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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Why I should not watch television at 2:30 in the morning

I went to see Blue Sundaze perform at the Lift Inn in Lenoxville, PA this past Saturday. The Lift Inn, it turns out, is almost exactly 50 miles from my house, so I was glad that the show was scheduled from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Their performance was great, as expected. The crowd took a while to warm up, but by the end of the night they were shouting out requests to the band. They tried out a few new songs, and flawlessly faked a couple by Credence Clearwater Revival. I believe that the guy who shouted "The chick is GOOD!" two and a half years ago during 3 Brix Shy's only show at the Lift Inn was also in attendance.

The drive back was tense but wasn't too bad. There was water in spots on the highway but no ice, although I kept myself at a level of maximum anxiety while scanning the road ahead, and I had a half-liter bottle of water and a nutrition bar to keep me going. My trip was broken up by a stop at an all-night supermarket to get a few half-gallon containers of milk.

I got home sometime after two and decided to head for bed, but found myself too keyed-up to fall asleep. Well, I wasn't planning anything more complicated the next day (well, later the same day) than undecorating the outside of the house and possibly making a quick run to look for a birthday present for my cousin, so I decided to see what could possibly be on TV at that hour.

Mostly nothing, but two things caught my attention. One was the Cartoon Network's broadcast of Ghost In The Shell, which looked as good as my friend has always said it is. The other was a total surprise...

It was an hour-long infomercial for the Hee Haw DVD collection, hosted by a post-Botox Roy Clark. (Maybe it's just traditional plastic surgery that has caused him to look like he is staring into a 100 m.p.h. wind.) I was transfixed. I saw things that had me laughing to the point of tears. I was remembering watching Hee Haw 30 years ago, every Saturday night just before The Lawrence Welk Show. I realized several things:

1. Hee Haw was a lot funnier than I remembered.
2. Hee Haw resembles an American version of The Benny Hill show, with everything that implies.
3. Cathy Baker was one of the first women I was infatuated with. She was the pretty blonde with short straight hair in the overalls who did a lot of the interstitial stuff and hung out with the bloodhound in the group scenes. Her resemblance to Cybill Shepherd may explain my later fondness for that actress.
4. Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps' "Eephin' and Hambonin' " routine was damned funny. This is where one slapped percussion on his own body while the other made a series of spastic gasping and hiccuping sounds. Somebody at work was able to reproduce this pretty accurately when I reminded him of it.
5. Grandpa Jones was actually six years younger than my own grandparents, but he seemed much older.
6. I am very susceptible to the power of suggestion at 2:30 in the morning.

Hee Haw burned itself into my brain. Suddenly it went from something I hadn't thought about in years to something I couldn't stop thinking about. Must buy discs...my parents would enjoy these discs...must find out how to buy... It took me a good bit of research on Sunday to find out who Cathy Baker and Jimmie Riddle and Jackie Phelps were. I found myself talking about it at work on Monday, and on my blog on Tuesday...the Hee Haw meme had latched onto me and was - is - using me as a tool of its reproduction.

It's a good thing the discs are from Time-Life. My company used to be owned by Time Warner, so I know what a ripoff most Time-Life DVD collections are. So maybe I'll just bide my time, and wait for the price to go down...and when it does, Hee Haw shall be mine!

Hmmm...I wonder how many late-night infomercials the Bush campaign ran?

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