Wake up with a trip down memory lane


So, here’s how I got to this:

1) First I was thinking about buying a Karl Strauss logo pint glass and giving it to my friend when I fly to Iowa City next month. He accidentally broke the 99 Bottles glass he bought in Santa Cruz and has been without a regular pint for a long time.

2) That got me thinking about all the times he’s asked me to drive to Santa Cruz and buy him another 99 Bottles glass. There’s no way I’m going to drive all the way there (300 miles?) just for that.

3) However, I thought, I could swing by the bar and grab one if I go there with my parents the next time they fly out.

4) It’d be awesome to go back to Santa Cruz. The drive up would be much more pleasant. The last time I drove north from the Southland was the day after my 24th birthday. I had to work at Goodwill the next day, and the specter of waking at 7 am to listen to a long weekend worth of voicemail hung over me, souring the beautiful scenery.

5) Next I thought how I probably woke the next morning to that annoying morning show, the one that started promptly on the hour with “That’s a nice dream you’re having. That’s a nice dream…WAAAAKE UUUUUP!” just as my clock radio turned on. I fucking hated that. What was that show?

6) “Wake Up With Whoopi.”

I’d forgotten all about that shit, and was better off for it, too. But like all the peccadilloes, embarrassments, and minor influences packed in my memory, it was fair game to be brought before my conscious, especially given the chain of thoughts proceeding it. Seriously, though: who knew thinking about logo pint glasses sold at a local micro brewery could lead me to ponder Whoopi Goldberg’s ill fated radio show?

Yep — Whoopi Goldberg had a radio show. Had a radio show. I didn’t listen to it, and apparently neither did anyone else. I only woke to it. My DreamMachine was tuned to a cool radio station out of Salinas or Monterey. (I don’t remember the call letters or even the frequency, so I can’t look it up online. I know it wasn’t a Santa Cruz station, and it definitely wasn’t coming from San Jose. The Santa Cruz Mountains segregated the Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay radio signals, so it was just about impossible to hear anything from the other side. The stations changed past the Summit Road overpass on Highway 17. After driving underneath it, going north, the radio station I listened to on the Santa Cruz side faded to a jumble of mixed signals before the San Jose station with the same frequency took over.) The station’s creed was “old school,” so it played mostly funk, R&B, and disco. It was agreeable and fun, except in the morning.

From what I remember, “Wake Up With Whoopi” was your typical, syndicated morning show — but with Whoopi Goldberg. It wasn’t as goofy or gross as “The Bob and Tom Show” (which, I saw, is now broadcast on TV), but it tried to be entertaining in a mass appeal sort of way. “WUWW,” I could tell, was aimed toward an easy listening, corporate slave demographic — the kind of people who slough through traffic from suburban apartment complexes every morning after picking up their usual at Starbucks, then listen to John Tesh’s radio show on their way home, sometimes picking up a to-go meal from Applebee’s en route.

Radio morning shows lost their appeal when I started driving. I still listened to Rock 108’s morning jocks on my way to school and work (which reminds me: I should write about the godliness of Rock 108 and its obsession with Alice in Chains) but the silly games and water cooler talk bored me. “Bob and Tom” became especially annoying with their tired characters, washed up guests, and incessant laughter (though, the “Trucker Clock” bit still holds a place in my heart). What I wanted to hear in the morning was music (preferably anything from “Dirt”).

“WUWW” had no chance. The intro made it even worse. Each show began with the “That’s a nice dream…” sequence, which devolved into Whoopi’s co-host beating you out of bed. With a wake-up call like that you have to question whether or not anyone wanted the show to succeed. “Let’s give Whoopi a radio show. Who gives a fuck if it tanks?” Nobody except Whoopi, I assume.

ANYWAY, that was an odd trip down memory lane. “WUWW” didn’t last two years. When it was canceled last year, only six stations carried the show.

What’s my mind working on now? How about the Country Bear Jamboree, the former Disneyland attraction I saw when I was three. Let’s not even get started on how I started thinking about that.

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