It's been said that one can judge a society by how it treats its animals. We might factor that analysis a bit and suggest that a society might also be judged by its television programming.

And on that note I say, "God help us!"

Some of that reality television may not be the toilet of programming, but it's at least the path to the outhouse.

And then we have the Anna Nicole Smith Show. What an incredible waste of air time that is only challenged in bilge content by The Osbornes -- a couple of weirdoes who have serious lapses of memory -- mostly the '60s and '70s.

I watched about 10 minutes of the Anna Nicole Smith Show. She's that younger woman who married the old geezer and inherited his many fortunes. I have no problem with that. They probably deserved each other.

But they didn't have to put her on camera. If there was ever an idea of making a show about absolutely nothing, it has come to fruition. The camera crews just follow this woman around all day, and if she should utter a multi-syllable word or opens a door not complexed by a deadbolt lock, they get a close up of her posterior -- Oops! I mean they get a closeup for posterity.

Then we have the pet psychiatrist who talks to the animals.

Now I think people should talk to their animals. I talk to my dog Fancy, but that's just between me and her. I don't go around town serving as an interpreter in that venue.

The pet psychiatrist carries on conversations with dogs, cats, giraffes, or whatever. She pretends they are telling her secrets that their owners should know. And those poor creatures have looks on their faces that I can only translate to something like "Beam me up, Scotty!"

Talking to things that can't be proved seems to be the dupe-of-the day on television.

In that vein, we have a show called "Crossing Over." This show features a man who supposedly talks with the dead.

Here's how this program goes:

The man who communicates with the dead stands in a semi-circle in front of an audience. The entire charade is cloaked in abstract and generalized to the point of absurdity.

This fellow suddenly has the expression of an oncoming migraine. Then he says, "I'm sensing that someone in the audience had an uncle."

A fellow raises his hand.

"You had an uncle?"

"Yes," he says, "uncle Fred."

I turned to my wife and with tongue in cheek said, "This guy is really good. How could he possibly have known that someone in the audience had an uncle."

"Okay, I sense something working here. This uncle wore a hat. Am I correct?"

The guy in the audience shrugs.

"Well, I saw him in a picture once, and he had on a hat."

"Ah hah! Just what I thought. And I'm sensing that he hated for his dog to chew his hat. Am I correct?"

Another shrug from the fellow in the audience.

"Well he didn't have a dog. But if he did have a dog, I'm pretty sure he would have been upset if it chewed his hat."

Like I told my wife, this guy is good.

So I asked my wife, "Do you want to go sit on the back porch and listen to the frogs? Maybe they'll tell us how much rain to expect this week, or if they have uncles."

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545. E-mail:

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