watchdog daily and behind the scenes on it

sherry e-mails asking me why i haven't made a comment on 'our latter day, online dylan.' sherry, what makes you think i haven't?

elaine has made a public comment as has wally and wally and mike were very public in their interview. however, if you think this is just about what went up at that site, you're mistaken. c.i. is biting the tongue on this as am i, for now. if you're in the dark, look to elaine. she knows from conversations with c.i. and i. that's not to put down mike or wally and they raise valid issues about the content dylan posts; however, there's a backstory. it goes back a bit. and that's all i'll say for now because we really did think that, as c.i. has put up at the common ills, dylan would get honest. that hasn't happened.

so what i'll do instead is repost the watchdog and talk to you about that. this is from the third estate sunday review. in the note to the readers, jim noted this:

A piece we did get up that we worked many hours on (seriously, we debated and argued over each and every word, pretty much) is another humorous look at the watchdog you all know. We think Watchdog Daily stands with our earlier parody and that you'll laugh when you read it.

i say jim because although they all toss out things, and usually ava and c.i. are the parentheticals, jim's chiefly responsible for the note. he decides what goes in and what doesn't.

and we did fight over every word. which chiefly means running to ava and c.i. and betty to ask, 'is this funny?' they can write funny. i make no claim to be able to. sometimes i'll have something funny up here but that's the exception and not the rule.

so say, this didn't happen, ty says 'make suzy q. choke on a vegetable!' then everyone's tossing around ideas and if we get a funny 1 on our own, we then shoot it over to the laugh trio and they'll work it.

c.i. can punch up lines and make them hysterical and has had that gift forever and a day. so, and this is a real example, jim came up with a line about little debbie snack cakes but the snack cakes were at the front of the line. and they were funnier at the end of the line. jim wasn't convinced and read both versions aloud before he agreed with the little debbie snack cakes coming at the end.

i remember a stand up comic, this is many years back, trying to work in a joke about ireland and c.i. kept telling him that 'dublin' was a laugh getter but 'belfast' wasn't due to the way 'dublin' sounds. the advice was asked for but not used in the first performance and the line fell flat. he was up there grinning at the audience that was just sitting there in silence. they had been laughing along until that line. for the 2nd performance, he took c.i.'s advice and changed it to dublin and this time the laughs didn't stop.

i don't pretend to understand why some words are funny and why they aren't.

when we were working on it ava and c.i. both said '4 items.' there was a desire to do many items and at an earlier time, that was done. but they felt we should commit to 4 items and work on them. we did. we worked on that longer than we've ever worked on anything before. wally and mike had the idea to do a blog report on cat blogs (read their interview and you'll understand why) because they thought that was indicative how useless the blog report by the watchdog often is.

so that required a bit of research and it was ava or c.i. who came up with wheaton. i think c.i. came up with the 'aren't we all, will, aren't we all?' line.

but you would not believe how much time went into that. of the things we've worked on lately, that's probably the best. s.l. gets an exemption because c.i. knows s.l. and wanted that in there or no participating.

so that's part of the back story. here's another part, the thing that will explain why we decided on the parody in the first place:

"Other Items"
Eli suggests that Eddie check out Stephen Labaton's "
A Bill Advancing Digital TV Is Approved by Senate Panel." Here's the most important sentence in the article:

More than half of homes now have no digital signal and no intention to get one, according to Stewart Wolpin, an analyst at Points North Group, a research and consulting firm.

Why do I say it's the most important? Because no one wants to comment on it, let alone mention it. That includes a "brave" watchdog that's pissed Eddie off -- we don't link to it -- because they did a rah-rah, "New World Coming" report that forgot to mention that for a significant portion of Americans, the new world isn't coming.
The article is a typical Times' article meaning it sucks up to big business (and doesn't discuss the Times' own interest in the legislation -- maybe Labaton is unaware of the Times' TV division?). But buried deep in the article is a fact that "brave" watchdog took a pass on.
This is going to be a big issue to people in some areas, to the poor and the working poor in all areas. Right now you want to watch Desperate Housewives (I wouldn't recommend it, but to each their own), you turn on the TV. You don't need cable, you don't need satellite. You turn on the TV and watch for free.
As the industry abandons analog and moves to digital, it will be a huge issue for a significant portion of Americans. But no one wants to talk about that. No one wants to acknowledge that even if we had a good economy (we don't, we have a Bully Boy economy) a lot of people would be left out of "the revolution."
(Again, we do not link to them. Members know whom I'm referring to. It's been addressed in the round-robin and in an editorial two or three Sundays ago at
The Third Estate Sunday Review. But for any visitor that gets easily lost, on our permalinks, you'll find the watchdog groups FAIR -- including the radio program CounterSpin -- and Media Matters. I'm not referring to either.)

hopefully that brings everyone up to speed. now here's the piece:

Watchdog Daily"

We felt it was time for another parody of the watchdog.

Stroking ourselves, so you don't have to

Joys of the Digital Age!
by Village Idiot

Well there's a revolution 'a coming people!!! Coming for to carry you home (got to pick up those 'vangical voters!!!!), coming for to carry you home!

As digital replaces analog, the most important question of the day is: How big a flat screen TV should I buy?

I was at the JVC trade show (cool people, they set you up "pretty") this weekend and the guy with the clip-on tie, Roy, who steered me to a flat screen he sold me at 40% off told me that the digital revolution will be "totally cool." Well he's the expert, right?

It will be totally cool. I can watch Basic Instinct for the fortieth time but it will be like brand new since I'll be able to really check out Sharon Stone's boobs and Michael Douglas' butt!

Well not Douglas' butt. I never look at a guy's butt. Sharon Stone's boobs. Yeah, that's what I'm into. I'm a boob. A boob man, I mean.

And Roy told me that the flat screen he sold me is a "total sex magnet." He said I'll have to beat them with off a stick which is what I have. But I'm not sure how everyone will know I have the flat screen TV?

I'm thinking of taking a photo of it and then making the photo a transfer and then ironing it on t-shirt and then wearing the t-shirt to the clubs so that everyone can see it and appreciate the kind of manly man I am. But just writing the previous sentence was a lot of work! To actually do what I wrote about might strain my gentle sensibilities or at least prevent me from catching and enjoying the Alf marathon.

I'll close by noting what a wonderful country we live in when everyone will soon have digital TVs, everyone who matters. As for the rest of you, piss off.

The Ice Cream Truck
by Suzy Q

PBS's Generically Bland Spokesperson spoke with me today about the pressing issues of today and you know it is current because I've already used "today" twice in this sentence! Woops!Three times!
Suze: There is a feeling that PBS has tilted rightward. How do you respond to that?

GBS: We need money, lots and lots of money. For a pledge of $300, on our easy checks plan, we can get you a mug with PBS on it.

Suze: Oh I love mugs! I'm dieting so I've started putting my ice cream in mugs instead of bowls or just eating it straight out of the carton. Isn't $300 a lot for one mug.

GBS: Not when you consider the quality program we provide you with year in and year out. You have seen our Suze Ormis specials, right?

Suze: No. I got burned by informericals back in the days of Susan Powder. Everytime she'd scream, "Stop the madness!" I'd drop my Ho-Hos and burst into tears because I thought she was speaking to me. Mommy would say, "Suze, she is on the TV, she can't get you." But I was a big girl with buck teeth, bad breath and acne that frequently sprouted strands of hair so my active imaginary life was all that I had.

GBS: For $500 we can get you a mug and a paper napking featuring Maya & Miguel.

Suze: About that. My Spanish isn't too good but I've learned a few things from my years of ordering off the Taco Bell menu. Shouldn't the title be: Maya y Miguel?

GBS: For $600 Gwen Ifill will call you on the phone to wish you happy birthday. For $700, you can block all calls from Gwen Ifill.

Suze: I think I prefer the $700 option. So what's with all the cooking shows? I watch those sometimes but they make me so hungry. Not everyone cooks. You should have eating shows.Everyone eats!

GBS: Did you want to pay the $700 in one lump sum or sign up for our easy-checks plan?

Suze: You know what else I wonder? Why doesn't PBS have any programs I care about? Like there's the Dancing Baby. He was real popular on Ally McBeal and now the show's gone so why can't PBS give him a special? I'd watch.

GBS: This is a dancing baby?

Suze: Damn skippy. Best dancing baby in the world.

GSB: Could we make it a dancing fetus? If we could make it a dancing fetus we could probably get money from James Dobson to underwrite the program.

Suze: Could it still wear a diaper?

GSB: Provided it had an umbilical cord attaching it to the mother, yes.

Suze: That is so cool! I'm like a PBS programmer or something. Hey dig me, everybody! And the Manny thought he was so damn all that for leaving. I'm a part of the PBS family --

GSB: When you honor your pledge of $700 dollars.

Suze: And that's the home of The Sopranos! I'm big time!

GSB: HBO has The Sopranos.

Suze: Oh. Well I'm still big time!

GSB: Yes, for $700, you are. Would you like to put your pledge on a credit card? We accept Visa and Master Card.
Blog Report
by New Guy

Blog Reports are hard. Everyone told me that. They said, "Everyone's going to pissed at you so just accept it. Your job is to find the most pressing issues of the day that people are blogging about."

Inspired, I went searching and damned if things aren't 'a heating up like a raw egg on a Texas sidewalk in July, siz-ZLE! The hot topic in the blogsphere this week?

That Wil Wheaton is a "cat man!" Aren't we all, Wil, aren't we all? Wheaton writes passionately of the joy of cleaning 5/8ths of his garage in "
not quite five by five, but getting there." Beats the Viper Club, I guess. But this post, from September, still hasn't generated any comments! Come on people, Wil's a star. Sure Jerry was the fat one in Stand By Me, but Wil was the geek. Show some love, show some love! He even alluded to Faith from Buffy in the title of his post and you just know she could so kick his geeky ass, so show some love and leave a comment for Wil.

Forget whether or not Karl Rove outed Valerie Plame, Miss Maddle has
serious problems at I Crap in a Box (me too, just FYI):

I don't know who's dumber -- Kadi for throwing all her toys off the balcony this morning or
Mommy for actually thinking she'd KEEP them from going flying onto our downstairs neighbor's porch!

I wonder if Miss Maddle can help me get one of those "I Love 2 Poop" license plates displayed at her site? I'd love to hang it right over the john in my bathroom!

biljounc of My Growing Cat Family
assures us all that, "The adventures of cat ownership never end." However, I'm less than convinced.

Over at Abbie The Cat Has A Posse, they're taking donations like the pledge drive Suzy got caught in at The Ice Cream Truck. Apparently Abbie is as shameless as Jerry Lewis when trying to drum up money, which would explain

first off she was sick and dshe didnt tell anybody she was sick
not even me
i said why are you so skinny and she said i dunno let me sleep
i said why do you sleep so much and she said because i am tired okay let me sleep
and when I said you are not eating my food anymore why are you not eating my food anymore she just licked her paw and went to sleep

Reading it, I also felt sleepy. I wondered if I was dying too?

Fortunaly, Avram (New Cat City) put my fears to rest by explaining: "
Cats: Better Than a Sleeping Pill." I know reading it put me to sleep!
Magazine Report
by Suzy Q

S.L. is breathing down all our necks about how he's doing serious work and we're just slacking off and bringing not just Watchdog Daily down but the whole Watchdog enterprise including the college program! Well excuse the hell out of me. It's not like my life's going all that great these days. I thought my new boyfriend was only gay but it turns out he's also a drug addict and a cross dresser who recently took all my American Girl dolls to a swap meet to score some cash to buy more stash. Not only that, he put a runner in my good hose!

And I'd already made the mistake this summer of taking Dell home to meet the family. Now that's all I hear, "How's Dell?" and "Are you and Dell still together?" and "Suze, honey, honest, Mommy needs to know if Dell swiped her bra." It gets real old, people, real old!

One day you're thirteen, lying on the carpet in front of the TV, watching a Molly Ringwald movie, dreaming about when your teeth will be perfect and they'll take the head gear off, the next you're marching towards middle age and so desperate not to be alone that you're perfectly willing to settle for a man who looks more girlish in your Prada panties than you do.
It's just not fair!

Here's another thing that's not fair: is
Highlights trying to be like The New York Times? I figured I'd scan Highlights for Children for some insight into the hot topics like Harriet Miers' nomination and try to solve one of the Hidden Pictures (don't scoff, they are hard!) but all the content is apparently unavailable to the average computer user like me. Well if The Times would put up a firewall between the readers and Thomas Friedman & David Brooks, I guess it's not all that surprising that Highlights would mirror that move by refusing to make either Goofus or Gallant available online to nonsubscribers.

Now what am I supposed to write about?

God. S.L. is staring at me with that cross look he gets when he thinks I'm online looking for the Dancing Baby. Things used to be way, way cooler around here. I'm hitting the head. Back in 10.

Good news! In the men's room (I just prefer the men's room), I found the new oversize TV Guide. That's a magazine. See, you start thinking it's not going to work out, that you're going to get fired which means losing your boyfriend because if you're not buying the Revlon make up, then he's not staying, and losing your apartment, which means moving back with your parents (again!) and having to hear every other day, "What ever happened to that nice Dell? He seemed so nice?" while also having to hear about your younger sister who is married, with three kids, a lovely home with a pool and three car garage and it's all just enough to make you go running in search of Zingers or Little Debbie Snack Cakes, when boom! you spot the TV Guide on the floor.

I'm glad that they made TV Guide bigger because, like the ad's used to say, TV is more complicated now. Ian Birch looks a lot like my boyfriend Dell. He's the editor and he promises "Big, colorful photos." Praise Jesus! I am so not into reading these days.

That Mary Murphy is smart and lucky! Lucky because she gets to interview Julian McMahon's whose wealth of chest hair makes up for the hairline that continues to recede up top. She asks all the important questions. Like this one: "Because the show gets heavy, huh?"

Man, to be a real journalist like Mary Murphy and to ask deep, penetrating questions. A girl can dream. I really enjoy the Movie Guide. Looking through the 42 films reviewed, I'm thrilled to know that all get three or four stars. Must not be a dog among them. I guess TV has finally learned that people don't like to watch bad movies, huh? We can thank the deep, probing film criticism of TV Guide for that, I tell you.

And in Cheers & Jeers, I love how they applaud Kitchen Confidential for a show that hasn't aired. Even though it was known weeks ago that Fox was taking Kitchen Confidential off the air. I think it's important to applaud things you haven't seen and may never see, not just the things you've seen, but the things you haven't seen too. Like take this Magazine Report, okay? I think S.L. should come over here and applaud me for it without reading it. I think I deserve that. Don't you? Cheers to me! Jeers to S.L.

And I love how they call Prison Break a hit! Mr. Negativity, S.L., might get all hung up in something (he would call them "facts") like ratings and ask dopey questions like, "Is it even in the top 20?" No, and why does that matter? Why all the sudden do you need to be high rated to be called a "hit"? Seems to me like you should be able to call something a "hit" just because you want to and obviously the retooled TV Guide agrees with me. So there to all that dopey stuff like "facts."

Not everything has to be Judy Miller, Judy Miller, Judy Miler, okay? And it doesn't all have to be this nasty little attitude either. I enjoyed reading the hard hitting "George Clooney: 'Good Luck' follows the ex-ER doc" by Mike Flaherty. What's wrong with feel-good reporting, huh?I call it, and the new oversize look of TV Guide, a "hit!"