31 December 2007

End-of-the-year Moi-Moi

Best Album: Tie - Memory Almost Full by Paul McCartney and Raising Sand from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Macca bounces back and Robert Plant delivers the surprise of a decade, if not millennium.

Best Non-Fiction: Something I'm reading right now, in fact ... Bob Sullivan's book Gotcha Capitalism. Very eye-opening. Also very depressing as hell. Does your butt hurt? We should; we get done doggie-style by American businesses each day.

Best TV Series: Seraphim watches 95% of the television in this household. About the only things I watch are Letterman, Family Guy and Robot Chicken.

Best Fiction: Haven't read a piece of fiction in many moons.

Best Kids’ Music: I try to avoid it as much as possible. I damn near rejoiced the day my son decided he'd outgrown "Radio Disney."

Best Movie: One we saw recently, in fact: Waitress. Honk your car's horn multiple times if you agree.

Best Sign of the Apocalypse: That we have a halfway good chance of another Clinton in the White House.

Best Comeback of the Year: "Cable is faster than DSL ... so what? A Corvette is faster than a Camry, but what good is a Corvette when it's in the shop half the time??!!" -- said to the Comcast representative as I was preparing to drop 'em and go with DSL.

Best Old TV show you are just getting into: My wife (who watches the $$ we pay for Dish Network) is the only reason we even have such television. Me, I'd have gone straight "OTA" (Over The Air) when we dropped Comcast in February. She can like it for me; personally I think cable/satellite is the biggest ripoff in this country today. $70 a month, and 90-95% of it is the same donkey vomit .... very little, if any, classic TV anymore, and reality shows and infomercials out all of our body orifices.

Best grocery store: Our local Kroger, I suppose.

Best (Summer) Vacation: We don't do Summer, we instead do Winter. Looking very forward to West Virginia in February.

Proudest Accomplishments this year: Braving, and ultimately conquering a gripping fear of the dentist chair.

Goals for Next Year: Realistic, or "yeah, right!"? Weight is still static -- at least I haven't gained any. To start seriously walking ... can I do this? We both bombed the Y experiment for a multitude of reasons. More realistic goal: for Seraphim and I to make it to March of this year, when we can celebrate TEN YEARS together.

Most Exciting Sports Moment of the Year: Is that guy still in the Wide World of Sports opening? You know, that skier wiping out as the announcer says "...and the agony of defeat!"

Saddest moment of the year: I'd have to say the recent death of Ginger.

Happiest moment of the year: Driving down New River Gorge, and, with Seraphim at my side, looking upward toward the "new" bridge while standing on the "old" one. Either that, or else standing with my wife at the Hawk's Nest Overlook about 40 miles away, looking at some profoundly beautiful mountain scenery.

26 December 2007

CHRISTMAS 2007: Fah-ra-ra-ra-RAH!

Or, in the vernacular of another blogger:
Hampton Inn, 9:35 p.m. My Cookie's Fortune, Let Me Read You It.

Saturday, I took Seraphim over to meet her parents at the Cracker Barrel in Dublin, Ga. She was going back over there with 'em until I would join the rest of the clan later on Christmas Eve. First, I had to work (although a short day) on Monday. Plus, I needed to get caught up on some stuff, and get the house spiffy'ed up for the arrival of Tiger, and our nephew Boogie.

So. It all started Christmas Eve afternoon, when, after getting off of work (not to be confused with "getting off ON work"), I started toward the wilds of Albany, Georgia (pronounced "all-BINNY jaw-juh"). Most folks pronounce this city's name the way it's said in New York. But the "old timers" put the accent on the last syllable, calling it "all-BINNY" ... I like it, for some twisted reason, and will catch myself calling it that from time to time. But of course, I have another name for the city: Pine Bluff, Georgia. Trust me, if you've been to that Arkansas "city", you know what I mean. Let's just say that we can easily feel like grains of salt in a big-ass pile of pepper, and leave it at that.

The in-laws, however, live outside The 'Binny in a place called Putney. It's a tranquil aggregation of two convenience stores, a liquor store and a Subway along US-19. And one of the neighborhoods off of said 19 includes the dwelling where my wife's parents live (and my SIL with her two kids, since they're friggin' HOMELESS ..... but that's another rant).

ANYhoo, since the house is, ummmm, more than a bit full, and bedding arragements maxed out (room - barely - for one of us, but not both), we booked a room at the Hampton Inn for the 24th. And seeing as how we had enough Hilton Honors points for a free room, we paid a grand total of $.00 for the privilege.

Seraphim had already checked into the room when I got there, and we then had a dilemma on our hands. It's after 6:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Actually, it was after 9 PM. Most all eatin' places were already locked down for the holiday. Even Steak 'n' Shake. I had the mistaken assumption that Albany had a specimen of the restaurant species Alwaysopennus Dennybus. Nope, no Denny's. Ass out of me. Not Seraphim. I'll take the hit.

The only place open for dining at 9:15 p.m. appeared to be the Krystal drive-thru. Go ahead and give me the whole golldurned pack of "Rolaids" just for the idea. What's more, the line of cars was spilling out onto the street. Seriously.

We continued along Dawson Road, and by now I was settling for a suppertime fate of uncooked brown & serve rolls from the next open convenience store we saw.

But then my wife looked toward a strip center we were passing, and she made a profound observation: "Great Wall of China is open!" Suddenly, a meal of cashew chicken and steamed white rice entered my head. And Seraphim was now jonesin' for some mixed veggies. Yes! Chinese food on Christmas Eve!

As I turned into the parking lot, I recalled that scene from A Christmas Story .... the one in the Chinese restaurant. "Fah-ra-ra-ra-raaaah!"

Thankfully, it wasn't all that crowded. Just two folks ahead of us, waiting for their orders. We placed ours, and in the usual tee-mee-net, we had our vittles and were on our way back to the hotel. Drinks were already covered; my wifely one had a Coke waiting for me in the room fridge.

I ate my steamed rice and cashew chicken (ordered without veggies - just the squab 'n' nuts 'n' sauce, yummm yum!), we had ourselves a Christmas Eve dinner that could NOT be beat, and we went to bed, and didn't get up until the very next morning, when we were paid a visit by Officer Santa.

No, what really happened was we ate our food, and then it came time for the fortune cookie.

Ah yes, the Chinese restaurant fortune cookie. Always full of generic, passe and trite happy-happy Pollyanna fortunes. Oh, and your 'winning' Lotto numbers on the other side of the little slip.

I cracked open my cookie, expecting the above. And I got a pleasant surprise........

Holy crap, I don't think I've ever before had a fortune cookie read my cotton-pickin' mind.

Christmas morning, we were at the in-laws, and after that I went up toward Columbus where I met Whatzername and she "passed the Tiger baton." We met the rest of the crew at "Grandmother's" house (Seraphim's maternal grandmother) ... and, with "Rupert" all loaded up, we started back toward Rincon. Left about 6:50 and, after a mostly rainy trip, got back home just before 11:00.

It was a surreal trip. I was driving, Seraphim was up front, and we had two kids and a dog in the backseat. For nearly four hours, it felt like an alternate reality: that we were a nice, complete, not broken, happy family.

Today we're just hanging out. Tiger is in his room playing the bass part from "Come Together", our nephew Boogie and Aunt Sera are watching something on Toon Disney, and I'm finishing up a blog. This evening will be dinner and a movie. Movie is TBA; we have to see what Movie Gallery has on their shelves.

Tomorrow I'm working, and will meet the rest of 'em for supper at Ci Ci's. Then we'll pair off -- Seraphim will take Boogie to Toys R Us to let him spend his gift card; Tiger and I will head down to Circuit City so he may annihilate his gift card from his uncle, and the other little money gifts he received. My calculations show he'll have a grand total of $185 to spend there. Or $125 to spend elsewhere. He's hankerin' for a new MP3 player. I believe 185 smackers'll do the trick.

It was an interesting Christmas. But dammit to hell and back, I'm glad 12/25 is over with!!!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Chillin" Gleck

20 December 2007

Stand by for BLOG!

It's amazing how a name buried in an otherwise unrelated message-board post can bring so much to my mind's forefront. It's a name and a voice I've known from just about day one of my recollectable childhood.

In spite of pushing 90, he's still going strong. He has an unforgettable style of announcing. His catch-phrases are universally known. He might be infuriatingly right-wing in his political views, however there's no denying his incredible talent of storytelling. And his diction, that broken staccato rhythm ... in 56 (!) years, it's become a recognizable trademark.

In the day, even a large number of top-40 stations carried his broadcasts. One five-minute program in the morning, a 15-minute show at noon, and a five-minute feature, The Rest of the Story, in the afternoon.

Of course I'm talking about Paul Harvey. The 'official' name of his show is Paul Harvey News And Comment, and it's been featured on the ABC Radio Network since 1951. For a time -- late '60s into the '70s -- he also syndicated a five-minute television commentary, as well. That's the first recollection I have of Paul Harvey. The TV module was seen both in Birmingham and in Huntsville following the 6:00 local news.

After we moved to Mississippi, I'd hear Harvey on WTUP/Tupelo. It was always on the radio as Mom took my brother and me to school each morning. What I remember best about Paul Harvey's morning newscast was how he came out of the opening commercial on Fridays: "Good morning, Americans .... it's .... FRIIII-DAAAAAY!!!" I lived to hear that, as an official affirmation that week's end was near, and Donny & Marie were waiting that evening at 7:00.

In 1978, we moved to Cape Girardeau, Mo. And Harvey followed us there, because on their local top-40 (KGMO), Paul Harvey was on the air, complete with his cleverly-disguised commercials, made to resemble real news stories, and partitioned only by his "PAGE TWO!!", "PAGE THREE!!", etc. I remember most of the sponsors well ... Buick ... Banker's White Cross ... True Value Hardware ... the Bose Acoustic Wave Machine ... Allstate Insurance .... I'm sure there were more. And they work, too. Because when I hear "True Value" (as in, hardware), I hear those words in Harvey's voice.

In 1982 we left Missouri for Rot--er, Hot Springs, Ark., where Harvey was carried on KBHS, The Mighty 590. My first radio job.

I think my only breather from Paul Harvey occurred in college. Then, when I entered 'the real world' in the garden spot known as Pine Bluff, Ark., it was heard "four times daily" on KOTN. And I had the honor of running one of said times. 12:06-12:21 p.m. Since I had the midday shift, it gave me 15 minutes to wolf down a sandwich, or whatever I brought for lunch.

There were the "bumper snickers", the "traveling microphone", and of course, "Our 'For What It's Worth' Department...." which always prefaced a funny 'kicker' story, followed by his iconic close: "Paul Harveyyyy ................ good-DAY!!"

And one Fall day in 1989, Paul Harvey caused a 24-year-old Talmadge Gleck to completely lose his composure on the air. He was delivering his FWIW segment (the above intro was always my 'warning cue', should I have been distracted onto something else, edible or otherwise). Harvey was reporting on a doctor who lost his license to practice medicine. The reason? He had his female patients completely disrobe. "Okay", I thought to myself, "What's the big deal? He's a doctor, right?"

Then Paul Harvey laid down the punchline. And it wasn't just that, it way the way he delivered it. "Dr. Smith ... was ... an optometrist-PAUL-harveyyyyyy..." He said it in such a way as to almost minimalize it. But suddenly my mind had the image of a nude woman reading an eye chart, with a horny eye doctor off to the side (the one in Employee of the Month, perhaps? "Are you staring at my breasts?" "I don't know.").

And then came "good-DAY!" He was finished, and I was on. And I began howls of laughter. I couldn't stop, either. I went straight to a promo spot. However, 30 seconds wasn't enough time to regain composure. I could barely get through the weather. I thought I'd made it, but then I looked at the record which I'd cued up .... some 10 minutes earlier.

The record was Jackson Browne's 1972 hit "Doctor My Eyes."

Ahhhh yes, that's my unforgettable memory of Paul Harvey.

In my vast vintage radio vault, I have a copy of a News And Comment program from 1963 which Paul Harvey made from Savannah, Georgia. It's really something to listen to; his voice and delivery haven't changed one iota in 40+ years.

I have another piece of audio in my collection, a fun parody of Paul Harvey's commentary, done by a guy who called himself "Harvey Appalling." He had Harvey's entire style down nicely, even using his catchphrases to devastatingly humorous effect.

And then there's the brilliantly-produced piece of audio put together by someone back at WTBF/Troy, Ala. (which - surprise! - began taking Harvey when they joined ABC in 1999 after the demise of Mutual) . It's a montage of Paul Harvey's catch-phrases, set to a hip-hop beat.

The man is 89 years old. And he's been married to the same woman for more than 60 years, a woman to whom he proposed over their first date. Her real name is Lynne, but he gave her a name on that day, and it's a name he's used to refer to her on-air ever since: Angel.

That's neat. Paul Harvey has an "Angel." And I have a "Seraphim."

Back in May, Harvey announced that his wife was stricken with Leukemia. And his voice broke on-air while saying as much. While I didn't hear this broadcast, it's sobering to imagine this singly distinctive voice crossing the line into emotion. Sure, Arthur Godfrey broke down on-air during the funeral procession of FDR ... but he was Arthur Godfrey. This was the stoic Paul Harvey. A comforting voice of strength and durability.

Yet I could understand it. Paul Harvey loves his wife very much. I gathered as much from how he'd talk about "Angel" while I was at KOTN.

He's 89, and, like the other great voices of radio's greatest days, isn't getting any younger. While I think Paul Harvey is a bit looney with some of his politics, for me it's easy to separate the beliefs from the man. I don't listen to his broadcasts with regularity, but it doesn't mean I won't miss him when he's gone. I have a melancholy feeling that when "Angel" becomes a real one, that Paul won't be far behind. Some marriages are like that. Johnny Cash and June Carter come quickly to mind. I think of Seraphim and I can understand - completely - what that feeling is like.

And now you know ... the rest of the post.

Talmadge Gleck...................ciao-for-NIAO!!

19 December 2007

Route 301: Episode 1


= = = = = = = = =
The town: Allendale, South Carolina. One of many towns bisected by "Old 301", food and lodging meccas along a thriving "short cut to Florida." The passage of the Interstate Highway Act in 1956 spelled eventual downfall for most small burgs like Allendale which soon would become bypassed when the interstate highways were to be finished. Some towns had the fortune of being along the planned routing of these new highways. Alas, the same could not be said for motels and many restaurants in places like Allendale, Bamberg, Sylvania and Glennville. Their days were numbered.

Some towns were cut off as quickly as the late '50s, and began to wither on the vine into the 1960s. Fortunately for 301 (if more inconvenient for travelers who wanted to get to point-B quicker), the completion of I-95 through South Carolina and Georgia was late in coming. Allendale, et al, therefore had a lot more borrowed time, as the last link of 95 wasn't opened until 1978!

Shall we take a nice siesta?
If you were a truck driver, and used 301 as your route to points southward, I'm sure you found the "Interstate Truck Terminal" outside Allendale as an appealing place to have a bite to eat, maybe a refreshing shower, and a tank of Pure "Super Energee" Diesel for your 18-wheeler:
Above is the aptly-named Interstate truck stop, pictured in a 1963 Pure Oil directory. Nowadays, it doesn't look so good:
So, what killed this truck stop? What a profoundly sad irony, eh?

Just like up the road a piece in Santee, the town of Allendale is another "Radiator Springs" overflowing with decaying reminders of an earlier time. It used to have its own Holiday Inn. And the town was home to a certain orange-roofed roadside icon:
In 2006, here's how it looked:
Simple Simon and Pieman have both moved on.

* * * * * * * * *
Now, you might've been passing through Allendale around mealtime, and found yourself captivated by the really cool neon sign outside of this restaurant:
Approved by AAA and recommended by Duncan Hines back in those salad days, the Lobster House provided a good seafood experience as a prelude to what the traveler would find in even greater abundance in Florida.

And today?
The sign, though weatherbeaten, remains. And although it looked to be closed the day we passed through town, the Lobster House appears to still be in operation, if various online references are any indication (including one "motorcycle club" which meets here).
Note to self: find out for sure ... and if The Lobster House is still in business, it would make for a nice day trip and lunch one Saturday. If so, then it'll be worth the drive, because if the food isn't good, it wouldn't be supported by the only remaining clientele base: the LOCALS.

Greetings from the old highway. Having a great time, wish it all were still here.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Retro Wayfarer" Gleck

17 December 2007

1962 A.D., Paradise Restaurant

For the benefit of anyone who might have half a curiosity about the picture I'm currently using for the title graphic, it's the abandoned Paradise Restaurant ... located in south Screven County, Georgia at the intersection of Georgia 17 and U.S. 301. It's one of many, many such empty and decaying relics along what used to be a thriving East coast arterial. And Highway 301, dearfolk, was just as busy and robust as a certain over-commercialized Chicago-to-L.A. corridor we're all familiar with.

Well, here's the above picture (which I took in the Spring of 2006) "in the clear", as we in the radio bidness like to say:
The Paradise is located in a pecan grove (and that's pronounced "PEE-can"), adjacent to a motel which also shares this name. In its prime, both served as an oasis of sorts along 301 between the cities of Sylvania and Statesboro. Evidently, this was the second building to house this eatery. Plenty of old, linen postcards abound on the 'net which show the original structure. I'd been looking in vain for one that showed this building. Lo and behold, I finally found one:
It's postmarked 1962. Okay, so it still had the old sign. Don't you just love that orange and teal color scheme?? And those hanging light fixtures visible through the plate-glass windows.

Yeah, yeah, it's these times when I wish I was 52 instead of 42. To have been able to experience a lot more of real Americana first-hand.

Okay, here's the deal: if Seraphim and I win Powerball, we're gonna buy this place and return it to her beautiful original space-age grandeur. That neon sign out front, by gollydurn, is gonna have every last tube restored, and it will again flash a siren call along US-301's roadside.

All this time, I've been bitching and moaning about the lack of a good artery-constrictin' Friday night fried seafood buffet around here. Well, I'd make one happen.

There might not be as many Florida-bound tourists along this two-lane blacktop, however we'll bring 'em in from Statesboro, Millen, Sylvania, Newington, Springfield, Waynesboro .... if you build it, they will come. I have to know I'm not the only one craving a good Friday night seafood spread.

The Paradise will come back to life. And it will become highly-renowned for its cakes, pastries and other baked goods. I happen to know somebody who tinkers a little with cake-makin' on the side. I share a bed with her.

And, in the event Nettiemac wants to join us, we'll offer The Paradise Tiki Room in the back.

It doesn't hurt to dream. It really doesn't.

"And so, my friends, we'll say goodnight,
for time has claimed his prize,
but tonight can always last,
as long as we keep alive,
the mem'ries of Paradise"
--Dennis DeYoung, Styx

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Recommended by Duncan Hines" Gleck

16 December 2007

Part of the plan?

I sit here, reminiscing about Dan Fogelberg, of all people. Earlier today, he lost his fight with prostate cancer.

Yes, I know the jokes. I've told a few a time or two myself, especially on my old classic rock show back in Alabama, Thursday on the Rocks.

To many, Fogelberg helped personify the 'wimped-out singer/songwriter' idiom during much of the 1980s, thanks to balladeer hits like "Leader of the Band", "Make Love Stay", "Same Old Lang Syne" ("...and we ripped off our clothes in the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee aisle, then proceeded to screw each other silly in front of Toucan Sam...") , and of course, the ever-popular wedding standard "Longer." (which we had sung, nicely, by Nettiemac at the Tal/Sera joining in '01).

But it's not completely fair to throw Fogelberg into the "oatmeal" pile. He could rock out, a lot more often than many give him credit for.

My favorite DF album would have to be his second effort, the Joe Walsh-produced Souvenirs (1974). It was notable for the backup musicianship he used -- Joe Walsh himself (guitars), Graham Nash (harmony vocals), Al Perkins (steel guitar), and damn near every member of The Eagles. It was a fantastic record, and one I still enjoy listening to. "Part of the Plan" was the album's one hit release (and Fogelberg's first top 40 single), and it also contained tracks like the very Eagles-ish "Someone's Been Telling You Stories", "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler", and my favorite - "As the Raven Flies."

I was also somewhat fond of 1978's Twin Sons of Different Mothers, the first of two collaborations with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg. "The Power of Gold" was the single release (peaked at #25), but "Tell Me to My Face" was one for the "rock" column.

Phoenix (1980) was a mixture -- part rock and a creeping hint of his eventual slide into the cream-of-wheat. Ditto for his next effort, 1981's The Innocent Age. Now there's an album full of memories, recalling happy times in latter-day Cape Girardeau.

It was the rock-leaning Fogelberg which got lots of airplay in and around Cape, especially KYMO and the old Q-99. The Q went very deep into The Innocent Age, an album unfairly tarred for the sappy hits (like "Run for the Roses" - ecch!). Dig deeper into that album and you'll hear a great deal of rock.

Y'know, the 1970s were a great time for singer/songwriters. Elton John, Billy Joel and Kenny Loggins -- all were at the top of their game in the '70s, but something happened around the time Ronald Reagan took his oath of office. It's as if all of 'em lost their gonads ... just as what would eventually happen to Dennis (Styx) DeYoung, Lou (Foreigner) Gramm and Kevin (R-E-O Wheelchair) Cronin. '70s = hip, laid-back rock; '80s = sappy AC oatmeal, waitin' for Delilah to enter the room. Again, Fogelberg wasn't as guilty as others .... but he wasn't totally blameless either, I'm afraid.

But what a voice!! In memory of a fallen name from my adolescent musical tapestry, here are 15 of my favorite Dan Fogelberg tracks:

15) "Lessons Learned" (Nether Lands - 1977)
14) "Missing You" (one of two new tracks released in 1982 as part of his 'greatest hits ' package)
13) "Wishing on the Moon" (Phoenix)
12) "Someone's Been Telling You Stories" (Souvenirs)
11) "Once Upon a Time" (Nether Lands)
10) "Empty Cages" (The Innocent Age)
9) "The Last to Know" (Phoenix)
8) "Stolen Moments" (The Innocent Age)
7) "The Innocent Age" (The Innocent Age)
6) "Face the Fire" (Phoenix)
5) "Nexus" (The Innocent Age)
4) "Illinois" (Souvenirs)
3) "Tell Me to My Face" (Twin Sons...)
2) "As the Raven Flies" (Souvenirs)
1) "Tullamore Dew/Phoenix" (Phoenix)

The voice brings a whole lot back for me. A whole lot of good memories.

As trite as it might sound, thanks for the music. Yes, even the sappy songs.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "His Blood Runs Through My MP3 player" Gleck

At last, a little Christmas spirit!

Inspired by hearing "Jingle Bells" for the 45,823,386th time last night at Kroger.....

Dashing down the road,
In a Hummer SUV,
Running traffic lights,
And laughing out with glee.

Yakkin' on the phone,
While combing up her hair,
Countin' down the minutes ‘till
John Tesh goes on the air!


Cellphones all the way,
Marlboro Lights, "Delilah" too,
Another shopping day ....

Clearance sales,
Is it worth the fuss?
Oh the hell, it seems to be,
A Soccer Mom Christmas.

Ciao for niao.

06 December 2007

More Hard Core TV.....

Another lost '90s classic. DVD box set? Please?

Ciao for niao.

--Did we mention it's mostly Tal?

05 December 2007

Damn his eye!

So the awesomest missus-type wifely woman and I were partaking of Chick-Fil-A tonight. As Seraphim was finishing her vittles, I got up to procure myself a refill of Coke. As I was waiting for the lady behind the counter to serve the people ahead of me, I noticed this sweet little kid, in a red sweatshirt. Seven years old, maybe 8. The lady handed him the object of his desire: a vanilla milkshake.

Damn him. Damn him to Bloomingdale and back. Now I had to have one.

I threw my empty Coke cup in the garbage, and waited for my turn to place an order for a Vanilla milkshake (and a small Icedream for Seraphim). CFA's shakes are almost as good as Steak-N-Shake, and only half as good as Byrd Drug, yet miles ahead of Krystal's grotesque, so-called "MilkQuakes."

It was good, and hit the spot as a nice dessert. Although I could've used one last night -- the second part of my "gum therapy" was yesterday afternoon (more on that in a sec), and my mouth was plenty sore after the novacain wore off.

From there it was Home Sweet Rincon bound. Then we noticed the Walgreen's had (finally!) opened yesterday. *sigh* Yeah, I wanted to check the place out, too. But Sera especially did. Besides, we needed a few toiletry-like things anyway.

We both needed deodorant -- that way we wouldn't make folks downwind go into a spasmodic curdle. Check. Dental floss: check. Antihistamine pills: check. CD/R spindle: che---wait, blank recordable media is not a "toiletry" item. Screw it, at $8.99 for a cakebox of 50 Maxell CD/Rs, one went home with Talmadge.

It's a nice Walgreen's, and had that "new drug store smell." I just wish it were open 24 hours, like the one on Savannah's southside. Ours closes at 10 PM. Oh well, I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth; we're lucky to have it.

* * * * * * * * *
Ahhhh, dental adventures yesterday. As I said, I went in for the second half of my "therapy." Jonathan, who was my Tooth Shrink, did a very good and thorough job. Very conversational throughout the whole thing. What's funny is, he apologized for the dentist last week who did the novacain injections -- ref. the aforementioned "two doozies" -- saying the 'dentist on duty' (the wifely side of the couple who own the practice) was much better at injections.

I told Jonathan, "Hell, that guy was million-fold better than 'Dr. Allen' back in Troy, so I can't complain."

As it turned out, there were no surprises with "Dr. Julie." It might've been the most painless novacain application I'd ever received. Well, Jonathan did the planing/scaling, and did a polishing of the tee-fees, and I must say they're the best looking they've been in a long friggin' time. He expressed amazement that my teeth were in such good a shape, given the long period of dental dereliction. Can't bitch.......

What I am going to attempt to do (and it's why I bought floss tonight at Green-Wall's) is improve my brushing and flossing regimen. I'm due for a regular cleaning in March '08.

I still don't like people violating my "mouth space" with various instruments, and I did tell Jonathan that I'll always be a little tense in the chair ... however, after this experience I can say that my fear of dentists has plummeted a good 75% or more.

As for the kid at Chick-Fil-A, I still damn him.

But in a good way.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Drenk Mor Shaiks" Gleck

28 November 2007

Speaking of VALIUM....

Here's a classic from the obscure mid-'90s HBO series Hard Core TV:

I have to credit (?) Bolivar for turning me on to this show .... only a handful of episodes were produced, and of those I have just three. What I loved the most about Hard Core TV was how gags would carry over into subsequent, completely unrelated sketches.

Three words: IT'S A BELT!!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Do not insert in mouth or rectum" Gleck

I'm back from my therapy

This dentist office has another name for root-planing and scaling: GUM THERAPY.

This morning I went in to have said "therapy" performed on part of my mouth. The right side (or 'stage left') had the honors.

I have to say this experience was light-years better than the one I had in '95. For starters, this outfit does way better with the injections. They applied the topical anesthetic, and - get this - actually let it do its job before the needle's turn. I counted six (6) shots in all. Two of 'em were doozies, though. Oh well, as much as I hate two (2) painful pokes, it sure the hell beats 12.

The assistant who jockeyed the "gum therapy" was the same one who did the x-rays about three months back. Very good way about him ... was very conversational as he was doing his stuff, and -- most importantly -- was not condescending at all.

I go in again next Tuesday (12/04) for Therapy, Part Deux. I don't think I'm going to be as anxious about this one, as I know what to expect. Key word = "as." I still don't like dental chairs or having needles in my mouth. I do know it sure beats the hell out of Summer '95, following my first root-pla--er, "gum therapy", when I was in a state of near purple panic prior to the second visit.

Next week's appointment is in the afternoon, and I'll be able to drive myself. I don't think I'll need the Valium.

By the way, that pill might've taken the "edge" off of my anxiety, yet otherwise it didn't do jack-diddly. I popped one at 740 this morning, and here it is 11 AM. I feel my own charmin' psychotic self.

As for now, the right side of my mouth is still numb, and I know that later this afternoon that area will be hurting like a maternal fornicator.

All in the pursuit of cleaner teeth.

"Colgate's flouride M-F-P / Helps prevent the cavities ...." (I've forgotten how the rest of that old jingle went; "Captain Kangaroo" was a long damn time ago)

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "No food for me right now, thanks" Gleck

27 November 2007

V is for Valium, that's good enough for me.

I'm really excited, you know that? Tomorrow I'm going to be visiting the dentist and having the holy bejeezuz crap scraped off of my teeth. The dentist is my friend. Did you know that Frankie Valli's voice sounds like Lou Rawls'? And you should give "Revolution #9" a second listen, it really epitomizes the Great American Songbook. I'm in love with one of The Shaggs. Dorothy. *sighhhh* Seraphim looks nice and luscious, like a big-ass SweetTart. Green, of course. I'd eat her alive, but I'd have to floss. Why is my printer moving? I think Sinead O'Connor's hair looks very ravishing in cornrows. Seraphim cooked us some lasagna. Good stuff. I'm craving Taco Bell and a Pepsi. What's the big deal, anyway? They're just @#$%ing ROAD SIGNS!! Bert is the gay one, but Ernie has a thing for rubber duckies. Grover is bisexual. Sesame Street is brought to you by the letters 9, %, ¢ ... and by the number E. Big Bird looks like a giant, deranged Barney covered in yellow paint. Baby Bop looks tasty. Why is that man on fire? I wouldn't be shaking hands with him if I were you. I see visions of Goons, Paper Clips and ex-wives in filthy pigstys dancing before my dilated eyes. Isn't that Dick Cheney I see in my living room, and why does my face feel numb all of a sudden? I'm pickin' And I'm a grinnin' I searched the world over and thought I found true love. You met another, and turned on the bubble machine. Wunnerful. Geritol tastes like Dr. Pepper. I love chocolate Ex-Lax. So much that I ate the entire box. I want to work for Clear Channel. Lee Harvey Oswald killed Jimmy Carter. And what about Naomi?

When are these drugs gonna take effect?

Go Trojans!!

--Syd Barrett

26 November 2007

Bite me. Then again, maybe not.....

Wednesday morning is coming up fast. A little too quickly, if you wanna know the truth.

That is when I have an appointment -- no, a rendezvous from hell -- with the dental chair.

August 30 of this year marked the first time I darkened the door of a dentist's office in more than 10 years. Okay, 12. From 1995 until 2007. That's a long damned time to go without any kind of formal maintenance of the ol' tee-fees.

A little background: since I finished my course of orthodontia (I had braces from October 1978 through June 1980), I had no further appointments with a dentist. I don't know why. Okay, yes I do. It's 50% my mother not taking any kind of initiative to get me there (for part of that time, I was a teenager and still, ummmm, a dependent). And 50% MY not taking the initiative upon such a time as I was able to make appointments of my own volition.

Fast-forward to 1990. I moved to Troy, Alabama, and had the much-ballyhooed 'reunion' with my grandmother. And when Gran Lera found out that I hadn't been to a dentist since 1981 .....

The woman, feisty and ornery lady she, supposedly lit into my mother like neon on an old motel sign. And then she turned to me ... and, with the persuasion of a cattle prod against black angus bottom, told me in no uncertain terms that I was to make an appointment with a dentist five minutes ago.

Yes, ma'am.

So which dentist would have the honor? My options were limited. The dental plan (using the term loosely) which Troy State offered at the time was very convoluted, and had no provisions for "PPO", "in-network" or other such tedium. Basically, your DDS and DMD folk didn't wish to deal with Blue Cross' dental plans. Which left one to write a check for the entire procedure, and then file ones' own papers with the insurer. 6-8 weeks later, one would get a check .... often for far less than what one might've hoped.

Except for one. This one dentist, who'd practiced in Troy for eons (he still had his office in a very dated and dank '50s-era hole-in-the-wall on North Three Notch), filed BCBS for their patients and would balance-bill for the remainder. Just one. So I had little choice in the matter.

That first visit was a cleaning. Not too bad, although it was a bit rough .... this dentist made John Wayne look like John Ritter. Remarkably, I had just one (1) cavity after nearly a decade's worth of neglect. However, his chairside manner -- or lack thereof -- kept me away from the chair for several more years.

I managed to keep my stalling under Gran Lera's radar, but then she died in 1992. Off the hook! Yeah, right. I began having a small toothache along about early Summer 1995.

Then, as before, only one dentist was "affordable." So back to "Dr. Allen" I went. After getting "The Royal Bitching-Out", he performed a filling on the recalcitrant molar.

But wait, there's more.

I needed another cleaning. But this time it was worse. I had to have what's called a "root planing and scaling." Google it, if you wish, but for this session we'll call it "The Cleaning From Hades." It would be done in two (2) separate sessions -- two quadrants per sitting.

And in July 1995 I went in for Part One. I wasn't all that anxious -- just a bit, ohhhhh, nervous. Well, I hoped that I might have a little 'sedation' for this (cue up The Ramones!). Oh noooo, Dr. Allen don't do no steenkin' nitrous. "You're grown, you don't need nitrous," he said, with all the warmth of both my mother and my ex-wife.

The next ~20 minutes of my life following his flippant remarks echo to this day. This is when my mouth received more novacain shots than should be humanely possible! Ohhhh, he was a 'painless' dentist, all right. He sprayed a topical anesthetic in the area where his big-ass needle was fixin' to take its plunge. But did he wait for its effects to begin? Nope, he started poking nearly immediately after he sprayed.

Lather, rinse, repeat. 12 times. 12 doggie-style butt-@#$%ing times.

Did it hurt? Did the severely dented chair handles answer his question? Nope -- his next words were classic. "Aw come on, that doesn't hurt."

After I was uncomfortably numb, the worst was over. The sore teeth after the novacain wore off was kind of anticlimactic. But nothing compared to what was still hanging over me: PART TWO. Quadrants three and four. Or is that two and four? One and Three? (like some bass-ackward two-LP albums)

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. 12 more times. Hell, I think Dr. Allen might've given me a Dentist's dozen.

And that, friends, takes us to 2007. Is it any wonder that, given the choice, I'd rather stand outside in a summer thunderstorm in Orlando, Florida instead of seeing another dentist? (yes, lightning is a phobia of mine - didn't used to be, but then came two occasions when I've been indirectly struck. Long stories, I'll tell on request. But I suspect lightning pales when compared to dentistry.)

Incredibly enough, my teeth have held together fairly well, considering. But this past Summer I began experiencing sensitivity on a couple of back molars, one of which also gave some intermittent light pain. I sucked it in, and made an appointment for an x-ray and 'checkup.' They did the x-rays, and while the damage isn't as bad as I feared (one cavity, one cracked tooth and one 'leaky filling' -- requiring one filling and two crowns. Uh-uh. One filling, one crown and one extraction. I'll be golldurned if I'm gonna crown a back-most molar. Pull the fucker yesterday!).

Anyhoo, I'm looking at a little bit of dental work. But 12 years' worth of neglect has built up a lot of gunk, tartar, calculus, trigonometry, and remedial math on my teeth.

That's right, gang, another Root Planing. Two visits, two quadrants. And part one is Wednesday morning.

Now, this dentist has nitrous as an option. Trouble is, insurance doesn't cover it. And the gas carries a stiff price tag: 100 sugarless smackers. The dentist (whom I don't think I'm that crazy about, either; the assistant who did the x-rays, on the other hand, I liked. Very good and calm demeanor about him.) Anyway, the dentist wrote me an Rx for a handful of Valium®. Take one (1) pill before bedtime the night before, and one (1) pill in the morning. One (1) pill to make me larger, and one (1) pill to make me small. But the one (1) pill that Seraphim gave me doesn't do anything at all.

Why does that dentist look ten feet tall?

Whooookay, so here I am, armed with Valium®. I've never taken the stuff (although I'm sure a few people probably think that I could use it regularly), so I'm a little uneasy about whether this will take the edge off me.

As I said to the assistant back in August, as I regaled him with the tale of Dr. Allen, he is the poster child of why so many people have a phobia about dentistry.

I know I do.

Go figure -- I can go to the doctor and get poked and prodded for blood work, and it doesn't faze me in the least. Poke me in the elbow. Poke me in the finger. Hellfire and damnation, poke me in my pimpled white ass. But the idea of multiple injections in my mouthparts turns me whiter than my former boss in Troy when I turned in my resignation. I can barely take one novacain shot. Maybe two. But I'm not ready for six (as they told me it'd take).

Alas, it has to be done. My teeth aren't gonna get any better by abstaining any further. And just because I'm from Alabama does not mean I want to contribute to the corporate balance sheet of Poli-Grip, Inc.

Then again, the idea of dentures looks awfully good along about now.

Well, shit. I'll be glad when this is over with.

Ciao for niao.

--Ol' Gingivitis Gleck

19 November 2007

The apocalypse will not be televised....

Move over, Golden Throats and Ford Stereo For the '80s ... may I present Frank's Vinyl Museum: The Internet Home of Weird Records!

Would you go disco dancing with cereal monsters? Or listen to Ethel Merman singing her greatest hits in a disco setting? How about The Brady Kids covering The Beatles?

But that's just the cream of the crop. Dig deeper, and you'll see two dreaded words come together:

You haven't lived until you hear "Beer Barrel Polka" scored to a disco beat.

Listen, and (ahem) enjoy.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Part of a Good Nutritious Breakfast" Gleck

18 November 2007

A drive-by post (literally).

I was going through some pictures, and came upon one I'd forgotten about. It was taken in Cape Girardeau during my quick dash there and back a year and a half ago........

It's the only time I've ever seen European-style 7s on a road sign! I looked very closely to see if somebody might've added 'em after the fact. Nope, they look as if Missouri's DOT installed them like this.

What's more, there were two other 177 shields along this street which also had crossed-7 numerals.

Well, I found it neat. But that's to be expected, right? :-)

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Dot your 'i's and Cross your '7's" Gleck

14 November 2007

Nightmare in Studio 54

And then there was Ford tape #5. It's an RCA sampler, dated 1980, apparently before Big Corporate Interests acknowledged that, yes, contemporary music was here to stay and wouldn't be going away any time soon.

WARNING: I highly recommend giving any recently-eaten meal ample time for digestion before reading any further. I'm not responsible for any gastric discomfort on a full stomach.

This is so off-the-chart horrible that it should be repackaged by RHINO for a cousin to its Golden Throats anthologies.


PROGRAM ONE: (man, talk about retro!)
NARRATION -- INTRODUCTION (this will be going to MP3 shortly and distributed to the "inner circle" via standard e-mail)


In 1977, Dolly had two of the biggest hits on the country chart.

Read that again. Slowly.

Ahem, no chart action here ... just spare change filler from her 1978 Heartbreaker LP.

ELEANOR RIGBY / Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops Orchestra

It was not about the music. It was about the models on the album covers, and nothing else. Any conductor who would wear a "U.S. Olympic Drinking Team" sweatshirt on an album cover should be expected to do the unexpected. He victimized every artist out there, and even The Beatles had to take their lumps, too.

GREASE / Living Disco
This was the first I'd ever heard of Living Disco. RCA gave us the sound that killed a million cats when they unveiled The Living Strings ... there was also The Living Guitars ... The Living Voices ... and, I guess, Living Disco. Grease is still the word. This is the version I'm sure Principal McGee would've preferred playing in the hallowed halls of Rydell High.

WHAT I FEEL IS YOU / Dave & Sugar
The door is always open ... just hit 'eject' and put in that Styx cassette instead. "What I Feel" was yet another filler cut from what no doubt was a filler LP. From the cut-out bin to your cassette player.

MUSIC BOX DANCER / The Living Strings Plus Two Pianos
As if Frank Mills' original wasn't MOR enough. Oh yeah, that's right -- Mills recorded for POLYDOR, and this was an RCA collection. Best of all, they added two pie-nanners to all the lushness. Bless their 81-key hearts.

By now you're probably wondering, "If this is RCA, then where in bleedin' hay-dees is the Floyd Cramer??" Uh-uh-uh-UH, Nipper -- don't touch that Victrola! We're not halfway through this tape yet.

TRAGEDY / Living Disco
No comment.

SO no comment.

AMAZING GRACE / Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Poops
It's better when played on an E-flat Drano can, a/k/a Your basic set of bagpipes. Or if sung with passion and soul by Rod Stewart (Every Picture Tells a Story, 1971)

UNCLE ALBERT/ADMIRAL HALSEY / Hugo Montenegro & His Orchestra
"We're so sorry", indeed.


ROSSINI: WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE / Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Flops
Classical music for people not cultured enough to appreciate real classical music.

One for the youngsters. Odyssey was a black disco act best-known for their one-hit wonder "Native New Yorker." This song? More filler, sucker. Go buy the album.

MORNING HAS BROKEN / The Living Strings Plus Two Pianos
We're sorry, but morning has broken. Therefore, we're substituting afternoon. Hopefully we'll have it fixed by dawn tomorrow.

BOREL-CLERC: LA SORELLA MARCH / Arthur Treacher & The Boston Pisces
More dumbed-down classical. Longhair music with a "Toni" home perm.

What part of "RCA compilation" didn't you get?? Yup, here's Mr. Last Date himself, interpreting a page from the Rod McKuen book of poetry (and I hope that new roof started leaking very quickly!).

ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL / Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass
Yeah, boy. Brass, and, since this is "Nashville", we gotta throw in a banjo or two for credibility. Crank this up in your F-150 and go yee-haw.

Why are the farm animals getting so nervous all of a sudden?

SEND IN THE CLOWNS / The Living Strings

"Send in the cats" -- second violin on the fourth row needs another D-string.

DO YOU WANNA MAKE LOVE / Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius
Out of all the lightweight '70s pop, I would never have expected this one-hit wonder by Peter McCann to be performed in a C&W setting. (Jim Ed Brown, incidentally, hailed from Pine Bluff, Ark, and his family group The Browns started their career at KCLA radio. Talmadge Gleck also started his adult career working at KCLA. Co-winky-dink? Probably not.)

And yes, the song was terrible. I think I'd rather "just fool around"; there's not an Arby's in sight.

I WILL SURVIVE / Living Disco
My vote for best cover of this Gloria Gaynor disco classic goes to the band Cake.

And that's it. If anyone's interested, e-mail me and I'll see what I can do.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Living Blogger" Gleck

Ford has a better musical idea

Just when you thought I'd forgotten about my incredible cassetterriffic find last Saturday at the Salvation Army in Bluffton....

There were many Ford "Demonstration Tapes" produced throughout the '80s and into the '90s, most of them 'samplers' put out by the big record label groups, usually part of their 'special products' line. There were even such compilations on 8-track for those leisure-suit'ed souls to shove into that big hole in the dash while driving their new '75 Galaxie Country Squire, faux-woodgrain side panels and all, off the lot.

Five such tapes went home with moi. In addition to the first tape which caught my eye ("Stereo for the '80s" -- which deserves a separate post, just you wait!), there were some later-day compilations. Three of 'em are ARISTA samplers. A 1991-era tape reads like a who's-who of Adult Contemporary oatmeal. Taylor Dayne, Hall & Oates, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, and -- "one of these things is not like the other" -- a 1982 Alan Parsons album cut from Eye in the Sky ("Mammagamma").

All of those later-day tape compilations, including the ca. 1985 tape my grandmother had, were on LORAN cassettes. The tape stock wasn't anything to write home about, but Loran's selling point was its "Lexan Thermoplastic" tape housing, supposedly more resistant to extreme hot temperatures in a car.

But -- as always -- I digress. Another of the ARISTA collections, this from 1990, contained Kenny G's "Going Home" (which brought back my own days playing Pine Bluff's midday answer to John Tesh on KOTN) .... plus Lisa Stansfield's "You Can't Deny It." And, in case you can't get enough of Kenny G's house-rockin' saxophone (Delilah and her steely-dan live for it, I'm certain), there's another track: "I'll Never Leave You." That's what I was afraid of.

That tape was from Ford Electronics: Technology With a Purpose. Ya don't say. If there's anything I cannot stand, it's technology without any kind of rationale behind it. On the spine, it reads "Music System Reference Standard." Yeah, sure. Look, people, it wasn't a high-end Nakamichi or Alpine deck you were listening on, it was a stock Ford OEM factory receiver. Stick it there, and listen to the lo-fi sound while running down the battery in your Tempo as you're on the side of the interstate waiting ... patiently ... patiently? ... for AAA. Seriously, Ford could've put their demo tapes on 3-for-99¢ "Concertapes", and the average Joe Schmo listening on his sputtering '91 Tore-Ups--um, Taurus would be none the wiser.

Back to the point at hand, here's another ARISTA tape, circa 1988. This was the kind of eclectic mix I remember from my grandmother's tape. "Back to the Future" by The Outatime Orchestra. And remember the '88 olympics and Twitney Houston's "One Moment in Time"? I wish I could still forget. Well, it's on here. Also, more Kenny G (I'll pause while the soccer-moms all faint and swoon behind the wheels of their minivans -- Ford Aerostars, of course). Other curios: "Jamaica, Jamaica" by Special EFX ... "In the Mood" by The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra/Erich Kunzel (sorry, no chickens) ... Satchmo's "What a Wonderful World" ... and, for the youngsters on our rrrrrrrreally big shew, Swing Out Sister's 1987 fluff-pop hit "Breakout."

Had enough of ARISTA? Me, too. I'll close this post with the lineup from a 1987 Ford demo tape from CBS Special Products.

SOMEWHERE / Barbra Streisand
...is that tow truck. I've counted the number of button-copy reflectors in that big green sign in front of me. Twice.
....thanks to being witnessed by Brother Love. Hal-lay-lew-ah.
Can't go wrong with Tony.
That's what the Tempo kept asking me in 1993, when I was car shopping.
A reliable Tempo? Or in a false sense of security that the jackbooted IRS thugs won't find him?
A true 1984 adult contemporary flashback!

FOREVER / Kenny Loggins
That was Jim Messina's answer when Kenny asked how long he'd keep Kenny's balls?
OH SHERRIE / Steve Perry
No, this does not have baggage. You-know-who d-e-t-e-s-t-e-d this song. All it took to make the woman apoplectic was to say, "Y'shoulda been gooooone!"
VOICES CARRY / Til Tuesday
I've always loved this song. A great '80s piece of power pop.
In an '88 Taurus, broken down on the side of a lonely country road, just think of how much "courtship" can take place. Horsey sauce, anyone?
Thursday night already? Damn, that tow truck is takin' forever......
Ford Audio Systems. The official punch-line of the 1988 Olympics.

Comin' up ... a long distance dedication from Harvey, in a stalled Mercury Topaz outside of Inez, Kentucky, to Reuben at Wildcat Texaco in Paintsville ... "put down that ALE-8-1 and come give me a tow!"

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Tempo Tapeworm" Gleck

11 November 2007

Introducing ... The Blogger With Prestige

Our visit yesterday "north of the river" reminded the missus and me of all the pretentious growth that's taken root in the lowest-of-the-lowcountry.

The stretch of US-278 between I-95 and Hilton Head Island is fast becoming a monument to upper-crust retirement exhibitionism. Golfing communities. Planned cities (such as Tradition, South Carolina -- supposedly an actual town). Uppity gated neighborhoods.

And most of them, like the sheep they are, have the same kind of naming scheme:

The Links At Fox Hunt Crossing
The Shoppes At Deer Run Cove
The Mansions At Plutocracy Pointe

The Slums (Slummes?) At Ghetto Chase Ridge

Seraphim and I have a name for those kind of places: THE-ATs.

Frankly, I'm jealous. And it got me to thinking. What's stopping a couple of middle-class schmucks from doing the same thing??!!

So, in light of this epiphany, I bring you:

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a tee-time at 1:30 a.m. Don't laugh; it was all I could afford.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge Gleckke, Esq.

10 November 2007

Talmadge's Thrifty Treasure Trawl - Two

Ahhhhh, Saturday. What to do?

Easy. Seraphim and I made a sojourn across the river to Hardeeville to get Kitt's oil changed (the dealer does the first one free). Hard to believe it's already been nearly 4,000 miles we've traveled in her ... no, wait. That's about normal. We put lots of miles on our two carriages.

Well, after Kitt's crankcase enema, we took advantage of our proximity to Bluffton's Golden Corral -- far better than the mediocre GC we have in Savannah. There's rumor of Rincon getting one. We can only hope. Now, if only we can get a @#$%ing IHOP in our neighborhood. Please?

And after a most satisfying lunch, the two of us made a little side trip to the Salvation Army thrift store just down 278 from the 'Corral. Not much to speak of here, except for some curios I found in a cassette rack. For one:
It spoke to me. And I heard its voice. It said "Taaaaaaalmadge. Saaaaave me. Rescue me from this salvatory purgatory."

I looked further. And I found a total of five (5) such Ford cassette (pronounce: CASS-ette) tapes.
You remember cassettes ... don't you? They were about the size of your average iPod, except for being analog, storing far less amounts of music, and its uncanny ability to occasionally puke brown ribbons of retarded silly string whenever they got sick.

Somebody from the area (could it have been that goat from the O.C. Welch commercials?) dropped off these "demonstration" tapes at the Salvation Army. And I decided, at the price of 25 cents per each, they were all going home with Talmadge. (PS to Bolivar: "That one's going home with Franklin!")

Ford included these tapes with all new cars which had cassette decks installed. I remember one which Gran Lera had in her '86 Crown Vic station wagon (a/k/a "The Q.E. II"). Evidently other automakers did the same thing. Seraphim told me one came with her Hyundai Excel years ago. What I remember about the one GL had was that it contained samples of everything from classical to hard rock.

So, what about the cassette-equipped Ford head units? You know, the contraption containing the rectangular orifice into which you inserted the tape.........

Above is Ford's basic stereo radio/cassette deck, circa 1984-1992. A/K/A "KICKIN' SOUND SYSTEM!" And, having experienced this very model on a couple of different occasions, I can tell you that were you to have pulled it out and replaced it with the cheapest aftermarket unit you could find (rhymes with "Craig"), you'd be making a dramatic improvement in your sound experience.

And the frequency display on Mom's '86 T-bird and Dad's '87 Bronco -- both with the same type of factory unit seen above -- eventually burned out!

"So what station are we listenin' to again, Bubba?"

"I dunno. Our luck, it's that commie NPR stuff."

The tape deck's range was pathetic ... middling high-end, and hardly any bass. Trust me. I bought LPs back then (CDs beginning in 1986), and dubbed 'em onto TDK "SA" or Maxell "XL-II" chrome tapes, the Coke & Pepsi dual standard, for listening while in the car. Both tapes offered far superior dynamic range, even recording with a budget-line Realistic component tape deck, to the laughably horrid tape stock found on prerecorded tape albums.

The TDK and Maxell tapes (I leaned Maxell) shined in my car's Pioneer SuperTuner-III deck. Boy, that thing was a beauty. Great radio reception, too.

But those same tapes didn't sound so well when played in my mother's Thunderbird. Dad, though, was driving an '84 GMC Jimmy prior to buying the Bronco. The Delco tape deck in the Jimmy was quite good. GM radios, in general, could hold their own. Dunno about Chrysler. But Ford's radios from the late '70s into the 1990s were awful.

Fortunately, it appears that FoMoCo got on the ball. I rather like the audio system in our '08 Escape.

Oh, and look what else I bought!

The original price tag for this two-pack of BASF tapes: $1.90.

Salvation Army Value Price: 25 cents.

Net savings from circa-1992 asking price: $1.65.

The confidence I'll sleep with tonight, knowing that my ass is covered just in case CD/Rs go out of style and the cassette tape becomes the in thing again: Priceless.

Hey, you never know when you'll need old-school blank recording media!

I'll dig into those Ford tapes and give the lowdown on the rundown in a future post, or two.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Have you listened to a cassette ... lately?" Gleck

07 November 2007

Savannah Night Fever!

News item: Mayor Otis Johnson gets reelected in a landslide. Below is the picture in today's Savannah Morning News.......

Does this mean we'll soon have mirror ball streetlights on Broughton?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Never a boring time 'round these parts" Gleck

06 November 2007

Holy ... shitzu .....

So this morning I made a stop at the Kroger that's on my way to work. I had one (1) item on my list: one (1) can of Kroger brand solid white albacore tuna. The lunch of champions.

On my way to the canned meats section, I noticed on the soft drink endcap a curious sight: SQUIRT in 2-liter bottles. Okay, I've seen that off and on around Savannah over the last seven years. But never in cans, or even 20-oz. bottles.

On a whim, I scanned down the main soft drink aisle, and there they were.


So maybe that Diet Squirt wasn't the fluke I was afraid it was.

And yeah, I bought a couple, why do you ask?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Okay, make that THREE items" Gleck

04 November 2007

Where were you in '82?

I was in Rot Springs, Arkansas and wowwing the chicks in my hot rod Pacer. I was working evenings at a roach- and rat-infested radio station, and dating a girl from nearby Maggot -- er, um, Magnet Cove. Summertime '82 was in many ways a sweet time, and I was fixin' to begin my senior year in high school. Here is a musical snapshot from that time, courtesy of Casey Kasem. It's American Top 40, for the week ending 24 July 1982.

These, no doubt, were some of the hits Uncle Rico was jammin' to back in his glory days......

*40) THINK I'M IN LOVE / Eddie Money
The first of five songs debuting this week (which are asteriskally marked). Described my thinking along about this point for Dawn. Operative word: "think." T'was not love. Heck, I didn't know what love is (no, wait, this isn't a 1984 survey!) for another, ohhhhh, 16 years.

*39) YOUR IMAGINATION / Daryl Hall & John Oates
Fourth single from their 1981 Private Eyes LP. I always liked this one, although the Chart gods thought otherwise. Peaked at #33; any delusions of top ten-dom would be your imagination ... running away with yoooooou.....

38) LOVE PLUS ONE / Haircut One Hundred
Featuring lead singer Floyd "Delilah" Lawson, who was best known for his work with early '60s North Carolina skiffle group Barney & The Pyle Drivers.

Would you believe, Chief, a neat early '80s pop treasure ... among the first horses out of the MTV gate. The following week it would move up another notch, stalling out at #37 before its hair all fell down. This would be their only chart appearance, although another single "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" would be an early MTV video, um, favourite.

37) NICE GIRLS / Eye To Eye
Exactly what was an "ostracized guy", anyhow? This mystery didn't stop me from enjoying this marvelous song. Got some AOR airplay, but pop-wise it - like Haircut 100 above - would be a very low-end "one-hit wonder."

*36) PAPERLATE / Genesis
File under: Usual and customary practice by The Savannah Morning News' carriers. From the album Three Sides Live. So named because .... well, guess, genius! "Paperlate" was from side four, one of a handful of studio tracks.

35) I'VE FOUND SOMEBODY / Glenn Frey
I've always thought of Frey as the Garfunkel to Don Henley's Paul Simon. But GF's first album, 1982's No Fun Aloud, held its own. This was the first release, but the follow-up would be his biggest hit, "The One You Love." From here it would be all downhill for small Frey.

34) KIDS IN AMERICA / Kim Wilde
Empty pop, with all the filling qualities of cotton candy. In other words: Meh.

*33) AMERICAN MUSIC / The Pointer Sisters
It's an American Two-fer! Didn't care much for this'un; not among my favorites of the Points'.

32) IF THE LOVE FITS / Leslie Pearl
Memories of the automated FM station which I had the honor of babysitting after signing off the AM at sunset. KSPA "Stereo 96 Plus -- where the plus is in the music" was a weird blend of VERY light adult contemporary, MOR and outright muzak. ITLF was on the current reel during this period.

31) HOOKED ON SWING / Larry Elgart & His Manhattan Swing Orchestra
A/K/A "Stars On Scratchy 78s" It started with "Stars on 45" a year or so earlier, and it seemed like every freakin' music genre had to jump into the medley pool. Like all other early '80s medleys, it had that bomp!-clap! beat, resonating like a retarded metronome.

30) OUT OF WORK / Gary U.S. Bonds
Look what Bruce Springsteen pulled from out of mothballs. It smelled the same, too. It's about 11:35 in the evening ... a quarter to three was a long time ago.

From the redneck movie Six Pack, and a smash for Kenny "I Smell Roasted Chicken" Rogers. The intro brings it all back ... the song was on both the current reel at "Stereo 96 Plus", and in the hit rotation at KBHS "The Mighty 590", which meant I played it to death. That is, if I could get the cockroaches off the turntable long enough to cue it.

Kansas, I don't think we're doing as well as Toto anymore. (Uh-oh, is that Liza Minnelli I hear coming to beat me up for dissing her mama?)

Disco Diva Donna comes back for the '80s! Like This Song, Or I'll Kill Your Heart.

Ohhhh, a lot of women talked about Talmadge Gleck. Hoooooo, did they ever. *cringes*

25) GOING TO A GO-GO / The Rolling Stones
I forgot how wonderful this one sounded on the radio in '82. But not on the top-40 stations, just the one AOR in central Arkansas at the time. Both top-40s in Little Rock were under siege by narrow-minded program directors. I was what one might call a "chart geek" during my junior and senior years in high school, and I kept up with what all the stations played.

One (KKYK) was mainstream top-40, and they never went near anything until it hit top 20, and no guarantees even then. For instance, songs like "Pressure" and "Tainted Love" were never played in Little Rock. The other station (KLAZ 98.5) was so urban-skewed it wasn't even funny. If it was a hip-hop record, it got added in a flash ... but mainstream product was never added until it was nearly top 10.

Rock songs were heard in central Arkansas, and so was the black stuff. Unfortunately, a great number of mainstream pop songs fell through the cracks. What's truly laughable is that KKYK carried AT40 on Sunday mornings. Some weeks, as many as half (!) of the songs in a given week were nowhere near the rotation!!

Named not after the clothing store. GAP formed the initials of the streets in Tulsa where its members grew up: (G)reenwood, (A)rcher and (P)ine.

23) TAKE IT AWAY / Paul McCartney
Macca strikes again! Of note in personal lore because it was on the radio as I entered the parking lot of school on the first day of 12th grade. As such, I heard it going through my head all day long. (I smell another blog topic.......)

22) VACATION / The Go-Gos
I can never again think of this one without Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11 coming to mind.

21) WHAT KIND OF FOOL AM I / Rick Springfield
Not enough of one to diss what I consider one of his weaker songs. I don't want my wife, who is Rick Goddess #1, to show me the door.

20) PERSONALLY / Karla Bonoff
More post-disco backlash/hangover adult contemporary passing for early '80s top-40. If you like it, that's fine ... just so long as you don't take my slight perso----oh, forget it.

19) STILL THEY RIDE / Journey
This just might be my favorite of their songs. Love it now, loved it then, back when I could bloody hear it (see: "Little Rock top-40s snubbed it", also second entry "So did the AOR station"). This was one big reason I was really pining for Cape Girardeau by this time. Up there, the top-40s were so quick jumping on records that by the time they appeared on AT40, you were already burned out on 'em!

18) TAKE ME DOWN / Alabama
Another "first radio job" memory. As with Kenny's "Turn You Around", TMD was on both the AM and FM stations (pronounced "Am and "Fum").

17) ANY DAY NOW / Ronnie Milsap
Seems to be a lot of country crossover product on here, doesn't it? Memories of top-40's last days as truly a Wal-Mart of music. Another year later, and the "Hot Hits" renaissance would hit, purging all the AC and C&W oatmeal and keeping the high-energy pop, rock and urban intact.

16) WASTED ON THE WAY / Crosby, Stills & Nash
A perfect title for an autobiography, should David Crosby choose to write one.

15) CAUGHT UP IN YOU / .38 Special
Overrated Skynyrd wannabes who spent a little too much time at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

When I hear Air Supply, I often find myself in need of it.

13) DO I DO / Stevie Wonder
The man never missed. I don't think Stevie is capable of making a bad record. A few I didn't care for, yes, but never a truly bad song. "Do I Do" was tailor-made for carefree good times during 1982's Summer.

More country crossover crap.

"Hey Butthead, heh heh, she said 'hard'."
"Yeah, Beavis. 'Hard.' Huhuhuhuh-huh-huh"

11) HARD TO SAY I'M SORRY / Chicago
Played without its epilogue, the hard-drivin', reminds-you-of-old-Chicago "Get Away." Ask my son what he thinks of this record, and you'll keel over and die from the look he'll give you (last year his school's marching band featured this during its halftime shows). Can't say that I blame him. I'm just as fond of it myself.

10) KEEP THE FIRE BURNIN' / R-E-O Speedwagon
Another windows-down, blast-the-radio high school cruising song. Yeah. Every time I hear it, even today, I wish it were 1982 again and Friday night, circa 9:30.

And just be quiet and stifle those guffaws. Yes, I cruised in a @#$%ing Pacer. You know how to kick a man when he's down.

9) ONLY THE LONELY / The Motels
Martha Davis was quite the looker (I've always been a sucker for brunettes, as if you haven't figured that one out yet), and she could sing a cool tune, too. I give it four diamonds, and a complimentary membership in AAA, Best Western and Mobil Travel Guide.

8) TAINTED LOVE / Soft Cell
Something's wrong. We're into the top ten, and I've liked all the songs so far. What gives?

7) DON'T YOU WANT ME / The Human League
Okay, we have a dip into "meh." Nothing says "1980s" like a group who plays nothing but synthesizers. "Look at us, we're on MTV. Who cares what we're playing??"

6) ABRACADABRA / The Steve Miller Band
Compared with the rest of SMB's repertoire, it comes up short. But on top-40 radio a quarter century ago (AAAACK!!!), it was as magical as its title.

5) LET IT WHIP / Dazz Band
Don't let the door whip you on the way out, Daz'

4) HOLD ME / Fleetwood Mac
First time I ever heard it, I was driving down 270 toward Magnet Cove, and my first date with Dawn. The AOR station jumped on it, but - in typical LR fashion - it took awhile for it to slog up the dial from 105.1 to 103.7 and then 98.5. I love this song, always have. Okay video, too.

3) HURT SO GOOD / John Cougar
Mellen-whaaaaa? I've never liked it. No, sir. I don't like it. I don't hate it, ala "Karma Chameleon" ... but HSG just doesn't do anything for me.

2) ROSANNA / Toto
One night with Dawn, over a deep-dish pepperoni at Pizza Hut, I counted the number of times the name gets said. Tally marks on a napkin. The answer? 21.

And the #1 hit of the week on 07/24/1982?

1) EYE OF THE TIGER / Survivor

Played to all nine deaths of the cat in the song title. Has the taste of some of that Hilton Head IHOP bacon.

Ahhhhh, what a time. You can keep the Pacer, Hot Springs, Dawn and everything else with it. But I'll hold on to some of the records and a lot of the memories. What's remarkable here is that while I disliked my share of the above songs, I can't honestly say I truly reviled anything.

And there you have it. Summertime 1982 and some good listening.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "THESE SONGS ARE NOT OLDIES!!!!" Gleck

02 November 2007

'Cause I'm a blond / B-L....I don't knoooooow!

Argument in favor of sending "beauty" pageants to the glue factory:

My question is, can she locate South Carolina on a map???

Ciao for niao

--Talmadge "yeah YEAH yeah" Gleck

01 November 2007

It ain't easy bein' .... oh never mind.

You Are a Green Crayon

Your world is colored in harmonious, peaceful, natural colors.
While some may associate green with money, you are one of the least materialistic people around.
Comfort is important to you. You like to feel as relaxed as possible - and you try to make others feel at ease.
You're very happy with who you are, and it certainly shows!

Your color wheel opposite is red. Every time you feel grounded, a red person does their best to shake you.

Seraphim's right, though. I'm more the "burnt umber" type.

Or, in the Crayola box of 64 prior to 1962, "flesh."

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "7-UP bottle" Gleck

31 October 2007

Here's Squirt in my eye...

Seraphim said it was like a slap in my face, but I beg to differ. This, dearfolk, was a punch in the gut. Or - thinking about the old '70s "Alka Seltzer" commercials - The Ol' One-Two.

It was an otherwise uneventful trip to our local Bolivarian House Of Groceries, getting a few needed things, and finding ourselves traipsing down the soft drink aisle. When, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something I did not expect to see: A 12-pack of Diet Squirt. It was orphaned, sitting in an empty spot next to Mountain Dew Code Chartreuse Caffeine-Free Whatever.

Squirt - for those unfamiliar - is a citrus/grapefruit soda. It's not a thing like Mountain Dew or Mello Yello, or -- eccccccccccch!!!!!!! -- Sun Drop. Squirt is a great soda with a bite, without all the gooey syrupy aftertaste common to many regular soft drinks. I've loved it for many years, ever since I had my first taste of one back in Pine Bluff.

Yes, Pine Bluff. You can get Squirt just about any-friggin'-where in Arkansas. Even Atlanta has 'em. So why not here??!!

Suddenly I got excited. GREAT CRISPY BUDDAH, THEY'RE CARRYING SQUIRT IN THESE PARTS!! AT LONG LAST!! I made a beeline for the RC Cola section (the RC and 7-UP distributors typically carry the Squirt line). Not a thing. Not a single gap. No shelf tags anywhere. I then went to the "Canada Dry" section, where the club sodas, tonic water and other mixers are kept; Squirt (and the late, lamented Canada Dry grapefruit soda "Wink") is regarded in many corners as a superb drink mixer.

Would I finally be able to buy Squirt at the store as easily as a loaf of bread? Would this mean no more stopping at a grocery store anywhere we're visiting, in the chance that it's a "Squirt-friendly" market? I have a name for those stops: Squests. It's a quest for Squirt.

When I see the bright yellow packaging peeking out from the RC section, I know I've found carbonated nirvana. I usually buy 'em out (always earning looks of bewilderment and/or amusement at the checkout). What's more, I even share my booty with Tiger and send him home with at least a couple of 12-packs (yes, the kid loves Squirt, too). Ain't I a good Dad?

Well ANYhoo, I summoned the manager on duty. Now, I should've known that whomever was in charge of a grocery store at 8:00 at night would not necessarily be closest to the loop when it came to matters of procurement. This woman, indeed, knew nussing about this mysterious 12-pack.

I asked her if there was any chance, or any way, Kroger would be able to stock Squirt. The tone of her voice said it all: "Why can't you just get Coke or Pepsi and be happy, like everybody else?"

Well, I put this 12-pack into our shopping cart (or, as they like to say in Tiger Ridge and other places where family trees have single limbs, "buggy"), and decided I'd test their elaborate inventory system. "Will it scan?" (said to the tune of "Will it Float?")

As we were checking out, the young woman scanned the Diet Squirt.



Well, I'm going to have some words with the Kroger store manager tomorrow. He also happens to have another job, too: Mayor of Rincon, Georgia. If he wants the vote of several friends and relatives in Alabama, living or dead (may God bless Georgia!), I'll deliver 'em if he can deliver me some Squirt.

Add this to the pile of Great Mysteries: Why are there two dozen different flavors and lines of Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper .... but not so much as ONE regular grapefruit soda? I mean, you can buy Fanta Pineapple Soda, and, yes, there's Fresca (which I do enjoy whenever the mood hits. It's not bad for a 'diet' drink). So why not a sugared Fresca? Fanta does make a line called Fanta Citrus, and it's parallel to Squirt. Is it carried? Hell, no!

My six favorite soft drinks, in case you're curious:

6) Coca-Cola. By default and getting lesser so by the minute.
5) Fresca. Aspartame is very 'meh.' It's okay, but it ain't sugar.
4) Barq's Root Beer. Anything else -- Mug or A&W -- is flat tasting to me. Barq's, which started in Biloxi, Miss., is how root beer is supposed to taste.
3) "Fountain" Dew. It's what I call Mountain Dew 'on tap.' I don't understand it -- MD tastes very low-carbonated and as gooey/syrupy as Vick's cough medicine out of the can or especially bottle. But in the fountain, it has bite. Strong and cuts through a thirst.
2) Double Cola. Regional drink out of Chattanooga, Tenn. More bite than Coke, and actually has a hint of a Dr. Pepper-y flavor. Huntsville used to be a major Double Cola market ... DC vending machines and outdoor signs on stores were as common as those for Coke and Pepsi.
1) Squirt. When I can bloody find the stuff.

By the way, I've never before tried Diet Squirt. I guess I'm gonna try it now.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Herb Bishop is my hero" Gleck