Passing time at 3 in the morning


By Jeff Linville - jlinville@civitasmedia.com



People who know me well generally can say three things about me.

One, I like to cut up. If I can’t have a laugh and make others laugh, then it becomes a long, boring day.

Two, I am a sports nut. Not very surprising since I spent five years covering sports on a daily basis.

Three, I might be a bigger movie buff than sports nut.

I’ve seen thousands of movies in my life, many of them more than once.

Working as the sports editor made that hobby even more pronounced.

I get home late at night, well after the prime-time TV shows on the big networks. Since I miss out on all the network TV programming, I have DVDs and a Netflix account.

Back in the days before I had a DVD player that could also stream internet movies, I had to get by like so many insomniacs do: forced to watch infomercials at 3 a.m.

I watched shows on kitchen gadgets, vacuum cleaners, guitar training videos, weight loss and/or workout equipment and other products that you just know would seem lame in the daytime hours, but sound almost plausible when half-asleep.

One night I watched a special on a wand that you attach to your garden hose to reach high places.

Later, I laughed really hard when comedian Mitch Hedberg was on a late-night talk show discussing this very infomercial.

“It said, ‘You can water your hard-to-reach plants with this product,’” If one didn’t already own such a wand, Hedberg reasoned, then why in the world would they put their plants in impossible places?

“I know you need water, but I’m gonna make you hard to reach. I will throw water at you. Hopefully they invent a product before you shrivel and die.”

Thankfully I no longer need watch these programs.

Because of my love of movies, one of my favorite websites (after ESPN) is IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Database.

I have quite a wealth of knowledge on movies and actors, but still I see people in shows that I can’t place. Voila! That alcoholic you can’t remember is Harry Dean Stanton. That little girl with the football team will later be a cheerleader on Heroes. Yes, that crazy dude on Night Court really is the dad from The Addams Family.

This is one of the greatest things in the world because there is nothing more annoying while watching TV at 3 a.m. than some answer on the tip of your tongue that refuses to come out.

Of course, that very thing is how I came to be so knowledgeable on movie trivia in the first place.

Here is an actual conversation in the living room when I was a teenager.

“Sue, who is that guy right there?”

“Which one?”

“The guy in the hat.” This was a Western, so you know that hat detail cleared things right up.

“I don’t know, Charlie.”

“Is that Kirk Douglas?”

“No, Kirk Douglas is a little fellow.”

“Well who is it then?”

“I don’t know, Charlie, but it ain’t Kirk Douglas.”

Under his breath, “Yeah, I think it’s Kirk Douglas.”

I reached for the TV Guide and flipped pages. I found the movie and called out, “It’s Randolph Scott.”

“Randolph Scott! I knew that.”

I wish I could say this was a one-time incident, but it was a regular occurrence on Sunday afternoons. Over time I became an expert at the TV Guide and a pretty good trivia contestant.

Unfortunately, that’s a skill that seems less important now that anyone can look movies up on IMDB.

I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with IMDB because I used to be the go-to guy on movies. Now anyone with a smart phone can regurgitate filmographies.

But hey, anything is better than another half-hour commercial for something that chops, slices, dices and otherwise mutilates your food. All yours for three easy payments of $19.95.

Or to end on another Hedberg bit, “I would like to see a product that was available for three easy payments and one really complicated payment. We ain’t going to tell you which one, but one of them is going to be a b——-. The envelope will not seal, the stamps will be in the wrong denomination, the mailman will get shot and the last payment must be made in wampum. Good luck!”

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By Jeff Linville

jlinville@civitasmedia.com

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692 and on Twitter @SportsDudeJeff.

Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692 and on Twitter @SportsDudeJeff.

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