(I finished this and was ready to post it when I realized I'd forgotten the actual point: Anyone in the area have this week's episode of West Wing on tape and willing to lend it to me?)
My ReplayTV and my cable box were having a spat for a few days earlier this week: I'd tell the Replay to tell the Cable Box "Turn to channel 5", and the cable box would petulantly flash some numbers across its screen and tune to some arbitrary channel — or, often as not, stay on the same channel. I was only able to put in an hour or so trying to get them to see reason — It's been a busy week. I was planning to try some more this weekend.* But when I got home, I noticed the channel had changed itself, and that a program a little earlier on that same channel that was scheduled to be recorded had been. Tried the Replay's remote and found that I could once again use it to change channels, as I always had been before. Watched the Replay change channels and start to record another scheduled program. And breathed a big sigh of relief.**
Then I went to watch this week's episode of West Wing, knowing it might have been caught in the middle. IT was: Instead I had an hour of VH1 Classic. I was about to nuke it when the first video started: Chris Deburgh's "Lady in Red". Which was one of my favorite songs in the late 80s, and I'd never seen the video before. Not a great video, but hey, I got to hear the song. So then I stuck with it, skipping more than half the videos, and seeing a few more that were new to me — John Lennon's "Valotte"; Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days" (which plays counterpoint to the song, go some extent — the former high school baseball player is shown as a man around 30 playing ball with his son, which contrasts pretty strongly to the "growing up sucks" attitude I'd always gotten from the song); Billy Joel's "A Matter of Trust (a fun video — I'm not sure I've ever seen Billy Joel play guitar before — in the 'famous band performs spontaneously live in public" genre, but clearly staged and not on a rooftop). An old favorite — Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll"
And then, a great video that I've only seen two or three times before in my life (and never saw when it was new), and always watch with my jaw half open in ... I don't know what: Weird Al Yancovic's "Like a Surgeon". Sheer comic brilliance. I haven't seen the Madonna video in better than fifteen years — if I had, I bet the Weird Al would have had me rolling on the floor. The guy's a genius. I've watched it (well, half watched it) three more times while writing this.
* I was planning to systematically debug it, to the extent that a blackbox system can be debugged, this weekend.
** I now suspect the Replay took a buggy update Tuesday or Wednesday and got a bugfix today.