31 January 2006

It's BAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!

For the first time since January 1998, when it all came falling down into the bathroom sink, it's the triumphant return of ........

THE BEARD!!!

I don't know what moved me to do so, but late last week I decided it was time to bring in some more hair. If nothing else, it makes up for what's rapidly disappearing from northward regions.

Seraphim doesn't mind, and, unless she's lyin' through her teeth, says she likes it. What she doesn't want is for it to look like it did 10 years ago. She won't need to worry; it won't be the crazed bushy job I had during much of the 1991-97 time frame.

So .. next time you see me, it's not me trying to hide from the prying eyes of our domestic spying apparatus. It's just Talmadge's New (Old) Look, back for a repeat performance.

Ciao for niao!

--Talmadge "Z Z Top" Gleck

28 January 2006

She thinks I'm 3-D!!!!

According to the link on Nettiemac's blog, I'm now one of her "3-D friends."

To celebrate this honor, I'm going to hold out a virtual plate of pancakes and a container of syrup, moving it back and forth toward you.

Lord, I sure do miss SCTV ...

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Dr. Tongue" Gleck

25 January 2006

What I don't like about this

Last night, I played a 200-mile card in the Mille Bornes game that's called my MP3 conversion project: I finished not just the B singles, but also got all the Rs done as well. That leaves just the S to do for my 45s. Tonight, my goal is to knock out the rest of R - the CDs and LPs. That'll leave just S and VARIOUS ARTISTS.

Wheeeeeee.

Several days before, I'd gone through the R singles to pull those I needed to record and convert. In doing so, I got to a song from 1980, the first single release by a Detroit band called The Romantics entitled "What I Like About You."

You may be surprised to know it only reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. WILAY received minimal to no airplay in the South that I'm aware of, and just a bit of needle-drops on stations in the southeast Missouri area, where I was living in 1980. It was MTV that legitimized the song, through frequent playing of the song's video a year later. Go figure.

But when I heard it back in 10th grade, I loved it. During college, WILAY was among my more frequently-played 45s. (Dunno why I never bought the album....)

You'd think the song would have a red-velvet cordoned-off "RESERVED" space on my MP3 player's hard drive.

You would be wrong. You see, I no longer like "What I Like About You."

Why? What I DON'T like about the song is its non-stop use in TV commercials these days. "What I Like" is, to my ears, the worst prostitution of a pop hit since the '60s Fontella Bass R&B scorcher "Rescue Me." It has taken away any love for that song I once had. And ditto for RM.

Coincidentally enough, the other morning Bob & Sheri had, as their daily "chat room" question: What's a favorite song you once had that now you cannot stand? For me, the answer was easy, yet sad.

The reason songs get used and abused for shilling products is their accessibility and price. Rights-holders have the luxury of making bucks off the songs they hold (that's why Beatles songs suddenly began cropping up toward the late '80s in commercials -- blame no less than Michael Jackson!). A little research shows that The Romantics had a long, protracted lawsuit over rights to their songs ... but that suit was won, and now they own the hits they created 2+ decades earlier.

That was back in the '90s, though. WILAY began appearing frequently 3-4 years ago.

[sigh] Greed.

What about any of you? What other ex-favorite songs do you have?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Balking in my sleep" Gleck

24 January 2006

In appreciation of friends ... and of roads not taken.

The foregoing perfectly sums up what I'll be spending the next however long expressing in my own classic meanderin- er, sorry, that word's been taken by another blog ;-) errrr, expressing in my own classic takes-forever-to-get-to-the-friggin'-point way.

I get involved with a project, going double- and triple-time toward completion (see post below on TGTGMP3CP). When this happens, as with any major task, I get into a hyper-focused mode. I leave everything else -- be it e-mail, video trading, or, yes, blogs -- in abeyance until it's done.

It's one of many weird aspects of my personality, and I have to say I'm blessed to have a wife who completely understands this. Y'see, Seraphim is also a tunnel-vision'ed likes-to-concentrate-on-one-thing kind of person. Zero in on just one thing, do it, only it, and get it done thoroughly, completely, and - hopefully - right. Neither of us multitask particularly well.

And speaking of "takes-forever-to-get-to-the-friggin'-point".....

I've 'returned', so to speak, only to find that Nettiemac is in a period of mourning over the loss of her longtime friend Tee. She's made several beautiful and moving posts in tribute. There's a bit of guilt involved -- it's funny how our minds work; it's as if we search deep within ourselves to somehow assign blame and/or guilt to ourselves. We start thinking about the 'road not taken' (i.e. job interview over wedding). Boy, do I know that feeling. So many choices I could've made differently. Maybe my life, or those of the ones we love and care about, would've had less pain and sadness.

Then again, I probably wouldn't be where I am today, with who I have around me.

But anyhoo, today my heart is in upstate S.C. giving virtual comfort. Losing a good friend is traumatic, any way you slice it. In many ways, it's even worse than the death of a loved one.

I know what it's like to lose a good friend. Steve F. and I might not have had the tenure of friendship, as I have with Bolivar (we go back 20 years!) or as Nettiemac had with Tee. I met Steve in 1998, who visited my vintage radio website. He became interested in some recordings I had - and he pulled out some musty reels out of his mother's attic and dubbed 'em off for us.

From there a friendship was struck, and I inspired Steve to pursure the weird and spastic hobby of aircheck collecting. I tell you, I created a monster! He was a traveling sales rep, spending most of his time in motel rooms throughout the Southeast. It was always a pleasure for us to get together when Steve's business took him toward Savannah (or if we were visiting Atlanta, where he lived in a tiny - and I do mean tiny condo in Buckhead). Seraphim always found a way to cook him a meal when he visited ... probably only real home cooking Steve got to eat!

Trouble struck late in 2003, while in Jackson, Miss. He began feeling lightheaded, and had to rest there for a long spell. Seeing a doctor was a last-resort, as he carried almost no health insurance -- being self-employed, he could hardly afford it! (something he'd fret about in our correspondence) I went for awhile without hearing from him. A mutual friend of ours in the radio business gave me the news: Steve had two malignant brain tumors, and emergency surgery early in 2004 caused blindness, then a quick death. He had very little family ... it was an existence where his friends were his family. And he had many.

I miss him. I truly do. We shared a love for travel, for old radio, for nostalgia, and even for a truly quirky brand of politics. Our paths paralleled for less than six years, but what a six they were. But I envy Steve now -- he's in a good place, with access to every single minute of audio WAKE, WQXI or WAPE ever broadcast.

An "ape call" to ya, Steve!

*********

As you can tell, I'm in a very reflective frame of mind. I think about 1998. That was a turning point in my life. Now that I think about it, I met Nettiemac right at the same time I met Steve. It's funny - I stumbled upon Nettiemac's website, and Steve had stumbled upon mine. And earlier that year, as many of you know, I stumbled upon a girl named Seraphim, also online. We all know where THAT led. How lucky I am that all three encounters, made through the internet, led to "real life", brick-and-mortar friendships (one, of course, became a little more).

Another comrade-in-arms is a band director in Alabama, who shares a love of The Beatles, and of radio. We're both divorced fathers who landed on our feet in much happier second marriages. I look up to him as a beacon of music appreciation.

There are times we go without talking or corresponding. Sometimes that period lasts a month or longer. Best of all, none of us are what I'd call high-maintenance. If I don't hear from Bolivar for a week, I don't start getting all uptight, saying "Why haven't I heard from you? I thought you were my FRIEND!" ..... ya know????

We all have our own lives, in our own different cities and states. And none of us are the only friends the other has. We have other friends in different orbits, and they shouldn't be ignored, either (it still seems surreal that Bolivar and Nettiemac have struck up a good friendship -- two people rooted in competely different eras of my life!)

What I believe has cultivated is a comfort. A knowledge that we're there. If I'm needed by a friend, I do my damnest to be there five minutes ago. And I have the knowledge and - TRUST! - that mine would do the same. To some it might seem as if we all take each other for granted, but I disagree.

I hope what I've said makes sense. My friends can feel free to comment, elaborate, or completely ridicule what heartfelt words I've said. Bring it on. I can take it.

Curiously, of the active friends I have, all except two have been made since my divorce late in 1997..........

They're not many, when compared with so-called "popular" or, ummmm, "normal" folk. Lucky for me, I look at quality over quantity. As I've said more than once, if you've made SIX good, solid friends in your lifetime, you've done well -- what you have is a full set of pallbearers for your funeral! :-)

I'm very much among the blessed. Sure, taking those other roads might've spared me seven horrific years of Josiebelle, or at least allowed me to bail out quickly after our son was born. But would I have my son Tiger? Seraphim? Nettiemac? Steve? Birdman? J.T.? Would I have Savannah to call home, and a crazy, motley band of co-workers I love like family (yes, even him)?

Not a bad thing to remind myself every now and again.

To my friends, near and far, active and dormant .... you deserve a medal.

And Nettiemac, sleep well every night forevermore knowing that you touched Tee's life (she knows it, too, and always will). You've touched all our lives, too.

Cheers, and Ciao for Niao!

--Talmadge "I hope the day will be a lotta highway..." Gleck

Back up for air! or: "MP3 for Me"

According to the date of my last entry, it's been more than two weeks since I've last proffered bytes toward the space. I tell you, I'm turning into Seraphim, heh heh heh. ;-)

Just kidding. I think.

Ahem, anyway. So. After pulling weeds that've grown in the seams of the concrete, I'm back.

Where the hell have you been Talmadge?? I've been utterly lost and adrift without your words of profound ambiguity and dubious wisdom. Some friend YOU'VE been, Gleck. Phooey on youey. May you die and rot in a room filled with nothing but 45s from 1979! And may that room be in Troy, Alabama.

The last two (2) weekends and most of the interspersing weekday nights have been spent in warp-5 gear accomplishing a task I started late last Summer: The Great Talmadge Gleck MP3 Conversion Project.

I'd been plugging along at a lethargic pace until Christmas, when I finally acquired my MP3 player! And suddenly my goal became more urgent: to get this done by the end of February, when the T&S Tragical Blistery Tour heads west to Arkansas for a week. The idea of ~5,000+ songs in complete random order, all of them to our liking, just blows the mind.

Converting favorite tracks from some 1,100 LPs, 1,200 CDs and about 1,400 45-RPM singles into easily-digestible MP3 format is not a job for the faint-of-heart. Or faint-of-Floyd (yeah, there's more than a few PF tunes in the mix). At the end of the year, I was up to G -- and that was mostly just the CDs.

After a long and hard January spent damn near isolated in the fabled Music Room®, here is currently how TGTGMP3CP stands:

A,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z = completely done!!
B = CDs and LPs done -- only need to do the rest of the 45s (30) and finish ID tags.
C = completely done, just lack the ID tags.
R,S,VARIOUS ARTISTS = Yet to begin!

As huge as S is gonna be, the VAs will be a real bear - I have over 150 CDs alone, many of those songs I haven't already ripped from the regular albums.

B is gonna get done tonight, and maybe I can finish tagging the Cs. I might can get all of R done before my trip to Alabama this weekend. That gives me four (4) weeks to finish S and Various. I've got exactly ONE MONTH FROM TODAY to get this done!

And, complicating the mix (not that I'm complaining), is a nice little box I'm getting from a friend of mine over in Ala. this weekend. After 14 years of active collecting of vintage airchecks (recordings from radio stations), I have finally stumbled upon The Holy Grail. This box I'm getting contains nine (9) reels, each containing three (3) hours' worth of radio airchecks. Birmingham radio airchecks. Late '60s to the mid '70s.

Swoon.

Y'see, my friend is a record collector who so happened to make a deal with a guy who'd bought a jukebox and wanted it loaded with some blues songs. So happens this one guy served in Vietnam in the late '60s, and his mother recorded airchecks of WSGN, WAQY, WJLN-FM [pause to hyperventilate!!!!!], etc. to send his way as a 'taste of home.'

Swoon.

My friend got hold of the reels, and they'll be coming back to Georgia with Talmadge to make copies (I'm the only one in that group with a CD recorder). So that'll take some time. Oh, and there are about 20-25 in that batch ... this is just the first part.

Swoon.

Included in this booty is all three hours of the WSGN weekly Top 30 countdown from August 1, 1969 ... commercials, newscasts and all. And three golden hours of WJLN-FM, Birmingham's "underground" FM back in the day.

Did I say "Swoon"?

This is gonna be a long week. Seraphim's gonna need to come with me in order to change out the towels on the floorboard, dripping wet with my drool.

So ... suffice it to say, you may not be hearing TOOOOO much from Talmadge. But, like indigestion after a Mexican dinner, I'll be back.

Ciao for niao!

--Talmadge "Hopeless. Just hopeless." Gleck

09 January 2006

Do lolly, lolly, shicky bum, shicky bum: It's 1977!

Time once again for another review of another musical week in time. Today, we visit the American Top 40 program for the week ending July 30, 1977.

Coming soon, as promised, is a doozy of a list from 1979 .... however I wanted to present one which contains far more good songs than bad. 1977 actually wasn't that bad a year in pop music. But while '77 was good musically, it wasn't a very good year for me school-wise, either 6th grade or 7th. Thankfully, the Summer more than made up for it. Summertime 1977 was an idyllic island, and there were so many great songs playing on the radio. And around this time, we were on a big family vacation out west, where I saw the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, and took a brief day-long jog into Mexico while stopped over in El Paso.

1977 was also the year I discovered American Top 40. It was the beginning of the year, during a post-Christmas visit to the grandparents' in Birmingham. WSGN aired it Sunday nights, and - to my delight - a station nearby Tupelo (WKOR "The Big 98" in Starkville, Miss.) picked up AT40 at the beginning of the Summer.

Without further delay, here we go:

40) FLOAT ON / The Floaters
1977 was a benchmark year for black music. Disco had already begun making its mark (and let the record show that it was us honkies who f'ed up disco), garden-variety "soul" music was still going strong, and funk was – well, funk was funk. Never out of season.

But there are always exceptions to the rule, and this is one of ‘em. It's a nice soul ballad, music-wise, but the lyrics are another matter:

Aquarius, and my name is Talmadge. And I like a woman who is twisted. With a real warped sense of humor. Who's a real smart-ass. A woman who cooks up a mean streak and can love me like no other. If this is you .... then here's what I want you to do: Take my haaaaaaand .... let me take youuuuu, to lovvvvvve laaaaaaand ....

You can get STDs just from listening to this.

The writer of "Float On", I understand, also developed those tacky chrome ‘babe' silhouettes seen on the grilles of 18-wheelers.

39) CHRISTINE SIXTEEN / KISS
This was one I'd forgotten about. KISS was more or less ‘just there' on my musical plate. I liked ‘em okay, but wasn't ga-ga about the group as my brother was. In other words, I never considered joining KISS Army ... despite Uncle Gene saying "I Want You (So Does My Tongue)"

Gene Simmons, incidentally, could be standing here in Effingham County, Georgia, face west and stick out his tongue ... and touch Bolivar S. in Hot Springs, Ark.

38) SLIDE / Slave
37) STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 / Brothers Johnson
Two songs I was ga-ga over in the summer of ‘77. "Slide" was – and is – a fantastic soul/rock blend, to the point where more than once I came this close to actually playing it on my old classic rock show back in Alabama.

"Strawberry Letter 23" was a quaint little neo-psychedelic soul hit. I loved that trippy middle bridge, especially on the LP version where it had a few more bars.

36) SLOW DANCIN' (SWAYIN' TO THE MUSIC) / Johnny Rivers
One word: nice. A very sweet ballad that doesn't come close to reaching for the pink packets.

35) WAY DOWN / Elvis Presley
The last chart hit by The King before his 'killer B.M.' just weeks later. It was a bit spooky to hear it, knowing of this fact ... and especially to hear Casey referring to Elvis in the present tense. I love the ending here .... he goes deeper than anyone has ever gone before.

It must've been the drugs.

34) REMEMBER THE DAYS OF THE OLD SCHOOLYARD / Cat Stevens
33) ARIEL / Dean Friedman
It took six notches before we reached any songs I can't stand. Not too shabby. I'd forgotten about the Cat Stevens song (by ‘77, his better days were way past him), and fortunately one doesn't hear "Ariel" much either. I hated that song in 1977, and I hate it in 2006. I especially revile that "Aaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!" part in the song's hook. Very cringeworthy. Moving right along....

32) ON AND ON / Stephen Bishop
We didn't learn much through this song except that in Jamaica they've got lots of pretty women. They'll steal your money and break your heart. Big deal – so do women from the east part of Jonesboro, Ark.

In any case, it's a pretty decent song.

31) BLACK BETTY / Ram Jam
In the words of that great philosopher Eric Cartman: KICK-ASS!!! Probably cooks with more gas than any other song on this list. Long live rock 'n' roll, even if done by one-hit wonders.

30) GOT TO GIVE IT UP (PART I) / Marvin Gaye
Not among my favorites in the MG repertoire, but that's only by comparison. His life was in a bit of a shambles around this time, when he was engaged in an ugly divorce, the judge ordered the entire royalties from his next album be given to his ex. That album – called Here, My Dear – was full of biting songs, so vicious that his ex wife went back to court to sue Gaye for invasion of privacy.

29) SMOKE FROM A DISTANT FIRE / Sanford-Townsend Band
Two guys from Montgomery, Ala. who made it big, then it was back to the Eastern Bypass Holiday Inn with ‘em. All jokes aside, SFADF evokes all the magic of a 1977 Summer day.

28) ROCKY (GONNA FLY NOW) / Bill Conti
Didn't like the movie. Didn't like the song. Thank goodness I go by a pseudonym here, ‘cuz Sly Stallone might find out where I live and come beat me up.

27) HOW MUCH LOVE? / Leo Sayer
Lost in the shuffle when compared with his bigger hits, "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" (blech!) and "When I Need You." (ditto)

26) TELEPHONE LINE / Electric Light Orchestra
I'm hanging up now.

25) GIVE A LITTLE BIT / Supertramp
From what is perhaps my favorite of their albums, Even in the Quietest Moments. Give me that title track any ol' day.

24) TELEPHONE MAN / Meri Wilson
"Can you believe thaaaat??" If you start tracing the lineage of all the blonde jokes you see and hear these days, you'll find most of ‘em lead to this general vicinity. My father-in-law has been a telephone man for more than 40 years, so as you might imagine, the song was a big family joke.

Meri settled in Americus, Ga. (curiously, not too far from my FIL's home of Albany), and, sadly, she died in a car accident about three years ago. Meri's car was creamed by a BellSouth truck.

Just kidding about that last part.

23) IT'S SAD TO BELONG / England Dan & John Ford Coley
It's sad to have this record belong to my collection. So it doesn't.

22) DON'T STOP / Fleetwood Mac
Ruined both in 1980 (see Pink Lady post below) and in 1992. I was no fan of George Herbert Walker Bush, Esq., Preppy Rich Guy President, and was ecstatic to see his butt defeated. It was a mixed joy, as I was no fan of the guy who beat him, Bill "Blue Dresses, Beware!" Clinton.

21) JET AIRLINER / Steve Miller Band
Gimme some of those funky KICKS going down in the city. Oh, you want "funky s(BLEEP)t"? Sorry, this is from the 45.

20) BARRACUDA / Heart
Early sampling – the bass riff is straight from Led Zeppelin's "Achille's Last Stand"! A really neat cosmic coincidence here: the name of my wife's middle school swim team was the Bainbridge Barracudas. And Casey was doing his hourly ‘station salutes' over the intro to "Barracuda" ... one of the stations he mentioned was in Bainbridge, Ga.

19) HANDYMAN / James Taylor
"Handyman" without a falsetto is like "Layla" without amplified instruments ....... or "Don't Fear the Reaper" without cowbell.

18) YOU'RE MY WORLD / Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy? Or Ready for Hell?

17) JUST A SONG BEFORE I GO / Crosby, Stills & Nash
A song with old baggage (not romantic), something I could not stand to listen to for a long time. I'd prefer any of the other songs on this album, CSN. "Shadow Captain" .... "Fair Game" ... or the underrated "Run From Tears."

16) ANGEL IN YOUR ARMS / Hot
No thanks, I'll take a Seraphim.

15) UNDERCOVER ANGEL / Alan O'Day
I can take it or leave it. Several years after UA, he came back and recorded an album containing one of the most amusing ditties of 1980: "Skinny Girls."

14) KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU / Abba
ABBA = Always Brings Binging on Antacids.

13) EASY / The Commodores
I'd have to say it's my favorite of their songs. I don't think Tuskegee, Alabama's favorite sons made a bad record in the 1970s. The "OOOOOH!!" after the bridge just makes the whole song!

12) YOU MADE ME BELIEVE IN MAGIC / The Bay City Rollers
Not all lightweight teeny-bop bubblegum pop is bad. Really, it isn't. I could do without "S! A! T-U-R! D-A-Y! NIGHT!" — YMMBIM is far better. My opinion, of course, and I have the blog.

11) YOU AND ME / Alice Cooper
The idea of AC mellowing out brings cringes upon many hard-core rockers; however, I can't diss it. Mr. Eddie Hask-–er, I mean Vincent Furnier recorded a trio of really nice ballads in the 1976-78 time frame: "I Never Cry", "How You Gonna See Me Now?", and this rekkid. I like them. So sue me.

10) WHATCHA GONNA DO? / Pablo Cruise
How could it be a late ‘70s chart without Pablo Cruise? They perfected laid-back pop/rock ... and defined the genre in the process.

9) (YOUR LOVE HAS LIFTED ME) HIGHER AND HIGHER / Rita Coolidge
The song takes me back to early Summer, and a trip to Gulf Shores, Ala. A great song to crank up on the beach. Rita took Jackie Wilson's masterpiece and turned it into magic of her own.

Side note: at the time of this countdown, Jackie W. was on his deathbed ... and Casey gave his address for listeners to send well-wishes.

8) MARGARITAVILLE / Jimmy Buffett
The song's flip-flop blew out here; #8 is the highest this classic went. It's a standard any way you slice it, burnt-to-a-crisp or not. While on our honeymoon early in ‘01, Seraphim and I ate at Margaritaville in Key West, Fla. I had – you guessed it – the entree called "Cheeseburger in Paradise." It came with lettuce and tomato (although I care for neither on a burger), Heinz 57 (well, the ketchup if not the steak sauce) and french-fried potatoes. Also had a thick kosher pickle, but .... NO COLD DRAFT BEER! The beer was cold, and I had one, but it was out of a bottle. TPHFFFFFFFT!!! (The burger WAS good, though ... as was our whole trip)

7) DO YOU WANNA MAKE LOVE / Peter McCann
"....or do you just wanna fool around", the song continued. None of the above. How about we f(BLEEP)k like two crazed weasels in a Cuisinart?

My, there went the 'family friendly' rating down the guest room commode.

6) BEST OF MY LOVE / The Emotions
See earlier opinions on how wonderful a year 1977 was for R&B music.

5) DA DOO RON RON / Shaun Cassidy
4) MY HEART BELONGS TO ME / Barbra Streisand
3) LOOKS LIKE WE MADE IT / Barry Manilow
This 1977 countdown is like an otherwise nice, fresh loaf of bread. The above represented a big green patch of mold I just cut out of it.

Shaun spat in Phil Spector's face with that dismantling of what was one of the best 'girl-group' classics of the early ‘60s.

Barbra was just being Barbra.

And Barry just was being ... his self.

2) I'M IN YOU / Peter Frampton
1977 was beddy beddy good to Mr. Frampton. Frampton Comes Alive was the quintessential live album ... and, while the title song is a bit on the smarmy side, the album I'm In You is one of the better LPs of the year. Give me that album's medley of "(I'm a) Road Runner"/"Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" any ol' time.

Be that all as it may, "I'm In You" for me is one whose opening notes alone can unleash all the sweet memories of the Summer of ‘77.

And the #1 hit of July 30, 1977? Put a rubber band around the scrotum, give it a good snap, so you can hit that high note:

1) I JUST WANT TO BE YOUR EVERYTHING / Andy Gibb
Pre-SNF Gibb-esque matter. Like Frampton above, the opening bars of "Everything" bring back the whole experience. Skateboarding and biking around the streets of south Tupelo.

Submitted for your approval, one top 40 list from 1977. Comments? Bring 'em on...

Ciao for niao!

--Talmadge "Waiting for a countdown program hosted by SESAME STREET's The Count" Gleck

07 January 2006

Another exciting Seraphim Saturday!

The Wifely One and I went "into town" today, with the intent of accomplishing five things:
1) Breakfast/lunch at IHOP. We never give up.
2) Swing by this plant nursery to give ourselves an anniversary gift: a small poplar tree to plant in our back yard. The fifth anniversary is "wood", so there ya go.
3) Go over to Hancock Fabrics and find some fabric to make curtains for our bedroom. The existing blinds don't keep out the glare from the big floodlights the people behind us like to keep on all night.
4) Go to the movie theater and see Walk the Line. We've been wanting to ever since it came out, but this was the first opportunity.
5) Eat supper at Back Yard Burgers.

We accomplished a grand total of three things out of said five. Let's review:

1) IHOP: This time, yes! And it was delightful. Pancakes really hit the spot, but so did the breakfast sampler in general. And the hash browns were especially wonderful today. Mmmm!

2) Plant nursery: Yes, we went. No, we didn't get a tree. Small logistical snafu: We took the Civic into town, not the Element. Even a small tree would not have begun to fit in that little car.

3) Hancock Fabrics: Yes! We got the curtain materials. 40% off per yard, to boot. Eat fabric, evil floodlights!

4) Movie Theater: No. Hell, no. It's Saturday. The movie started at 415 PM. It's a matinee on a lazy January when the biggest movies showing (Harry Potter, King Kong, etc.) have been out for some time. But there was only one (1) person jockeying the ticket counter. The line literally snaked all through the lobby. We were told by some others that the theater next door had long lines, too. WTF??

I guess this'un will have to wait 'till it comes out on DVD. @#$%!! It's something which seems to personify Savannah -- very poor customer service in many places (can you say Toys R Us with only one [!] register open at 630 PM on a Friday night in mid December?). Seraphim was beginning to sound like Talmadge Gleck just about every day back in Troy, Alabama. For me, just thinking of my life back in that septic tank puts an immediate perspective to any bass-ackwards situations in Slow-vannah.

In any event, the next time I hear or see any theater manager crying in his $5.00 Coke and whining about theater attendance being down, I'll have a quick rebuttal. We'll save our "Cash" for the DVD release. Viva la Movie Gallery!

So, to kill some time -- I had my heart set on Back Yard Burgers for supper, and by gawd I was gonna have my friggin' BYBs! -- we paid a visit to White/Black/Migrant Trash Capitol Of The Entire Southeast U.S. Thaaaaat's right, my good people, we ventured past the big gaudy plastic cow and into the no man's land of Keller's Flea Market! (website: www.ilovefleas.com)

NEW 4) Keller's Flea Market. Yes, I suppose. Seraphim and I looked around -- it's like your average Salwill or Goodvation Army thrift stores: mostly useless crap, but if you keep looking you'll find some goodies. Ventured past something very heartbreaking and outrageous that made me see red (more on that in a second), and into the antique section - a really good part of the complex, where I found an old early '70s yearbook with some vintage ads I wanted to scan and copy (mostly relating to Savannah broadcast history). Not too bad for a single Lincoln note.

Inside that building they were playing our locally-owned 'eclectic rock' station, WRHQ 105.3 ... and a 'forgotten' Alan Parsons track came on, the marvelous "Breakdown." At the same time I was thumbing through a crate of old LPs. I swear, at the second bar of that song, I came upon a copy of their album I Robot, on which that song appears! (never mind that it so far gone, Franklin Chestnut wouldn't have accepted it for his famous "Turkey" bin -- besides, I already have a copy).

5) Supper at Back Yard Burgers: YES! It truly hit the spot.

Final score: 3 of 5. Or, if you count substuting #4, a nice Trident-esque score of 4 out of 5! Not too bad, considering.

*********

Okay, here's the aforementioned "something very heartbreaking and outrageous that made me see red": Something Keller's is now doing is allowing vendors to sell animals. Dogs and cats. There were the sweetest-looking white bulldog puppies ... I mean, so sweet-looking that my dog-loving heart was swooning. People were filing past there, it was noisy, kinda smelly ... basically an environment several notches below your average shopping-mall pet store. And those break my heart as it is.

I was so tempted to stop and give some lovin' to those dogs. Fortunately, I thought the better and - paraphrasing Bacharach/David - "walked on by."

Who would buy a dog at a f(BLEEP)king flea market??!!??!! That's not a decision made on the spur of the moment, like buying a 35 year old school yearbook or a decrepit Alan Parsons LP. And what kind of background do those poor animals have? Most, I highly imagine, come from puppy mills. Breeders who have no professional ethics, no love for animals except as a means to an end.

Y'know, there is a need for an organization like PETA. Operative word: "like." Those idiots need to stop with the harrassment of good people who happen to enjoy a supper out at Kentucky Fried Chicken, and begin devoting time and energy toward picketing and organizing boycotts of known puppy mills and pet store sellers, and instead use their bully pulpit to encourage responsible breeding. Or they should get out of the way and let another group do so.

Adopting a dog or a cat should be done from a responsible (!!!) breeder, who loves and cares for the animals they deal with, or 2) through a humane society animal shelter - including those who occasionally set up shop for a day at PetSmart. Your new best friend should never be procured at a pet store ... and, for God's sake, NEVER at a flea market!!

Those poor dogs. I pray for them. I hope they'll eventually somehow wind up as lucky as our Puddy.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "How Much is That Doggy In The Flea Market Stall?" Gleck

06 January 2006

Five years ago this afternoon...

...I was making a vow before family, friends (Bolivar and Nettiemac included) to love, honor and cherish a woman named Seraphim as long as I shall live, forsaking all others.

And today, on what is our 5th ANNIVERSARY, my feelings of love for Seraphim have only grown. It's hard to describe it. What we have is an unusually perfect bonding of two souls. Two people who sometimes frustrate and annoy the other, but always love, treasure and cherish what we have.

It's a quirky love. It's a content love. It's a comfortable love. It's a love that still puts a big smile on my face in the morning when I wake up and see her face. It's a love I would never think of putting at risk. Simply put, I'd sooner destroy my vintage radio, video and music collections than intentionally put any hurt on my Seraphim.

If Seraphim were a postage stamp, she'd be that famous upside-down airplane -- one of a kind, irreplacable if lost or destroyed.

Sick to your stomach yet? Good.

As we sometimes say to one another, "I love making other people sick with you."

My biggest wish and prayer as we're entering a new year is that both Bolivar and Nettiemac are able to find their own versions of what Seraphim and I found in each other. In Bolivar's case, it's not gonna happen anytime soon - but it doesn't stop me from wishing.

Happy anniversary, Seraphim. I love you. You're the best, and deep inside you know it.

XXXXXXXXX

--Talmadge "Seraphim's Hubban'" Gleck

03 January 2006

The following program was splattered in living colors...

Several years back, I used to host a weekly classic rock show on a little station in southeast Alabama. One occasional feature I enjoyed doing was something called The Jukebox From Hades. I'd play a really bad record -- ranging from the usual suspects "You Light Up My Life", "Feelings" and "Playground in My Mind", to obscurities like "My Pal Foot-Foot" and "What Do You Get a Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)"

But is there a video counterpart? A TV Schedule From Hades?

You betcha.

And I just finished watching 58 minutes of it this evening. In a batch of video tapes I received in a trade was an abomination called Pink Lady and Jeff. I'd heard of it, how it was a (mercifully) short-lived variety show on the wasteland that was NBC's 1980 schedule, that Pink Lady -- a Japanese duo with as much grasp of the Queen's English as your average convenience store clerk -- actually had a pop single called "Kiss in the Dark" squeak into the Billboard top 40 (#37, to be exact). Heard it a time or two on the radio. Both times it made me crave the musical substance of Kenny Rogers. Or Kermit the Frog.

Okay, one very minor single. A couple of weeks getting a brief nod from Casey Kasem (who, I might add, voiced all NBC promos during this period). And they got their own bloody TV program out of the bargain!

Who's Jeff, you ask? Glad you did. "Jeff" was Jeff Altman, a comedian who acted as something of a translator and straight-guy. He had his moments, but overall he made Bob Saget look like Jack Benny!

Oh, and there was a supporting player by the name of Jim Varney. A few years later, he'd pair up with a guy named Vern. We know how his career ended up, knowhutimean?

After an intro by Jeff, we see Mei and Kei come onstage wearing these gaudy kimonos. Then the music kicked up. Off went the kimonos. Our Tokyo goddesses then lit into a jaw-dropping lobotomy of "Boogie Wonderland."

No, that wasn't the pollution Indian from the PSA. That was Maurice White shedding a tear.

But wait, there's more. "You've Got a Friend" is also torn to fine molecular fiber. Boy, with 'friends' like that, who needs an ex-wife......

And, years before Bill "Spooge King" Clinton tarnished the song, Pink Lady gave a musical case of pinkeye to Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop."

The rest of the show was your typical Fred Silverman TV variety hour. Remember Tony Orlando & Dawn's variety show? The Brady Bunch Hour? Donnie & Marie? The Bobbie Gentry Happiness Hour? The Hudson Brothers Variety Hour? PL&J was such a low mark in an already shallow genre pool that I dare say the show was bordering on self-parody.

But no, Fred Silverman really had a thing for these smarmy TV variety shows, and in 1980 he was president of NBC. Remember, he's the guy who thought David Letterman deserved his own talk show. And he gave him one. In a WEEKDAY MORNING timeslot!

Did I mention how NBC was a terribly distant third place in 1980? Well, I just did. This was the network -- and president -- who unleashed upon us such TV classics as Manimal and Supertrain. This is why stations like Atlanta's WSB-TV 2 dropped NBC - a network they were involved with from day one - and got hitched to ABC.

The program's finale involved Mei and Kei coaxing Jeff into a hot tub. The show faded to credits as the girls were each giving Jeff a good massage.

Hmmmmm, maybe THAT'S why the guy consented to do the show.

But the hot tub bit reminded me more of Eddie Murphy's immortal 1983 sketch on SNL called James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub ("gonna GIT ... in da HOT TUB!!! OW!! TOO HOT!!")

Pink Lady and Jeff. That's 58 minutes I'll never get back!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Goodnight, Everybody!!" Gleck

01 January 2006

When ego trumps reason

Good morning, dearfolk, and HAPPY 2006 to one and all.

I rang in 2006 the same way I've ushered in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 before it: something Seraphim and I call "The Two Year Kiss." Unlike most, we don't wait 'till the new year officially begins before doing the traditional kiss. No, siree. Our kiss begins at about 11:59:55, and lasts 'till roughly 12:00:05. One kiss, two years.

The two of us closed 2005 on the edge of health. Seraphim caught bronchitis just before Christmas, and -- because sharing is good in a marriage -- gave it to me. We stopped hacking long enough to smooch in '06.

As bad as my voice is right now, it's nowhere near as terrible as the way Dick Clark is sounding. After his stroke in 2004 forced him to miss the 2004/2005 New Year's Rockin' Eve, The World's Oldest Living Teenager (a rather creepy nickname these days) sounded ... well, creepy.

I know how a stroke can damage a person's speaking; my grandfather had two strokes late in 1989, and I never heard him speak another coherent sentence again (he lived another decade, mostly as a vegetable). Hearing DICK CLARK in this state really bugged me. An iconic voice, recognizable to most all of us over 30, was now talking as if he were either high or retarded.

It makes me wonder what my son would think if he were to have turned on the TV and saw this doddering old man. People his age have no idea who Dick Clark is. The kid would probably be laughing at this funny-sounding geezer.

One vital tool of my job is the larnyx. If something happened to me which rendered my voice slurred, uneven and difficult to understand, I would not want to be on the radio anymore. Even if I were to somehow be elevated to superstardom, my voice recognized by virtually everyone of alcohol-buying age, I would rather disappear from the air, people wondering what happened and lamenting, "Flag Day Muzakin' Eve is not the same without ol' Talmadge"

To return to the air after such a tragic episode can only be explained by a gigantic ego. And Dick Clark indeed has a super-sized one of those. It's grown bigger than the prestige earned through his work in advancing rock 'n' roll music. In spite of it, though, I've always liked hearing Dick's voice at the changing of years.

That voice, he above all others must understand, is no more.

Count me as one who is profoundly sad. This year, Dick Clark became an unfortunate parody of himself. Neil Young spoke some wise words when he said "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "So long!" Gleck