Out a CIA Agent and Karl Rove Wants to Remove Harry Reid's Spine.' Karl Rove admits to giving some pills to Harry Reid on the evening of March 13th though he claims they were only Flinstone chewables. Harry's wife said he would never willingly part with his spine. She said he'd often commented that it was his best feature. From the records, we know that Karl Rove, who much of the press seems to forget is not a doctor, was acting as the attending in the operating room on the 14th when Harry Reid's spine was removed. From the X-rays, we know that Harry's spine was removed. From the tape of 2005 White House Press Club Dinner, we have Karl Rove bragging 'I removed Harry Reid's spine in 2001.' And laughing about it! For Mary Matalin or anyone to suggest that this is tin foil hat conspiracy talk begs the suggestion of a gigantic coverup."

For no real reason we can think of, our wonderful and fashionable Secretary of State Condi Rice released a statement responding to Senator Boxer's remarks. Since we live and die by our official sources and how well we're able to pimp for them, we'll reprint the text here in full:

Senator Barabara Boxer once again shows her liberal California roots and how out of touch she is with the American people in her statements just made to New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller minutes ago by questioning the loyalty of our troops. Baghdad Boxer would do well to hang her head in shame for those uncalled for remarks suggesting that our military is disloyal.

Not quite sure what to do since the x-rays are all over the TV news, so I phoned a tailor in France. What follows are a series of bantering remarks we exchanged on various topics such as off the rack fashion, pastries and the weather.

Swap meet in the future speaks of no legacy for some

When C.I. wrote the piece on Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler, it had us wondering exactly what sort of reputations some people are (wrongly) assuming they are leaving behind. Or maybe it was just that we are all tired of hearing Jess sing (in a loud voice) Carole King's "Legacy" (written by Carole King and Rudy Guess).

So picture it, the year's 2047 (and, contrary to popular myths, Social Security is still paying out benefits). It's a hot summer day and we're pulling into a swap meet in it's final hours. As we move among the tables, we realize all the important items are long gone. We're left with the dregs and, being under forty, we have no idea who those forgotten-by-history people were.

Not far from a wall size mural of Noah's Ark (illustrated with the cast of Green Acres in an obvious tribute to TV Land) we note a dusty pile of letters. What are these? The woman behind the table tells us they are the complete correspondence of former Senator Bill Frist after he stepped down from the Senate and began his brief tele-evangilist career as the host of The 700 Billionaires Club.

Dear God,

As yet you've failed to reply to my query regarding the salacious nature of nun's habits. As you know from previous correspondence (still awaiting a response), a woman's wrist can be the downfall of humanity and too often, I have observed a nun's wrist. I will not bore you here with the debasement this has led to for myself. I do think you should address the issue of a nun's wrist being completely invisible to the eye at all times. If we do not put a stop to this now, it is only a matter of time before they will be milling among the public in g-strings and tassels.

As You know, I've taken a special interest in the lives of the others. Therefore, I would also recommend that you remove from the planet (or at least the United States) all those who disagree with me. I would strongly recommend that and I think you will realize that it is for the best.

You may have heard that some people have smeared me as anti-Catholic for my latest work on the clothing of nuns. Nothing could be futher from the truth. I have also recommended that all Baptist women were burkas, that all Methodist women wear heavy Burlington Coat Factory overcoats at all time, and that intelligent women refrain from all public discourse.

As You probably knew all along, my war was not on Catholics, it was on women. And may you continue to bless us with that gift. I don't want to live in a country that refuses to declare open season on all women.

Lastly, if You could please see it to send some money my way, it would be greatly appreciated. As You no doubt know, You are all knowing, my comments on our incumbent President Chelsea Clinton have landed me in a bit of hot water. I did not realize that the Janet Reno paternity line was a joke, I swear. But who knew she was so touchy? Her father never threatened law suits and we had a field day with him!

Your humble servant,
Brother Bill First
P.S. I hate to be a bother and always make this request, but please could You do something about the kitten's cries? I still hear them every night while sleeping.

Very strange and we move on quickly to what's left of from a New Age retailer. You pick up a well worn mass paperback entitled Useful Daily Affirmations by Brit Hume:

On Size
Hey there buddy, you're looking pretty awesome today. Yeah, buddy, perk up. Come on, perk up. Who's more massive than you? Huh? I can't hear you. You are a wide and you are lengthy. Embrace your size. Grow, little buddy, grow. Don't be shy. No one can chuckle now. Grow.

On Urination
Flow, little buddy, flow. Don't by shy. This urinal was the only one available. Everyone knows their is shrinkage due to the many germs abounding in public toilets. Do not pee shy, my little buddy. Flow, flow.

At the next table, a woman tries to interest us in a book by the Bully Boy's daughter. "Jenna?" you ask. "No, the other one." Opening the book, we read this passage at random from What Kitty Kelley Didn't Tell You About My Family:

We all like Mama's new husband and didn't he look nice in those low riding tuxedo pants at the wedding? Jenna kept going "Crack kills, Phelps!" But I think the rest of us are growing quite fond of Michael. Even Jenna found a use for him at the reception when she realized she'd forgotten her purse and used Michael's butt cleavage to hide a tube of lip stick. Besides, Mama deserves a stud after so long with a dud! Cousin Noelle came up with that one! And people thought sobriety would kill her sharp wit!

We all visited Daddy after and dementia has not been kind. He insisted on calling George P. "George Pee Pee." Daddy thought that was funny and maybe it was the first twenty times but George P. looked mad and I hope he was joking when he threatened Daddy with the Texas National Guard. He could do it, George P. could, he's governor of Texas now.

Daddy's fondness for nicknames continues even as senility has set in. He quickly dubbed Jenna "Slut" and she did not take kindly to that though Mama punched him in the shoulder and said, "Hey, you finally got something right!" We laughed and laughed.

Then he told Jenna that when he said she should see his old friends in Houston about some drilling, he meant oil!

Meant oil. Oh, that's a good one. Jenna started crying and rounded up her seven rugrats and said, "Come on kids, lets go find your daddies."

Daddy's nicknamed me "what's her name." I said to him, "Daddy, you named me after your mama." Daddy goes, "My mama?"

Then he grabbed a pillow case and put it on top of his head and started barking, "Don't leave that there! If you weren't going to drink it all, why did you open it! Where's my husband the wimp!"

All of us laughed so hard except Uncle Neilsie who was always fond of Grandma. By the end of the evening, when Michael bent over and Daddy poked his face in Michael's crack and screamed, "Osama, are you in there!" we were all feeling like your typical American family.

Later in the stretch limo, while Uncle Jebbie was ordering an air strike on London and Mama and Michael were dry humping, and George P. climbed up on the sun roof, unzipped and began pissing on the people we passed (George Pee Pee, ha ha, Daddy's so funny), I took a moment to reflect and thought, "This is what Kitty Kelley didn't tell you, that we are truly the typical American family."

Moving on to another table we found a few CDs. That's what people used to listen to recordings on. The man was packing up but he offered to give away one disc for free: a books on disc audio recording by Cokie Roberts of We Are Our Husbands Penises. We listened to the last track:

And just as in late middle age when they become limp and scrawny, so do we. I believe it was Abigal Adams who told her husband, "Don't forget the ladies." Truly, we are our husbands' penises.

Who was Cokie Roberts? We have no idea. We're still trying to figure out who Brother Bill Frist was. We say that aloud and a man waves us over to his table and points to a post-it, preserved via lamination, by "one of the biggest stars of her day, Britney Spears. The post-it was dated July 1, 2008:

Fuck the world, I want to get off!
In 1998, I owned the universe. Today who wants to lick the sweat off my pot belly?
Yesterday, my mama was over and she done drunk up all the Thunderbird.
She started making all my little ones sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and was asking "which one of you's gonna be Granny's next cash cow?"
I got so mad I done burned the Frito pie casserole.
I told her, "Mama, I can still sing."
Mama said, "Child, you could never sing."
I said, "Well Mama, I can still be sexy."
Mama said, "Child, sexy is what you're not sure you can have, not what everone's done had."
Today, I look around the trailer and scream, "Fuck the world, I want to get off!"

We passed on that as well as on an autographed photo of General Judith Miller in full military drag, lovingly autographed, "I was proved fucking right, Get the fuck out of here, Judy."
Finally, we came across a tattered pink "My First Diary" with broken lock and no key. Diary's condition was used. Reading it, we felt so sorry for the pathetic indivdual whose random musings it contained that we offered to pay for it. But the woman behind the table took one look at it, told us it belonged to her crazy uncle who died in a mysterious clusterfuck and to just take it for free. Here's a sample entry by someone known only as Candy Perfume Boy:

Dearest Diary,

Why can't life come with bumper music? Today at work, we were all talking about the hot issue of the day: Is Demi Moore pregnant? Tommy offered that she must be because she wouldn't have so many covers if she wasn't. Suzie Q. reminded us that we shouldn't fall for any rumor that hadn't been confirmed by our bible -- Teen People.

Wanting to keep the conversation going, I tossed out, "Man, I bet Ashton is hung big time! Anybody else fantasize about that?"

Smiling, I looked around and saw that the conversation had stopped. Why can't life come with bumper music? It would surely put an end to awkward pauses.

And why did I use a dopey expression like "big time?" No wondered they all stared at me. I'm such a cheese doodle! I'm such a cheese doodle, I should come in a bag! "With an expiration date!" Suzie Q. would no doubt add.

I feel like such a fake. Like I should just rip off my candy necklace and head on back to the farms where the cows never mocked me. I bet Bessie misses me. Sometimes, on a cold night, I miss Bessie too. Big city living ain't all it's cut out to be. I've even lost my passion for clusterfucks. Although I did agree to try participating in one on top of the Chrysler Buidling tomorrow night. I guess, most of all, I regret the lack of bumper music in daily life.

Bumper music? Candy Perfume Boy wants bumper music? Hit it, Jess:

You better think about your legacy
That you want to leave behind
It's all getting burnt out, used up
Bought and sold to the bottom line
That ain't the way it's gotta be
You can leave a better world than you find
You can look down, turn aside, run away
But you can't get it out of your mind
'cause it's your legacy

Digging into the TV Review e-mail bag

We get lot of e-mails suggesting shows to review and offering opinions. We thought this weekend would be the ideal time to dip into the e-mail bag and share a few of your comments.

The PBS Brit-coms are always a popular topic. Laura wrote, "Fawlty Towers is coming back! Please review it!" William notes Keeping Up Appearances. Charles notes Yes, Minister and urges us to "put down the bon-bons and give it a chance."

Non shrinking violent Paula gets right to the point, "DO YOU HATE PBS! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL IT!" We're reading those as questions, despite the exclamation points.

Wow Paula, you caught us red-handed. That's exactly what we're trying to do. After many meetings with our vigilante cabal (eating bon-bons apparently, see later e-mails) we sat around plotting the best way to kill PBS and the answer was obvious . . . ignore it.

After PBS died, our plan was always to tell the cops, "We didn't cover Brit-coms because they differ depending on what your local PBS station carries." We were pretty sure we could pull that off because they do, in fact, differ. Laura's getting Fawlty Towers this weekend, but others aren't. So we thought we had not only the perfect crime but also the perfect alibi.
Who knew that The Third Estate Sunday Review was followed by our very own Miss Marple?
Paula, you caught us red handed and, after we stop off at the grocers for more bon-bons, we'll have to figure out another plot to kill PBS.

Contrary to opinions expressed in some e-mails, we don't hate everything. We've praised Faith & Hope, Will & Grace and Medium. In an angry e-mail Kitty accuses us of being "snobs. You refuse to cover any show that doesn't meet your eastern elite standards of 'class.'"

Thanks for sharing, Kitty, but we really don't think "eastern elites" sit around discussing What I Like About You. We could be wrong.

Doug of Salt Lake City encourages us "to step beyond your upper class attitudes, lose some of your elitism and review Blue Collar TV which deals with realities that shock your delicate sensibilities."

If by shocking realities you're referring to the fact that in 2005, a show devoid of leading actresses, humor and even what might pass for wit -- well then call us "upper class." (Who knew?) If pandering to stereotypes (including that the working class includes only men and that they're so dumb they only respond to stereotypical "humor") is your idea of a good time, keep watching Blue Collar TV.

Stephanie plays her own version of the Platonic debate, "Matt LeBlanc is not fat and you had no reason to mock his weight! So what if he is heavy, does that make him not funny? When Matt LeBlanc wins an Oscar next year for Joey, I'll watch you eat your words."

Stephanie, LeBlanc being fat doesn't make him funny. Just as LeBlanc's being thin earlier didn't make him funny. While we think LeBlanc stands a good chance of waiting in the unemployment line when next fall's TV schedules are announced, should he win an Oscar for the work he has done on Joey, we will not only eat our words, we'll eat our computer screens. (Note to Stephanie, Oscars go to films, Emmys goes to TV.)

Joey from Phoenix e-mails to advise that, "You don't know the first thing you're talking about!
John Stamos is a nation treasure!" Joey, we're reading your e-mail and thinking perhaps you sent it to the wrong address. We feel you meant to send this to the U.S. Mint. Maybe they'll toss him on a coin. Try the Post Office. Maybe they'll put him on a stamp. But we reviewed a sitcom and didn't see anything worthy of praise. Possibly nation (or national?) treasures aren't cut out for sitcoms?

Lorraine e-mailed to pass on, "For your information, Kelly Ripa's commercials make me smile. I have a really hard life, something you two jokers wouldn't know about as you sit around eating bon-bons, and I really count on those commercials to cheer me up!"

Well Lorraine, keep coming, it works if you work it. Although we're a little frightened by the thought of you rushing to your TV set every time you get a bit of bad news, desperately flipping from channel to channel, screaming, "Where's the Ripa! Where's the Ripa!" On those instances where you're unable to find a commercial featuring Kelly Ripa, might we suggest you look for a Full House repeat? Joey from Phoenix swears Stamos is a "nation treasure."

Jamie of Georgetown tells us that "you're review of Smallville was downright offensive! And where do you get off criticizing Tom Welling or Ashton Kutcher? You're not actors!"

No, Jamie, we aren't. And neither are they.

A very concerned Abe e-mails attempting to do an intervention, "What's your problem with Everybody Loves Raymond? You're always slamming it. Don't you get that EVERYBODY LOVES Everybody Loves Raymond! It really pains me to read your little jabs and quips at that most excellent show's expense. That show has brought a wounded nation together!"

Abe, if "EVERYBODY LOVES" the show, we're not sure why our two voices bother you so.
As for the state of the nation, we're more than happy to join you in blaming it on the show Everybody Loves Raymond. Good point, Abe! As Patricia Heaton's hair color more and more resembles a Tom Ridge color-code alert, we're sure it provides not only easy laughs for many adults but also frightens small children. "Mommy, are we in the red?"

Abe will no doubt be delighted to know that Allyson has sussed us out, "I am on to you and have you two figured all out. You only attack Everybody Loves Raymond and Patricia Heaton because Heaton spoke out for Terry Schiavo!"

Well Allyson, you have figured us all out. Months ago, we consulted our Magic Eight Ball and asked, "In April, will Patricia Heaton take to the chat circuit to speak on the Schiavo issue?" Magic Eight Ball responded, "Most definitely. And her hair will still look like that of a circus clown's." Which is why we've mocked the Heaton from the start. Great catch on that one.

Our question to you, Allyson, do you also use the Magic Eight Ball or did you glean your knowledge from tea leaves? Should we await your e-mail or consult our horiscopes?

A puzzled Ken from Tulsa e-mails offering this, "I keep waiting for a CSI review or a Law & Order review. More and more, I'm beginning to suspect that you think you are too good for those shows." Yes, Ken, we do think that.

Midge e-mails to speak of the healing power of Elimidate, "At the end of the work day, I come home, turn on Malcolm in the Middle, Yes, Dear and assorted other programs. Five hours later, I need some reality and Elimidate provides that. I think you're missing the point."

If you're looking for reality, Midge, we suggest that you stop vegging out in front of the TV for five hours each evening and maybe actually get out in the world. You can find plenty of reality there.

Carter's running an unofficial fan club for Nick Lachey (some sort of save the endangered celebs, we'd guess) and e-mails this neutral, calming statement, "I could scratch your eyes out for what you wrote about him [Lachey]. If you had trouble hearing his soft spoken voice, maybe you both need to stop sending so much money on bon-bons and start using it to buy some batteries for your hearing aids? And that mustache was sexy, don't you get that he's trying to grow up! He is one of the finer things of life!"

Nick Lachey, a few of your favorite things? Of course! That mustache was like "whiskers on kittens." Why we didn't grasp that earlier is beyond us? As for his "trying to grow up," with Lachey closing in on thirty-two we have to wonder why he has to "try" to grow up?

And what is it with our devoted fans and their constant references to bon-bons? Are they trying to sound us out for Christmas gifts? For the record, we prefer M&Ms (plain). If you're planning on spending more, please advise and we'll try to come up with a wish list.

Shelley gets right to the point in her e-mail, as she informs us at the top, "I'm going to get right to the point here, Richard Gere got older, we get it! We get that his pecs sag! We don't need you to point that out!"

As long as we're weighing in on what's not needed, we'd suggest that Gere's participation in shirtless scenes should have stopped about fifteen years ago.

Cheryl, who dubs herself the "eternal teen even as I round forty," proffers via e-mail that "Amanda Bynes is totally happening and the one thing worth watching on TV. I hope you regret comparing her speaking manner to Jack Nicholson and Winona Ryder!"

Actually, we do regret that. On Monday, after we'd both had time to think, we realized that what we should have said was this: "She speaks like the previously unknown love child Winona Ryder and Christian Slater must have had after filming Heathers." Thanks for giving us the opportunity to clear that up, it has been bothering us.

Stella of Rhode Island breaks from the pack to actually praise us for mentioning "Rob Estes who would be my first choice for night on the town that your husband never learns of."

The very wise Juan e-mails that he's "still laughing over the review of The Apprentice."

And the obviously well educated, hugely informed and no doubt dangerously sexy Seth of Brooklyn e-mails to say, "You two crack me up. Keep it up, there's too much shit on TV these days and we need to stop settling for warmed over rip-offs."

We couldn't agree more with you, Seth.

Blog Spotlight: Betty's My Husband Thomas Friedman says "The world is going to hell in an Enstrom's Gift Basket."

Blog Betty, as Rebecca calls community member Betty, is doing some amazing and humorous work over at her site Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. With three entries last week, she deepened the mystery of Bettina and how she ended up with Thomas Friedman. We're waiting for the next installment.

We elected to highlight this entry. The most recent one (Friday) contains a twist we don't want to spoil if you've missed out. And this one's title is so hilarious and so Friedman like.

We asked Betty is she wanted to say anything and she noted that the story will start and stop, like life. "We're moving towards a conclusion of sorts but don't expect it to happen in the next installment. Bettina's blind admiration for Friedman is related to how many 'vitamins' she has taken that day. I'm really having fun writing it and I hope people are having fun reading it. Among the laughs, you may find some other details."

My husband Thomas Friedman says "The world is going to hell in an Enstrom's Gift Basket"

My husband Thomas Friedman says, "The world is going to hell in an Enstrom's gift basket!"

He has been furious all morning and yelling and screaming things like, "The New York Times is the Hillary Duff of the global village attempting to pass itself off as the Meryl Streep!" I have never seen Thomas Friedman so mad.

Not even yesterday morning when I slept right through the alarm and was an hour late waking. I moved quickly to change his adult diaper from last name's game where he played William Safire and I played Peggy Noonan. But it was too late. Thomas Friedman had diaper rash, or adult diaper rash.

Thomas Friedman was so mad. He yelled and yelled no matter how I apologized. I said, "Maybe I did not take enough vitamins yesterday? I will go take some now. I will take the whole bottle." Thomas Friedman grabbed my arm and said, "Don't you Judy Garland out on me! I do not want to waste money on Betty Ford!"

I had no idea what that meant. I believe Judy Garland was the little girl in a movie dreaming about somewhere over a rainbow and that Betty Ford was married to a president. Rainbows and White Houses? Sometimes my husband Thomas Friedman speaks in riddles.

I was tired all day yesterday and kept trying to take my vitamins but Thomas Friedman kept saying I had a holler monkey on my back. That must be some new game he is playing, like Iraqi invasion, because everytime I checked, there was no monkey on my back.

But if I thought the day of adult diaper rash was bad, I had seen nothing. FYI, his heinie, though overly hairy, is fine now.

But Thomas Friedman is not fine now. He is so angry and so upset. Thomas Friedman is even swallowing my vitamins by the handful. I said, "Thomas Friedman, I thought you grew up with plenty of citrus. Why do you need so many vitamins?"

Thomas Friedman glared at me with squinted eyes and barked, "Kiss my ass!"
I dropped to my knees and started kissing, thinking, "Oh, he wants me to play Bill Keller again."

And I was saying, "Thomas Friedman, I am nothing but a glorified copy boy! A proof reader! I am not fit to print your columns! I am not fit to breathe air in a world whose most amazing natural resource is the great Thomas Friedman!"

I thought I was saying the things Thomas Friedman had taught me correctly but he pushed me away and stormed back and forth across the room with his flip flops flipping and flopping and his shorty robe riding up in the back.

He took my bottle of vitamins to his lips and emptied what was left into his mouth then threw it on the floor just like he does his socks, underwear, pants, shirt, tie and Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips. My husband Thomas Friedman can be sloppy but he always reminds me that it is part of his charm, "my quirky, endearing trait, my trademark, like the half-smile on the Mona Lisa or the beauty mark on Cindy Crawford." If you say so, Thomas Friedman.

In the kitchen he was hollering for me to get in there. I found him with a plate of his soda crackers and holding the can of cheese.

"Bettina, watch this," Thomas Friedman said to me as he took the can to a soda cracker and waited. No cheese came out.

He threw the can and it hit me in the forehead.

"You have been eating my snacks! Were it not for me, you would still be slaving away in Trenton and this is the thanks I get? You sneak through my snacks like Judy Miller stealing K-rations from sleeping soldiers!"

Trenton? Is that the name of the village I come from? I was thinking how musical it sounded. Tren-ton. And I was wondering if all my people lived in mud huts like Thomas Friedman has told me? I was trying to picture Dumb Asswipe, the man who must have been chief because Thomas Friedman is always saying, "Who taught you to do it that way? Dumb Asswipe!" or "This meal is not fit to eat! Dumb Asswipe!"

But then soda crackers started flying in my face, pulling me from my reflections.
"No, Thomas Friedman, I did not eat your canned cheese," I insisted. "I know it is delicacy only fit for a great man like Thomas Friedman. I know that you say it is so costly that you can afford but one can a week. I know you work hard and deserve all the finer things in life and that I am grateful to merely sit beside you and reflect in your good taste."

"Stop repeating everything I have taught you!" Thomas Friedman yelled slamming the plate against a counter.

I was grateful I did not have another mess to clean. Nicky had once mocked the great Thomas Friedman for using styrofoam plates, bowls and cups. He had used words like PCBs which assume are some words from his native tongue. Thomas Friedman had snarled, "You are the McToxic here, Kristof!"

I felt so bad for Nicky because John Tierney had been over that night. He calls my husband Thomas Friedman "Big Tom" and Thomas Friedman calls him "Little John." And Little John had laughed and laughed at Nicky and spat out "Recycling is garbage!"

This had caused Thomas Friedman and Little John to start slamming their hands against the table as their laughter increased. Good sport Nicky (Thomas Friedman says Nicky is nothing if not a good sport) joined in the laughter saying that if two out of three believed something he was always happy to make it three out of three. Then he entertained us all with a story of a deadly tribe that was destroying the world, Nicky called them feminists, and all was fine.

My mind raced to that as I thought of how if Thomas Friedman had been using a glass plate, it would have shattered and I would have had to pick up the pieces. And what if a shard had been embedded into our "vintage linoleum?" I shudder at the thought because Thomas Friedman is made of greatness not money, as Thomas Friedman always says.

Thomas Friedman was on the floor pounding his fists against the "vintage linoleum" and sobbing.

He was screaming about this and that and I did not understand it all. Something was causing tremendous damage and wrecking the world, some sort of wind that I am guessing might turn into a hurricane. Thomas Friedman kept talking about this and damning it. "Damn Gale Collins!"

That is how much my husband Thomas Friedman cares for the world. A gale had reduced him to tears. He is such a caring man, I reminded myself as I rubbed the bump on my forehead from where the can of cheese hit.

The gale had blown the entire world into disarray. Thomas Friedman was fearful for everyone because although he is the most important and perfect person in the world, he cares for everyone. He brought up Little John and was saying things like, "Little John is not ready for this! This is the big leagues!" And I am guessing that Nicky was taking one of his brief stands because Thomas Friedman was screaming that Nicky had stabbed him in the back and was not up to Sundays.
"There, there, Thomas Friedman," I said pulling his shorty robe down to cover his ample rear."You always say 'Nicky caves quicker than Carter.' He will come around. He is your friend."

Thomas Friedman howled, 'Kristof is not my friend!"

Somehow this mighty gale was blowing through and tossing everything into chaos. This gale would somehow even effect his book sales. "The whole world is against me! Damn that Gale Collins!" I am guessing that in gales, like in hurricanes, people do not buy many new books.

I know Thomas Friedman was already angry that
an actress had gotten all the attention last week and that his friend Blinky had not booked him on Face the Nation this morning. Is the whole world against Thomas Friedman?"
"Not me," I told him.

"Bettina, my backwater democracy grown ever stagnant," Thomas Friedman said wiping his eyes, "You do not understand! They have pulled me from Sundays! The biggest circulation day! They have moved me to Fridays! The only thing worse would be to be Mo Do being moved to Saturday when no one looks!"

Mo Do? I do not know. But I told him, "Come now, Thomas Friedman, everyone looks at you. You are the great Thomas Friedman. Why just this morning, when you went out into the hall to grab the morning paper in your shorty robe, did not the elderly woman next door shriek and scream? Because you are the great Thomas Friedman. That is why."

But Thomas Friedman did not answer me. He was curled in the fetal position and sucking his thumb. He has been that way for the last three hours and I am really starting to worry.

Thomas Friedman expects me to have the kitchen floor scrubbed each day before dinner and it is already half-past five.

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