31 December 2008

Going to hell in a Mazda

Yesterday (December 30), in spite of it being my son's 17th birthday, was one I was more than glad to throw in the dumpster of history. The day before, I'd somehow sprained my right foot -- then again, since I didn't do anything to cause it, I wonder if it's a gout attack. I do have occasional flare-ups on my big toes, yet haven't before experienced it on my ankle. It does happen, though, and either way it hurts like a mo-fo. The more I think about it, the more I think this is gout.

The night before (Monday), Sera put one of those microwavable heating pads on the foot. Big mistake. Heat was the last thing that recalcitrant ankle needed.

How I was able to get out of bed, much less drive to work, is a head-scratcher. No, a head-bumper. As I was trying to get out of the shower yesterday morning without putting too much weight on my foot, I brained my head on the door railing above.

On top of that I had to get Tiger back toward Alabama. Sera had a doctor's appointment, but I was able to leave work early. I would've asked my wife to make this trip, were it not for a wrinkle in the routine. Instead of meeting Whatzername at Fort Valley (halfway spot), she sent her brother, who was buying a truck from a guy in Newnan, about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta. Seems he needs my son's help -- he was taking two vehicles back to Montgomery, and he was tapped to drive "Walt's" old vehicle.

A black Corvette.

Yeah, this trip was an adventure in and of itself. Apart from it taking forever to get to Newnan -- there's no easy way to get there from my direction without venturing into Atlanta Traffic Hell™, which covers a radius of roughly 40 miles from the gold dome. Atlanta is one big parking lot, and those living in suburbia up there practically have to leave at 5 AM just to get to work on time ... and get home at 8 PM. Leaving not a whole helluva lot of time for, ummmm, a LIFE.

Well, taking the backroads through such beautiful burgs as Roberta and Thomaston, it took nearly five (5) hours to get to Newnan. And I did this without a road map. Though not by choice; I'd left all cartography in the other vehicle. One thing I wanted to do is avoid Atlanta's remotest perimeter, and approach Newnan from the south.

In that time I could've driven nearly all the way to Eclectic, Ala., and spared everyone involved the trouble.

And Newnan, true to form, was its usual charming Atlanta self at 5:00. Meaning, traffic traffic everywhere. We met Walt, and the look on Tiger's face when he realized just what car he was going to be driving back home ..... well, let's just say that was a birthday treat he won't soon forget.

Now DAD, on the other hand...... Yeah, I was getting a little queasy at the sight of my son driving off in a Corvette into Atlanta Traffic Hell™. The last sight I had was of him taking a left turn behind his uncle onto the road leading back to I-85. At the same time, I did a U-turn on the side street to get into a nearby gas station ($1.41/9; and, as a bonus, Diet Mountain Dew in the fountain).

With tank filled, I ventured eastward on Georgia 34 through the southern rim of ATH, skirting the wilds of Peachtree City. I called my wife to let her know I was (finally) homeward bound. As I was doing this, another call came in: my former BIL. Yeah, Walt was now on the side of I-85, waiting for Tiger. Seems he didn't make it onto the interstate.

Nice going.

What's more, my parents had gotten Tiger a new cellphone (he has one on their plan), so as of yesterday his existing phone was deactivated. Why didn't they do this AFTER he got back home?? So much for the REASON he was given that cellphone to begin with.

Turning around and going back to Newnan would've been pointless. Needle in a haystack. I would never have found him.

I love my son. Bless his heart*, the kid has no sense when it comes to navigation. He just wants the fun of driving without the responsibility of same. Meaning, paying attention to his surroundings. Meaning, knowing what a bloody INTERSTATE highway is. What the shields look like. What an "onramp" is.

(* = Southern protocol mandates all nasty comments be prefaced with the phrase "Bless (his/her) heart.")

My son, in other words, is identical to his mother. That woman can get lost on a freeway. I kid you not. Clearly, not one speck of roadgeek DNA made it into that kid.

As I was driving south on Ga. 154 toward Senoia, I had the vision of my son, in the middle of suburban Atlanta's traffic hell -- IN A GOLLDURNED CORVETTE, no less -- completely lost and panicking. I honestly don't think he would've thought to find a payphone (people his age don't know what they are), nor find phone numbers on his cellphone's address book, still accessible despite it being dead.

At this point, I remembered the allegedly sage advice I doled out to Kate/Susan earlier this year. "Not my problem", I repeated like a mantra. When my son got into his uncle's Corvette and we all drove our separate ways, I'd officially passed the baton. My direct authority over him ceased. He was now in the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ex-Wife.

Still, I was worried. So I called his mother, who had also spoken with Walt. She assured me Tiger was on I-85 and had just gotten separated.

Okay, fine. So for about 20 minutes I had a sense of security. Long enough to swing through Mickey D's in Senoia for a bite of supper.

No sooner than I put that hamburger toward my mouth, my cellphone rings. It's a 770 area code (metro Atlanta), and it's my son. He didn't make it onto the interstate (nice going, Whatzername!). After losing sight of his uncle's new truck, Tiger backtracked to the Wachovia where we'd met. He needed Uncle Walt's phone number, which I gladly gave to him.

I'm relieved he had enough sense to go back to the starting point.

Driving back home was not one of my more pleasant trips. The only positive thing about it was the American Top 40 from December 1972 I'd loaded onto my new iPod Nano (blue). That was one awesome week in time (yes, a review is forthcoming).

About the time I was driving through Griffin, I felt the dreaded pall of sickness wash over me. That "tired"/"puny" feeling one gets when they have a cold. (At least I waited 'till the end of my son's visit to get sick!)

As Casey might've said, "As the numbers get smaller, the Tal is getting sicker."

I-75 was a welcomed sight. I thought the worst was over, that I could set the cruise and enjoy AT40. Guess again -- my foot, which did fine while driving (it was just the act of getting into and out of the car that was difficult), began hurting along about Dublin, even sitting idle while driving at a nice 73 MPH clip along I-16. I got off the interstate in a quest for a CVS or a Walgreen's. Any place where A) I could "drain the monster", B) I could get something to drink, and C) buy some ibuprofen. I could've accomplished all three at any one of the gas stations at Exit 51. Trouble is, I didn't want to pay out the nose for a small pack of Advil.

Into Dublin I went, trying to find one. Anything. I would've been happy with friggin' Rite Aid (I hate Rite Aid, in case anyone hasn't yet figured that out). And all I saw was a Rite Aid.

Obviously, people in Laurens County, Georgia are of so perfect health that no drug store needs to stay open past 8:00 p.m. It was now 8:08. I got out, and the woman wasted no time turning out the lights to let me know THEY WERE CLOSED.

Did I mention how much I revile Rite Aid?

Across the street was a Southern Foods Market. That is one of the "trailer park food" outfits that took over the bankrupted remnants of the old Bruno's grocery chain (FoodFair, Food Max, Food World). They were open, so I limped in there to find some @#$%ing pain reliever and a bathroom. Of course, as luck would have it, their Necessary Facilities were as far to the back of the store as one could get. I'm sure I looked like a spastic retard trudging my way back there.

All drained, I picked up the Southern Foods "Doublewide Pride™" brand ibuprofen, plus an (overpriced) bottle of Diet Mountain Dew for the road.

Then it was back to I-16. My AT40 finished, I was entertained with the OTR programs I'd brought for the rest of my trip. The foot behaved itself until I got home and my wife was waiting with an icepack, Ace bandage and pillows.

It was 10:12 p.m. when I pulled into our driveway. I was never so happy to get home as I was yesterday. I spent an hour in the living room, my foot on ice and elevated. Then we set me up in our bed the same way. I slept all night that way, and woke up at 4:30 this morning to go into work.

Today the foot is still sore. I still walk like a retard. But it's not as painful as yesterday. The ice, I'm convinced, is what helped. As for the rest of me, I think I'm getting my traditional post-Christmas malaise. *cough*

So there you have it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to limp myself to the microwave to fix me some popcorn.

Ciao for niao.

--Tal the Cripple

23 December 2008

It's 'The $1.07 Tree' after taxes.

Or: "Love - And A Dollar - Will Keep Us Together"

So the missus and I decided to make a post-supper "Dollar Tree" run. We needed a few gift card bags and a few other odds and ends. Rincon has a very nice -- and big -- DT store in our newly renovated strip. It used to be called "Rincon South", but now it has the more semi-haute name Fort Howard Square. But anyway......

Since there's no such thing as going into a Dollar Tree for one item, we did what every red-blooded bumpkin does: we poked around. Truly one never knows what one might find on any one given trip. And you'd better grab it, elsein' you might not find it next time you're there.

Naturally, while Sera browsed the Christmas aisle, I made a beeline for the "electronics" section. And I was greeted by a small bin of CDs.......

Whoookay, we have the soundtrack to Passion of the Christ (a/k/a "You Damned K*kes Killed My Jesus!! Now gimme another drink, Copper!") ... a Shania Twang Twain DVD ("Man, I Feel Like a Tums") ... and, bless her serial-bride heart, a Delilah compilation.

Remind me again why people would take relationship advice from a woman who's had three divorces?

And the one on the lower right corner? Yup.....
"Dr. Drake, please report back to your station. The dream is over."

Yes, Rick Springfield tried a comeback in 1999 with an album cruelly entitled Karma. By this point, my wife found me. And, big-league '80s Rick Fan she is, the disc went home with Seraphim. Curiosity, she said.

You know I had to dig through the pile. Although I don't know if it's some curiosity of my own, or if I'm a big-league glutton for punishment........
Yeah, definitely "glutton."

What we have here just might be the complete study in the recorded works of Captain & Tennille. They were a husband-wife duo in the '70s best known for such hits as "Love Will Keep Us Together", "Do That To Me One More Time", and the stomach-pump "Muskrat Love."

Their poses suggest the following dialogue:

TONI TENNILLE: "I love you, my BIG HANDSOME HUNK OF CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. Take me to your poopdeck and batton down my hatches."
DARYL DRAGON: "Do I know you?"

[Now I cannot completely dis Miz Toni. She's a native of Montgomery, Alabama, and her mother hosted the city's first daytime TV talk program. In fact, a young Toni would sometimes join Mom on the show. I think it was called Guest Room, but that's neither here nor there.]

Next to Mr. Excitement And Toothy Toni, was a selection of new-age'y "music for relaxation" CDs. And corresponding to each disc was a sample. Either the battery is this close to shot, or else one of Claude Debussy's most recognized and acclaimed piano standards is being waterboarded at Rincon's answer to musical Gitmo.......

We'll call this "Clair De Lunatic."

Now, after all that musical reminiscing, I'm sure you could go for a snack.......

Care for a Gummi Rat?

In the next aisle, I found these:
So it only made sense to try and help with this store's rodent problem:

What Dollar Tree would be complete without a "ghetto" section?? In case you want to fit in next time you find yourself in the wilds of Albany, Georgia or Pine Bluff, Arkansas, you might want to pick up a few of these:

Now just because you have some bling for your grille does NOT mean you can neglect your teeth. The Dollar Tree has a great selection of dentrifices:
Colgate and Crest are overrated, pal. WE have classic, time-tested brands like Pepsodent ("You'll wonder where the yellow went....") and, for those who like a little sex appeal for a lousy one-spot:
Crap, I didn't know they still made "Ultra Brite." At this point I was half-expecting to see tubes of "Ipana."

I'm sure by now, you could probably use some wise words from The Good Book:

And, in case you need reassurance as to what this book IS, the title is also imprinted on the box. $1.00 Bibles. Proof that Mr. Yahweh has one mean sense of humor. (Wonder if these are from a run of misprints? "For Gdo so luved the whirled....")


I just noticed the Hanna Montana whatever up there in the corner. Talk about a whole new meaning to "best of both worlds."

Back to the health and beauty (relatively speaking) aisle, I was stopped dead in my tracks by what I saw before me. Have you missed your, ummm, punctuation?
"Honey?? I thought this thing was supposed to give me a '+' or a '-' Why does it read '¿∞¶'??"

That kit would probably give my wife a positive, despite having her "parts" removed last year.

Or ME.

Finally, every other store chain has gift cards, so why not your friendly neighborhood everything-a-dollar joint?

I thought about buying a bunch of these and loading $1.00 on each of 'em. What a great gift idea. Then I heard the checkout lady tell the woman in front of me that there's a $5.00 minimum for their gift cards. Well, shucks! Where's the fun in that??

PS - Our damage tonight? $19.06. I felt like we'd made an obscene shopping spree, although not anywhere close to someone else, who made off with more than 38 bucks' worth of merchandise. Phew, no wonder the pickins were slim after he left.

If memory serves, I think he and his wife had three or four kids with 'em. Wonder if they buy those EPTs by the case?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "How much is that $1.00 item in the window?" Gleck

22 December 2008

Island of Misfit Electronics?

More from the cellphone cache of Glecko. When I feel like making the plunge and going for a high-definition television, where should I go? Best Buy? Sam's Club?

No. The first place I'll consider is Kroger.

Apex. Now there's a brand to make me pine for greater, more prestigious nameplates, like Coby or Broksonic. Seriously. I once had an Apex portable DVD player back when that was pretty much a novelty. It was 2001, and we were feeling a bit flush. We bought DVD players both for my Mom & Dad and Sera's parents, both of who didn't have one. They were also Apex, but the standard model, not intended for travel use.

All three didn't last the year.

And those Sylvania MP3 docking boomboxes are speaking to me. Speaking unprintable things. Sylvania is another one of those "cheap-company-cashing-in-on-a-long-gone-once-proud-name-of-quality" brands. Stick to the blue-dot flashbulbs, Syl.

Why does a grocery store feel the need to sell TVs and DVD players? Kroger needs to rethink this one (although the idea of Best Buy opening a produce department rather amuses....).

So, Mom and Dad, put that Apex DVD player and Apex LCD telly in your shopping cart with the eggs, ketchup, cereal and pork loin. Then you can look at their faces on Christmas morning when they put in the Rudolph disc and ask, with a puzzled expression, "Mom? Dad? Why is Rudolph's nose purple? And why is Burl Ives skipping back and forth and stuttering??"

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Circuit City: The Beef People!" Gleck

Stragiht Form the Herat

From the "I bought my first spellchecker, bought it at the five and dime...." department:

Poked, prodded and tagged.

Kate/Susan tagged me first, and now Melissa has done her post .... so here goes. I think.

Here are the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write 6 random things about yourself.
Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I've already linked to the ones who've tagged me (see the left-hand column). The rules are already posted (see above). So now here are six (6) random things about me (see below):

1) Thanks to XM and Sirius merging, and (finally ! ! ! !) being able to get the XM "decades" channels, I am now recording the lineup of vintage American Top 40 broadcasts on the weekend. Both '70s on 7 and '80s on 8 air a countdown from this week in whatever year they've chosen. This past weekend, it was 1975 and 1983.

And since we have many of the Sirius/XM channels on Dish Network, they're all set up to record on the DVR (PS - while the signal is all band-compressed and "lossy" on our car receivers, the quality through Dish Network is full-band and it shines). From there I go straight digital into my Sony pro CD recorder. Then I rip 'em into the PC and make MP3 files.

What I like the most about them is the first half of the show, the one where the "lower-charting" singles made their appearances. Usually, while a hit music station might've had 30, 40 or more singles in active rotation at any given time, only the cream of the crop - the biggest hits - made the transition into the "gold library" to be played as oldies. The rest pretty much disappeared.

And that's the magic of AT40, hearing these 'forgotten' hits. They always transport me back to whatever I was doing, thinking, or feeling during that week in time. A #1 hit from the day won't 'take me back', but one that peaked at #32 will do so with warp-speed.

I'm hooked on the classic countdowns. And that's saying something, as I've been a fan of AT40 since first discovering it Sunday nights on WSGN/Birmingham along about 1976. I've built up a nice stockpile of listening, with perhaps half a dozen unheard shows in the chute already.

I'm glad Seraphim enjoys 'em, too, because now on trips westward toward Alabanana or Albaninny, I've become conditioned to want to fire up one of the old shows.

Now then, on with the countdown:

NUMBER TWOOOO!!! I have become addicted to Subway's pepperoni pizza. They're good .... and cheap (the one in the Wally-World on Montgomery Cross Rd. has 'em for $3.89!) ... and, best of all, a reasonable 15 points! The 'base' is prefab, however everything else - mozzarella, pepperoni (or whatever topping[s] you choose) - is all fresh. Did I mention "quick"? Subway locations now have a high-speed toaster, and it'll bring a pizza to perfect temperature in barely 90 seconds. It's good, and isn't greasy like Pizza Hut's 'personal pans.' They're filling, too.

3) I'm getting to the point where I'm bursting with excitement about what lays ahead for me with 54.6-and-counting pounds off my frame. West Virginia is just two months away from right now ... in less than nine weeks, we will be in the warm bosom of her mountainous terrain. And something I missed terribly from my in-shape days was hiking. I remember taking the "hard" trail up to the peak of Pinnacle Mountain west of Little Rock, Ark. That would've been July 1987. There was a nice breeze blowing up there, and - cliched as it may be - I did feel on top of the world. I weighed maybe 180-185 pounds then ... and when I reached the top of Pinnacle, I felt less exhausted than I used to feel after just a couple flights of stairs.

Nettiemac's brag-and-gag™ newsletter (which puts our on-the-cheap effort to shame, thank you) made mention of her walking efforts. Savannah recently had its 10K "bridge run", over the Talmadge Bridge -- that's former Jawja guvnuh Eugene Talmadge, not "Gleck, Talmadge." -- and coming up in April is Charleston's Cooper River Bridge Run. Maybe my mind is writing checks my stamina isn't yet ready to cash, but sitting here right now I really want to do it. (PS to Nettie - wanna meet us for a day of fun?)

4) This is the time when I can finally catch myself embracing The Christmas Spirit®. It's when I find REAL Christmas selections sprinkled into our midday programming (usually not before December 15th). Or when I put together the annual Christmas edition of a folk music program I produce. "Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella" or Bach's Christmas Oratorio trumps 2,395 cringe-inducing versions of "Sleigh Ride." Every time. And if rejecting this phony-ass version of Festivus makes me an Ebenezer Whatzisname, then you know what two words I'll gladly say.

5) Cars was on ABC Family over the weekend. I love that movie ... amazing how CGI animation so beautifully captured what we've lost as a country. The people who wrote that screenplay were kindred minds. The scene where "Lightning" and "Sally" take that little joyride out "old 66" is achingly gorgeous. Those writers and animators got it so right. So very right. The part where the road and the town 'morphs' back into its glory days as Sally recalls it never fails to put a lump in my throat.

"Cars didn't drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time."

I was born 10 years too late. Too many times I've wished I were born in 1955 instead of 1965, so I could've enjoyed real Baby-Boomer Americana while older. So I could've driven US-301 toward Florida, with everything in its prime instead of seeing an old Howard Johnson's Motel - with spire still atop the office building - now serving as quasi-welfare housing ... a decrepit Red Carpet Inn clearly showing architectural parentage of circa-1968 Holiday Inn ... or ruins of what used to be a beautiful, well-manicured roadside park in better days.

Yes, and seeing the black-and-white 301 shield in Georgia become a yellow one after crossing into Florida ... along with a red US-1, a green US-23, and - God love it - the blue US-90! (That's your gratuitous 'colored shield' rant. Now you can enjoy the rest of this post, safe in knowing that it's all behind you.)

Then again, I might've been better off had I been born in the '70s. I can think of only one thing worse than growing up too late to enjoy "real Americana", and that's being old enough to have childhood recollections of the final days of the way it used to be. I remember eating at a Woolworth's lunch counter when I was little. I came of age as the era of the live afternoon TV kiddie show came to a sad end.

I never got to eat at a Howard Johnson's, though. And I feel so cheated.

6) One thing from the past that is stubbornly trying to reassert itself in present-day American life, at least in warmer climes, is the drive-in theater. We have two within reach, one in Beaufort, S.C., and another down in Jesup. The other week we took in a movie at the two-screen plex in Jesup -- a (strangely juxtaposed) double-feature: Four Christmases and Fireproof. "Four", in spite of the negative reviews I've seen, struck me as an amusing entry into the "dysfunctional family holiday movie" hall of fame. Fireproof, though, deserves its own blog post.

Things are different at the drive-in today. Gone are the hinky speakers you hang on your car's half-rolled-up window. Today, most theaters transmit sound via low-powered FM transmitters. The sound quality is amazingly good ... while it's not full 5.1 surround, it is stereo. And any car with a decent audio system will give a pleasant sound experience.

There's nothing like backing the SUV into our spot, popping up the liftgate, and snuggling under quilts in the back, with our sodas and (low-point) munchies, to watch a good movie.

I'm going to tag everybody who reads this blog. So put your shoulder up to the monitor ... c'mon, take your medicine like an adult .... *poit!!* Tag, you're it. Now get to posting.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "One of other, half dozen of the six" Gleck

20 December 2008

One down, ounces to go

Or: "NOW I'm down nearly 55 (and a pint, to boot)."

Due to all the holiday muck, and lots to do this past Wednesday, we put off our weigh-in until this morning. The WW center will be closed this coming Wednesday (12/24) for obvious reasons, so we're doing two 1.5-week stretches, and then getting back on routine the following week. It's probable that we'll end up weighing in Tuesday (30th), since I can only ass/u/me the center will also be closed for New Year's Eve.

Although I cannot imagine WHY. Certainly our Weight Watchers leaders - those whom we expect to set an example - would not be out eating, drinking and other such festive activity. Right?

ANYway. Weight. I'm down -1.0 (wish it were more, but who's gripin'?), putting me just ounces away from my year-end goal of 55. Cume is now -54.6

We stayed for the meeting, because: 1) The leader at the Saturday morning session is the same one in Rincon on Monday nights - the one where we attended before changing to Wednesdays. She saw me to 10%, but I wanted to show this woman - who was beyond skeptical that I would last three months in WW - that I was still in the game and over -50! Take that, Miz Christine! :-D

2) .... well, I don't feel at liberty to say. And that's all I have to say about that, Jen-nay.

The leader said she could really see the change in my face.

Yesterday at work, we had a visitor who was in the station to do an interview with our news person. Very sweet lady, it was good seeing her again (last time was maybe 2-ish years ago), and her eyes bugged out when she saw me. She too mentioned that it was obvious in my face.

Wow. Okay.

Normally I'm not one who likes to have attention drawn to me. I am the polar opposite of Nettiemac, who will not hesitate to get on a stage and perform (even if it's with a falling-down drunk karaoke singing partner aboard a casino boat!). While I'm not an all-out wallflower, I do lean that way on the spectrum. That's the beauty of radio -- being able to create something without people watching you as you do it.

All that a given, I have to say I'm enjoying all the looks from those I haven't seen in awhile. It feels good. And is a good motivator.

After the meeting, we ballyed up to the Red Cross blood bar, where the vampires were all too willing to relieve me of a pint of my pulmonary fluids. (We'd have done this first, were it not for the blood drive starting at the same time as the meeting!)

My blood pressure was taken, and I was aghast .... 90 over 58 ??!! WTF ??!!

I had the woman do it again (I cannot remember the last time I ever had a two-digit systolic). The second time it was 94 /62. Holy crap.

Let's look back at the Red Cross donor card, which has my BP readings:

Saturday, 05/03/2008: 138 / 90. This was the weekend before I joined WW. I was roughly 295 pounds at this point.

Thursday, 08/28/2008: 126 / 84.

Friday, 10/24/2008: 112 / 78.

Saturday, 12/20/2008: 94 / 62.

While I've never had a systolic above 140 (considered the threshold for textbook hypertension), for years my blood pressure flirted with it. Something tells me I don't have that problem now.

94 over 62? Maaaaan.... I was beginning to worry that I wouldn't have enough oomph in my heart to fill the pint bag. No problems, I filled it. Quickly, as usual.

And that's another afternoon in the life of Tal. Creating new music/radio/road geeks, one pint and transfusion at a time.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "240.6" Gleck

18 December 2008

The Messed--er, Best of Gleck: Radio to get me in the holiday spirit!

[Note: As a radio producer, one of the nice things about this time of year is being able to get away with raiding the program archives and airing a repeat. So, I give you one I originally posted on December 12, 2006. Enjoy!]

I found these stations thriving in the musty crawl space of my radio's dial:

No longer will America take bets as to when Adult Contemporary stations begin playing holiday music. Every day is Christmas at 109.2, so the little soccer moms will be positive orgasmic year-round! Now run along and spend lots of money, Tiffany. (Rod Stewart says, "It's one of my favorite things.")

KNNY-FM "KINNEY 100.0": All "Christmas Shoes", All The Time. (Cannot be picked up in parts of south Alabama, much of Mississippi, or certain mountainous pockets of Arkansas)

WPIC-AM 1750, "In-Your-Face Radio": Our name says it all: (P)olitically (I)n(C)orrect. Hear all your favorite holiday selections from times past, such as Mel Blanc's "The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Beeg", "The Dreidl Song" by Cartman, and Shirley Q. Liquor's immortal "12 Days of Kwanzaa."

98.4 KAREN FM: We don't play too much of what we want, or else we'll get too big. When we start playing more than 100 minutes of music between commercials, we'll go purge until we're back to a more managable 90-95 minutes. Our tower is on top of the world, and our signal is close to you. (Wonder why our cume spikes upward in January?)

RALPHIE RADIO: Cleveland's newest radio sensation! Flick & Tongue In The Morning is giving away "leg lamps" by the hundreds -- hear the sound of the Red Rider BB gun shooting an eye out, and be the 9th caller to win! And listen for the Pink Bunny Jackpot Phone Game -- if we call your home, be sure to answer "F-dash-dash-dash", and you win Christmas dinner for your entire family at the Chinese restaurant over there by the Food Lion.

KETL - "KETTLE 86.4": The Salvation Army now owns a chain of low-power FMs like this one, with the sound of a ringing bell 24/7, and an occasional tuba blast. Dong Boy & Belly in the morning, and extra long tolls of your favorite clappers all day.

SUICIDE 1640.5: Our name says it all. Nothing says "Christmas" like people who have nobody or nothing in their lives, and - tragically - decide to off themselves during this joyous time of year (or maybe they've had it up to here with all-holiday formats!). There isn't too much to be heard except for gunshots here and there. But listen real close, because all the dead air drives the audio compressor so high, you can hear the sound of people slitting their wrists. As is typical with the sheep mentality, most of us let the "scan" function on the radio skip past this one as if it doesn't exist. Must these malcontents be so ... negative??? Must they ruin the holidays for the rest of us?

Happy listening ... and ciao for niao!

--Talmadge "Portions of this blog post have been mechanically reproduced" Gleck

12 December 2008

Emptyin' the cellphone

While performing a 'ratkilling' of my cellphone memory card, I came upon a few pics I took from the last couple of months. We have the Samsung Hue, which comes with a 1.5 MP resolution camera, pretty decent for a phone. Besides, that beats the 1.2 megapixel rating of our old 2001-vintage Kodak. And we thought that was a damn good digital camera back in those stone ages.

Said killing-of-the-rats was spurred on by watching Puddy roll over into what we now call her "sunny side up" mode. I didn't have the (8.1 MP) Fuji handy, so the cellphone had to do:
Sweet Puddy strikes her ladylike pose.

I just had to share that one. In doing so, I realized I also had a number of images on there I'd completely forgotten about. I'd see something, usually while driving, and reach for the cellphone.

We start with some pics from my October trip over to Birmingham and other fine (and not-so-fine) cities. Starting with the bank next door to the tire place where I took my son's car:
The economy is tanking. AmSouth and SouthTrust are no more. Wachovia
is getting swallowed by Wells Fargo. Aliant Bank of Montgomery has made it clear
they ain't goin' nowhere.

My friend Tim and I went to an estate sale while I was in Birmingham. I hate estate sales (the idea of somebody going through my house, picking through my Earthly belongings rather underwhelms, ya know?), but I did land a couple of good finds - and being the last afternoon of the sale, everything was half price. I scored a small suitcase which closely resembled the set we have. That means both Seraphim and I now have our own "small" luggage for weekend trips instead of having to share the medium one. $8.00.

And a mini 'schoolhouse'-style clock, which tugged at my heartstrings; it was identical to the (long gone) clock Gran Lera used to have in her living room. At $3.50, that puppy went home with Talmadge.

A Holiday Inn ashtray (with the classic "Great Sign" logo) set me back all of 50 cents, and then I found - yes, for sale - an empty Coke can from 1982. I didn't buy it (even at 25¢), however I did take a picture of the back, just to prove to any naysayers that "Coke Classic" was indeed different from OLD Coke:
It's the Real Thing, sweetened with the real thing.
(That's Tim in the background)

Note the ingredient list. Today, Coca-Cola is sweetened with "high fructose corn syrup." Old, i.e. pre-1985, Coke was sweetened with real cane sugar, baby. I'm convinced a good part of the reason we have an "obesity epidemic" is because of HFCS. Sugar is natural. And let's face it -- folks my age (43) weren't as active as people claim. We might not have had Playstation 3 or XBox 360, but we had Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch reruns at 3:30 in the afternoon, among other sedentary pursuits.

Okay, that's another tangent for another time. Moving right along (speaking of childhood), we have a pleasant, mouth-watering picture I took while driving north on Gloster Street in Tupelo, Miss. I'd just driven through Danver's (one more time, with feeling: best roast beef sandwich, bar none), and was fixin' to dig into my first one:

Prelude to a roast-gasm.

I bought gas while there, and I couldn't resist a picture of this notice on the gas pump:

(And we have vigilantes in freshly-laundered white
"uniforms" standing by to pounce on any drive-offs)

I was all estatic about what this station was charging for gas: $3.10/9. This was early October, so gas was still well into the 3.00 range in most places. If you would've come to me while I was pumping this "cheap" Mississippi gas, and told me that in less than two months I'd be paying less than $1.50/9 per gallon, I would've told you to lay off the hallucinogenics.

There was a monitor above the pump with a loop of some local TV station clips, including a trivia question: What's the oldest radio station in Tupelo?

Yeah, like I was gonna boot that one. It was WELO-AM 580. So, what did I win -- A box of Rice-A-Roni? A Spiegel catalog gift certificate? A lifetime sentence of listening to Tupelo's second radio station, WTUP? (I'd rather have waterboarding, thank you)

Here's a picture I took a couple weeks back. I think I was on Ogeechee Road, but that's not important. Remind me not to call Triple A around here if we get stranded:

But what happens if the tow truck breaks down??

It was dark, and you can barely see that on the tow truck in front of me is a TRIPLE A VAN! On the back is the AAA "help" number. "You have reached Triple A. Sorry, our van done broke down. You're gonna have to get out in the rain and change that flat tire yourself, buddy. Don't be a sissy -- get out there and be a man. Never mind the money you pay us in dues. Just shut up and when we get around to it, we'll send you a couple of road maps."

Then there was this shot one morning a few weeks ago at Mickey D's, while the lady behind the counter was looking the other way. Those plastic buckets to the left of the coffee urn were full of TEA.
Remind me again why I don't order iced tea at a fast food place...

Okay, that's all for now. With a cleared-out image cache, I bid you a fond ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I got a Samsung Cellphone/I love to take a photograph/So Mama don't take my 2-gig PNY Micro-SD Card away" Gleck

10 December 2008

Due to the crappy economy.....

...Weight Watchers has now readjusted Points™.

What used to be a simple, basic 3-point can of tuna is now 4.5 Points™.

That 7-point Lean Cuisine pepperoni pizza? It'll now set you back 10.

And there can no longer be any free food or drink, either. You know that saying about "no free lunches"? Well, that applies to you too, fatso. Diet Mountain Dews are now 2 Points™. Per serving.

No, I'm just kidding. But that was the joke I made before tonight's meeting when they gave out the new and improved WW "format" (how appropriate this happened the week after Bill Drake died!)

It has a new, 'forward'-sounding name: MOMENTUM.

There are a few tweaks, to be sure, but from what I observed, no Points™ values changed. Nor did the formula for calculating your daily Points™ target. Even the 35 weekly 'extra' stash remains unchanged. They didn't chisel away at that. Clearly, Catbert is not in charge at WW.

What was added is a designation called "filling foods." Supposedly, those are foodstuffs which leave a longer shadow in your stomach, i.e. you're not wall-clawing hungry two hours after eating ("You're gonna eat a bowl of chow mein / And be hungry reeeeal soon" - The Sparks, "I Predict" [1982]).

Case in point, I experimented with a different eating regimen today. I started my day (so to speak - it was 10:30 when I first ate) with my Lean Cuisine pepperoni pizza. And then for "lunch" (2:30 p.m.) I had a single Granny Smith apple.

That apple made all the difference in the world when it came to meeting time. Not surprisingly, I try to eat as lightly as possible ... not so much in calories as in actual food weight. Sorry, but when I step on the scale I don't wanna weigh a bunch of half-digested food in my tum-tum, ya know?? I empty both chambers (if you get my drift), because - as I like to say - "every ounce counts."

I don't drink anything carbonated 24 hours prior to weigh-in. Just water and Crystal Light decaf tea. Dunno if it's true or not, but a co-worker told me that sodas can cause some retention hours after consuming.

Now the one problem with all this is, during the meeting my stomach is going "FEED ME, DAMMIT. GIVE ME SOME @#$%ING FOOD, YOU WEIGHT-OBSESSED NAZI!!!" As I sit there listening to Richard Simmons on Steroids, I am the letter-perfect portrait of a wall-clawing hungry bastard.

Not this time. That apple indeed went further ... much more than one of those pizzas or a can of tuna with a handful of crackers. During the meeting I was hungry, but bearably so.

I think I'm going to try that again next week. Maybe I'm on to something.

Oh, and the weight? Dunno how this happened (the apple in the afternoon, maybe??), but with my nekkidweight this morning factored in, I figured on dropping a pound, if I was lucky.

Nope. Try -2.8 .... wow, okay. I'll take it. Keep in mind, that's over a two-week period as last week we were in Alabama for my Dad's cancer exorcism.

At any rate, I now have a cume drop of -53.6 pounds. Incredibly, I am a mere 1.4 pounds away from my end-of-the-year goal of 55 pounds. Taking the previous 1.4 per week breakdown, all I have to do is more of the same, and I'll snag that goal two weeks early. Wouldn't that be a sweet Christmas present??

Future goals, in case anyone needs reminding:
  • 60 pounds removed by the beginning of February (my 44th birthday)
  • 65 pounds by the third week of the month (when we've penciled in West Virginia '09)
  • 75 pounds by May 5, my one-year anniversary of going on WW.
  • 99 pounds by September 9, 2009. 99 by 09/09/09.
Yes, I know dropping five pounds in two weeks in February is a tall order. I figure on either meeting 60 early and hitting 65 on the mark ... or just 60 for my birthday. Whichever, I'll be happy.

75 pounds was the number I threw out when I first joined. And that seems to be going according to plan. I can hit that goal if I drop a mere 1.03 pounds per week.

"99 by 09/09/09" is a catchy way of saying I want to get my "Century Club" membership card by the end of Summer 2009.

Going by my track record, I feel very confident. I've met all of my previous goals - 10% by the end of August*, 40 pounds by my October trip to Birmingham and 50 by Thanksgiving. (* = I met the goal on my original date ... I did set an earlier goal when I had a good run early in July, but then I began plateauing.)

I like the emphasis on 'filling foods' with the new WW Momentum concept. That'll be a handy tool in trying to maximize my points™-to-satisfaction ratio.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "241.6" Gleck

04 December 2008

Possession is 9/10 of the law

And my mother-in-law should be thankful I don't abide by the above maxim.

We're back home after a couple of days 'out West' in the wilds of south Dougherty County, Georgia. Yesterday we made the 90-ish minute drive over to Dothan, Ala., where we visited Dad. He had surgery that morning to remove a cancerous prostate, and I'm happy to report that the procedure went well, and he was quite talkative for a man in his shape. Not surprisingly, he was quite tired and nodded off more than a few times while we were all talking. It was myself, Sera, my brother and mother all cramped into that little hospital room.

I think he's going home today. Talk about "drive-thru hospital service."

Thanks many times over for all of your prayers and concern. I truly appreciate them.

Okay, now to the other matter at hand: Your Blog Host almost committed an act of dognapping. It involves my "granddaughter" Daisy. Puddy gave birth to one litter back in 1999. There were nine in all, but three died, leaving six. Of those, three found homes elsewhere and the remaining three would go on to live in my in-laws' backyard. Two boys and one girl, and they were christened Bo, Luke and Daisy (if you care to "hazzard" a guess how my FIL arrived at those names). Those are/were their real names. Puddy, I'm sure you know, is a nickname -- her real name is Gabby.

Early in April, Luke died from heartworms. And last month, Bo left us. Same cause.

Which leaves Daisy. My FIL had her checked head to paw, and - fortunately (!!!!) - she is fit as a fiddle. Now Daisy is an inside dog, and I can only guess she's in mourning. She's never been alone in all of her life, and has pretty much lived her life to date in the shadow of her brothers.

Now that it's just her, she is now the shadow of my in-laws. And when I say "shadow", it's hard to convey just how much I mean that. Daisy will not go anywhere away from human lifeforms. She dutifully goes outside when MIL takes her out to "go potty." But the moment she goes anywhere the door, Daisy wastes no time getting there first.

I cannot begin to fathom whatever stages a dog goes through when they've lost a loved one. They're "pack" animals, so you know they grieve.

But when we got there Tuesday night, I was finally able to give Daisy some one-on-one attention. Indeed, it was impossible to ignore the girl. She jumped onto the couch, and - I swear to gawd - started giving me 'huggies' and cuddled closely to me, just as her own mother is famous for doing.

You know something? It was like a time machine. It was like Puddy several years ago, back when she was still a spritely girl, with full eyesight and hearing. The two dogs are alike in so many ways, not just in temperament, but in look. The only big differences being Daisy has a 'dirtier' blond coat, and the white "freckles" covering her nose:

Mother/Daughter photo-op this morning. Daisy is on the left, and of course Puddy/Gabby is sitting right. I'm holding their leashes, because they were hardly in a mood to be cooperative for a picture-takin' session. A couple of other dogs from the neighborhood were wandering into the yard, hoping to join in on what they perceived to be a social gathering. Daisy was starting to growl and wanted this damned charade to be over. Puddy - now deaf as well as mostly blind - appeared oblivious to the other canine creatures. She's looking in that direction, but made no acknowledgment of this company comin' over.

Here I am, posing with my "daughter" and "granddaughter." Honest, I so wanted to 'steal' Daisy and take her back here with us.

In the end, I made the wiser decision: staying on my mother-in-law's good side.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I still want her, though!" Gleck

01 December 2008

MG5F Privacy Policy

Time for the optionally mandated Privacy Policy applicable to all friends and visitors:

Welcome to Five Flavors of Reflection, a blog which allows one to read whatever verbal sputum is splattered forth by Mr. Talmadge Gleck (the "Borderline Retard"). The blog, comments and various thoughts therein (collectively, the "Worthless Crap") are operated by Talmadge Q. Gleck Creative Productions and its corporate affiliates (collectively, "Baptist Liquor Store Enterprises, Phone Company and Auto Salvage, Ltd.").

By accessing or using my blog (talgleck.blogspot.com) or that of Mrs. Gleck (the "Long-Suffering Wife") you (the "Pathetic Loser In Need Of A Life") signify that you have read, understand and agree to be bound by these Terms of Use ("Stupid And Pointless Rules"), whether or not you are a registered member of Blogspot (the "Suckers Who Actually Gave This Galoot A Blog") .

I reserve the right, at my sole discretion, to change, modify, add, or delete portions of these Terms of Use at any time without further notice. If I do this, you will not know about it. That's what "Taking a Wild Guess" is for. Life is full of challenges. C'mon, Cameron, live a little. I will not post any changes here. It's a big waste of time. I have better things to do than to keep up with minute modifications to Stupid And Pointless Rules.

Still, it does not relieve you of the responsibility to keep up with these secret changes.

Your continued use of the Worthless Crap after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms of Use. If you do not agree to abide by these or any future Stupid And Pointless Rules, then frankly, there's not a whole hell of a lot I can do.

This Site is intended solely for users who are thirteen (13) months of age or older, or newlywed brides of Jerry Lee Lewis. Anyone currently in high school or college should just leave now. I'm an old fart, and language like "45 RPM single", "The Gong Show" or "Musicradio WLS" will only cause your simple mind to implode. Any registration by, use of or access to the Blog by anyone under 13 months of age, or by anyone who is a registered student of any institution of secondary or higher education (unavailable in many parts of Mississippi), is highly inappropriate and will cause moral breakdown equivalent to 1,000 consecutive playings of Dr. Hook's Greatest Hits.

ANYway, if you do not fit within the set and liquid parameters of the above, then take that jar of Gerber Apricots -- but make sure the safety cap hasn't gone 'floop', otherwise you'll get a bad case of salmonella -- and go to a site of greater substance, such as tigerbeat.com.

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Good night, everybody! Stay tuned for Tattletales, next over most of these CBS stations.

--Talmadge "Legal for another year" Gleck

26 November 2008


And now I'd like to play a favorite number of the rhythm section:


After three weeks of wading through consecutive 4/10-pound drops, I surged forward this week (and a short one, at that - 6 days instead of the usual 7) with -2.0 even. Would you believe that was even while wearing a sweatshirt, meaning a few extra ounces on the frame? (Bonus: a half-pound 'gimme' for next time, if I'm wearing short sleeves, as I usually do)

Cume total: -50.8 pounds.

Now, excuse me while I do a victory dance up and down our hallway, then out in the yard for a couple of laps while Lacey, Izzy and whatzisname, the other dog across the street, all stare with cocked heads.

I wonder how many "activity points" that'd be?

I'm happy. Just six months ago, barely into WW, I could not have imagined sitting here, 50 pounds lighter. I'm 2/3 of the way to my original one-year goal of 75 pounds. I'm also halfway to the "Century Club", which I'd like to make by next Fall.

In recognizing me at tonight's meeting, our Leader asked me what was the biggest change I'd made. I told her, simply, "I no longer drink calories." She'd never heard that turn of phrase. (Thanks, Melissa).

Next Wednesday is Dad's surgery, so we'll be making a bungee trip over to Dothan. As such, there will be no weigh-in for us next week. I haven't yet missed a week outright, however I can't see any way around it this time. That I made this milestone on time (my goal was to make 50 by Thanksgiving) makes this "excused absence" easier to do, and less anxious on my part.

So, no weigh-in until Wednesday after next.

And ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Fifty Fewer Fluffs" Gleck

21 November 2008

K, W and N: Four-letter stories

Here's one of those pieces which I'm sure even the most detached from broadcast geekery can appreciate. They revolve around call letters, and how many of them can say so much -- be it about a current or former owner, the area it serves, city slogans, you name it.

Where did this fascination with call letters come from? It came about late in life, given my near lifelong obsession with radio. I was 14, and riding through Cairo, Illinois - a city at the very bottom tip of the state, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. South of the city at the extreme tip are two bridges, one leading into Kentucky and other crossing over to Missouri. A giant overhead green sign approaching the "Y" had giant initials for both states. KY | MO. Right before me answered the question of what one of my favorite radio stations stood for! KYMO in East Prairie, Mo (not far from Cairo) served that area, and referred to the states on each side of the Mississippi What a fantastic little rock blowtorch KYMO was back in the day. But I digress. (Years later, I was told that sign was removed under very heavy lobbying by the local Cairo radio station, WKRO).

First, some background: every broadcast entity is given a callsign. Originally, it was three letters, but soon it became four. Those today you see with three-letter calls -- e.g., WGN, WLS, KHJ -- are 'grandfathered' into the system.

By international treaty, the United States was given three beginning letters: K, W and N. N is used for non-broadcast purposes. Canada has C and Mexico stations begin with X.

It was decided early on to separate K and W, and the Mississippi River seemed as good a place as any to split the mix -- W calls went east of Old Man River, and the Ks went west. Again, plenty of stations predated this decision, causing anomalies like KDKA/Pittsburgh, KYW/Philadelphia, WBAP/Dallas, or WDAF/Kansas City.

While early on, the FCC assigned call letters randomly, it soon became the norm for a station to request a set of letters, and - provided they weren't taken or spelled anything naughty - were generally rubberstamped. Much like the procedure for someone getting a vanity car tag.

This post comes from just figuring out the meaning of the local TV station in Asheville, N.C., WLOS-TV. I didn't know until the other day that the area is informally known as "the Land of Sky" (which explains the name of the bowling alley down the road from our motel: Sky Bowl). WLOS = (W)onderful (L)and (O)f (S)ky. Cool, yes?

Also in that market is the NBC affiliate, WYFF Channel 4 in Greenville, S.C. It's rooted in a longtime slogan for the station: (W)e're (Y)our (F)riend (F)our. I noticed they still use that positioning line in their promo spots. Next door in Spartanburg is the CBS affil, WSPA-TV. That one shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.

New York City is home to the flagship stations for all the major broadcast networks. WABC, WCBS and WNBC. The flagship Fox station is WNYW-TV, not WFOX. Go figure. Out west, Los Angeles has the K counterparts of the network callsigns.

Here in Savannah, we have WSAV-TV and WSVH-FM, whose meanings are fairly obvious. From there, we have:
WTOC-TV ... (W)elcome (T)o (O)ur (C)ity.
WJCL-TV ... Refers to the station's founder and longtime owner, former Savannah mayor (J.) (C)urtis (L)ewis. Not coincidentally, the station was built right next door to his other business, the local Ford dealership.

Down the Georgia coast, Brunswick has a longtime radio station with one of my favorite call meanings: WMOG, paying homage to Sidney Lanier's famous poem "Marshes of Glynn", his paean to the salt marshes in Brunswick and Glynn County. (W)onderful (M)arshes (O)f (G)lynn.

In Bainbridge, the 'heritage' AM station in town is WMGR, named after a former Georgia governor who owned it years ago. (M)arvin (G)riffin (R)adio. Later, a man named James A. Dowdy bought the station, and put an FM sister on the air, naming it after himself: WJAD. That station, by the way, was for eons THE top-40 blowtorch for southwest Georgia, and my wife's childhood favorite. Sera told me Mr. Dowdy named his son "Jad", after the station.

Atlanta has WSB, the South's oldest stations - both radio and TV (and where the NBC chimes were born!). Although WSB was assigned before the FCC allowed chosen calls, a meaning was later coined: (W)elcome (S)outh, (B)rother.

WLS in Chicago refers to original owner Sears, Roebuck & Company, reflecting its then slogan (W)orld's (L)argest (S)tore. Across the street, WGN - founded by The Chicago Tribune - stands for (W)orld's (G)reatest (N)ewspaper. In Birmingham, this provided inspiration for The Birmingham News, when they bought WKBC from a local furniture store. In 1934, they rechristened their new property WSGN, for (S)outh's (G)reatest (N)ewspaper.

Country music giant WSM/Nashville got its call letters from founding owner National Life and Accident Insurance Company. Its logo was a blue shield. Hence, (W)e (S)hield (M)illions.

WMBB-TV in Panama City, Fla. utilizes its area's longtime tourism slogan, (W)orld's (M)ost (B)eautiful (B)eaches.

Many call letters cash in on their state: WALA/Mobile, WFLA/Tampa, KARK/Little Rock, to name a few.

WKNO-TV in Memphis is a very old public TV station: (W)indow of (KNO)wledge.

Atlanta's Public Radio station is WABE, owned by the (A)tlanta (B)oard of (E)ducation.

A few stations requested combinations that would be a slam-dunk for branding. Dothan, Alabama has long been home to WOOF radio. And, yes, they have a "dog" mascot, the WOOF Wolf. Plus, the station - still locally-owned today - is highly renowned for lost pet announcements, a rarity in today's broadcast environment.

In Troy, Alabama, the Troy Broadcasting Corporation, founded in the mid '40s to build a new station for the city, requested the callsign WTBC. Unfortunately, an application from elsewhere in the state, Tuscaloosa (Tuscaloosa Broadcasting Corporation), beat 'em to the punch. The FCC, by default, bumped Troy's assignment to the next available letter combination, offering them WTBF. Years later, the program director (and parttime minister, who performed our wedding ceremony) coined a meaning: (W)e're (T)roy's (B)est (F)riend. Some over the years have given the station other "creative" slogans: (W)e (T)ried (B)ut (F)ailed, or (W)e (T)oast (B)igger (F)rankfurters. But anyway.......

In my 'college home' of Jonesboro, Ark., Arkansas State College put a radio station on the air in 1957 (one of the first 'non-commercial'/public radio stations in the country). The callsign they requested? KASC. *BZZZT!!* "That has already been taken!" Yup, Arizona State College had dibs on KASC. What to do? Easy: the letters KASU were available. And, it was reasoned, the school was on the grow and someday they'd become a University! ("I'm just a college, yes I'm only a college....") And in 1967, ASC became ASU ... meaning, the radio station "became a university" before the school did!

Some other favorite call letter "stories":

Tupelo, Mississippi has two different and competing radio stations, with calls that together spell out the complete name: WTUP and WELO. And would you believe that WELO came first??

In 1989, the ne'er-do-well ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala. tried reinventing itself with a new set of calls: WHOA. (H)eart (O)f (A)labama. Are you laughing yet? WHOA. And, tired of all the ridicule, they gave in and started poking fun of themselves. Somewhere I have on tape a station ID they began running along about 1995, a clip of Yosemite Sam riding that camel - "Whoa, Camel, Whoooooooa!!!!" In 1998, they changed - yet again - to WNCF. (W)here (N)ews (C)omes (F)irst. Which is funny, because today the station does not have a news department to its name!!

Stuttgart, Arkansas is known far and wide as "duck hunting capital of the world." So it would only make sense that its local radio station proudly calls itself KWAK.

In nearby Pine Bluff, which used to be known as "Cotton Trading Capital of Arkansas", the story goes that while pondering a set of calls for a new station, its founder happened upon a sign in a hotel referring to this slogan. Quoting him, "The word 'cotton' jumped out at me in the form of call letters." And that's how KOTN got its name.

Domino's Pizza is headquartered in Detroit. And they once had a radio station on the side, hold the anchovies. Yup, you guessed it: WPZA.

Miami/Fort Lauderdale album rock station WSHE had an unforgettable slogan: "SHE's only rock and roll."

Louisiana, one of two states bisected by the Mississippi, has both K and W calls aplenty. Two stations, both founded by a former governor (James A. Noe), have the same callsign - so to speak. In New Orleans, there's WNOE. And its sister, upstate in Monroe, is KNOE.

What about call letters which reflect something no longer part of a station's image? Today, WKOR in Starkville, Miss. is a country station. Has been for a number of years now. But it started out in 1968 as a smokin', larger-than-life AM top-40. The calls referred to its slogan: (K)ing (O)f (R)ock. Heritage album rock station WBCN in Boston? It started life as a classical music station. (B)oston (C)lassical (N)etwork. KFIN/Jonesboro, Ark. has been a country station since 1980. Its previous format? Easy listening. Its 'nickname' has been K-FIN (pronounced "fine") from day one, and it meant Your (FIN)e Music Station.

Any current-day radio station with the letters "EZ" in the calls, in all likelihood had a 'beautiful music' format once upon a time.

And what about call letters of, ummmm, dubious decency? A few do exist. Of course, there's no way the FCC would allow (W/K)FUK. But what about a station licensed to Hobbs, New Mexico? They call themselves 92.9 Jill FM. Their legal call letters? KLIT. And I'm amazed the Feds actually greenlighted the calls for a small FM'er in El Jebel, Colorado: KCUF. Read it backwards.

In the '80s, an AM station in Dermott, Arkansas had the calls KAKA. And no, they did NOT position themselves as "The #2 Radio Station In Town."

Finally, I cannot end this without making note of Alabama Public Television. Its nine-station network was the nation's first interconnected educational TV system - to this day, most statewide PBS/ETV systems use the Alabama model. And all nine stations have sequential callsigns, all ending in "IQ", as in "Intelligence Quotient." WAIQ, WBIQ, WCIQ, etc.

I'm sure I can think of some more, but this getting long enough.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "WTAL? That used to be a station in Tallahassee, Florida" Gleck

20 November 2008

Call me Mr. Consistent

One day late, but I did a drive-by weigh-in tonight, and the result is more of the same: another -0.4 down. That's the third (!) week in a row I've dropped a mere 4/10ths.

I was hoping for something better, because I was true to the Format. I ate far better in Asheville than I thought I would, and didn't even go over the weekly 35.

Still, we're looking at a minus sign, and inching - slowly, it seems - toward the magic 50 brass ring.

Cume weight removed as of this afternoon: -48.8 pounds.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "1.2 left to go for 50" Gleck

Colonel's kernels: A culinary "What-If"

A really cool "roadside find" the other day in Asheville. We start with what has become one of the most famous motel postcards ever:
Yes, this is the Sanders Court & Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky, where a guy named Harlan Sanders was wowwing the travelers at the US 25-E and 25-W split with his pressure-cooked fried chicken.

But take a good look at the small print above. You see, Mr. Sanders (I'm sure most of you know that he was not a real 'colonel' ... he just played one on bucket) operated two locations of Sanders Court (okay, say it with me: "I'm a CHAAAAAIN!!").

The other property was in Asheville, also along US 25 -- indeed, a heavily-traveled arterial in those days, sharing a route alignment with US highways 19, 23 and 70.
The big highway split visible in the above postcard is still there, although now both have since been demoted to mere county roads, having long been upstaged by I-26 and I-40.

The Corbin property was long gone, demolished in 1969 -- what exists on the site today is a recreation of the original cafe. I'd heard the Asheville property had met the same fate, as well.


All this popped into my mind Sunday night after we checked into our motel in Asheville. And I consulted my guru Dr. Wolfgang Von Google, who told me it was still very much there.

Soooooo ... after we dropped off Seraphim's treehouse at the Grove Park Inn, and went back to the hotel and got Nettie, we set upon our day's adventures. First it was lunch, and then it was a nice trip up "The Old Highway" (cue Bernard Hermann's Psycho music here).

And there it was....
Wow, is all I can say. Just ... wow!

Today "Sander Court" is an unassuming collection of small apartments. Here is how the left-hand part of the spread, the part facing the highway, looks today:
And below is the right side of the property .... while the roofline has since been modified along much of the apartments, a part of it still retains the 'mini-gables' which defined both the Asheville and Corbin properties:
Now, is that cool or what ! ! !

As I took a picture of the signage out front, I wondered out loud to Sera and Nettie if the residents of this complex were aware that they were living in Colonel Sanders' old motel?

And as I further pondered the history aspect, it led me to a gigantic WHAT-IF.

You see, Harland Sanders kept largely to his 'home base' of Corbin, while one presumes he hired a manager to oversee the Asheville operations.

But what if it'd been the other way around? What if Mr. Sanders had run his cafe in Asheville instead of Corbin? That his discovery of pressure-cooking fried chicken had taken place not in Corbin, but in Asheville?

The chicken would've become famous, regardless of where he cooked it. Only the "image" would've been different. The governor of Kentucky at the time is the one who bestowed upon Mr. Sanders that state's honorary title of "Kentucky Colonel."

North Carolina, as we know, has no such equivalent. Still, I can't help but wonder just how history would've changed if Mr. Sanders hung his apron a little further south on Highway 25.

I can see it now:
The buckets probably would've still spun. The restaurants probably would've had their characteristic striped roofs. Except the stripes would be North Carolina Blue.

Yeah ... what if ..... ? ? ?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "The Original Buckethead" Gleck

19 November 2008

Clinchin' counties, state #3: South Carolina

On the way back from Asheville, we made a slight detour off I-26 for us to enter Saluda County, South Carolina. The requisite 'ceremonial picture' leaves much to be desired, though. As luck would have it, we entered the county at just enough angle to get the early afternoon sun beating down behind me.

(Word to SCDOT: I wonder if you can cram a few more signs into this assembly?)

So now I've been to all 46 counties in the Palmetto State, and my third state to "clinch." The first was my native Alabama (county #67 - Choctaw - was crossed off March 5, 2006) and then our home state of Georgia (county #159 - Hancock - was taken care of February 15th of this year).

South Carolina is now the second state my wife and I traveled entirely. What I want to do next is to "redo" those Alabama counties I haven't yet traveled with Seraphim:
The light blue counties above are "non-Sera." Only 16 left to go!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "County Counter" Gleck

18 November 2008

Forever Autumn

The Glecks are back in the pluff-fragrant surroundings of coastal Georgia. Sera has cake class tonight, and I swung by work to check on things and to retrieve a package of CDs from an aircheck trade I just did.

It was a wonderful time in Asheville. Seraphim's entry in the National Gingerbread Competition didn't place. Yes, we were disappointed. Yes, I felt sad. And yes, tears were beginning to well up as I pondered how much effort and F-bombs my wife put into her creation. But no, it was not a wasted effort. And no, it was not a bad experience on any of our parts. That Nettiemac shared in our visit to N.C. only added to the fun factor. We had a good time driving around town yesterday - that nervous period between 7:30, when we presented her entry at the venue, and 5:00, when the awards ceremony began. The three of us ate lunch at Moose Cafe .... folks, Southern cuisine comes no better. And their biscuits ....... *swoon* We spent some time rummaging through a Goodwill store .... went looking for an old landmark (which I'll be blogging about in a separate entry) ... and, of course, lots and lots of conversation. Textbook TS&N quality time.

(PS to Nettie: I watched WLOS' newscast last night ... yes, Miz Darcel looks fantastic. It's hard to believe it's the same young big-fro'ed woman I remember watching in Tupelo!)

The problem with the competition, as Nettie pointed out, was largely what I'd call "political." Yesterday evening, I received an eye-opening lesson in how their little system works. The first place honors in the adult category went to the woman who happened to be the grand prize winner for 2007 and 2006.

It's not a Christmas competition, but Sera's treehouse was one of a handful (if that many) of entries NOT about Christmas.

I'm convinced God Himself sent Melissa ("Days of Our Lives") Reeves to attend the awards ceremony, because when Sera -- a longtime DOOL fan -- spotted her, suddenly any malaise on her part pretty much lifted. And she'd noticed Sera's entry. Even took pictures of it for her kids, too.

We all live and learn. My wife - should she decide to enter the contest next November - now knows what to do and ... even more importantly ... what not to do. Our late supper at Cracker Barrel after the ceremony was spent pondering some very good, amusing and downright irreverent ideas. Nettie's right - this whole Christmas exercise is ripe for a good tweak. No, make that a bitch-tweak.

The whole thing reeked of a beauty pageant with cookies. I think that phrase - which I told Sera this morning - covers it nicely. Lots of hyper-competitive over-achieving Martha Stewart wannabes with their heavily-bling'ed houses with little to no imagination.

And lest anyone call me a sore loser, I happily rebut that it wasn't my competition. So I can say whatever I want as a mere observer (if "mere observer who shares the same bed").

There was a lot of positive to come out of this apparent negative, however. For one thing, a great deal of the attendees spent lots of time at Sera's entry. And as I thought even more about her Autumn theme, I figured that people who browsed the houses last night -- and will continue to do so as they'll all be displayed throughout this holiday season -- will 'glaze over' as they look at the Christmas bling after Christmas bling after Christmas bling, like cookie-cutter (literally!) houses ... and then see an Autumn treehouse, with its naked gingerbread and frolicking kids, only to have theirselves snapped out of their glaze.

We in radio have a name for such a reaction: The "Oh, Wow!" Factor. That treehouse will hold its own in that room. I know it will.

Tal's final answers:

1) My wife did not lose. She took part in a national competition, and in my way of thinking, "To finish is to win."

2) In nearly eight years of marriage (and closing in on 11 years of knowing Seraphim), I was never prouder to be her husband than I was yesterday.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Sugar Artist Spouse" Gleck

PS: I love Asheville ... such a stunningly beautiful place.

15 November 2008

You know, I didn't have this problem BEFORE going on WW.....

Okay, so I took Rupert King Family SUVster by one of our local tire places to get baby's shoes rotumtated. This would've been late yesterday afternoon before picking Sera up from work. It was that time, and I wanted that done before our little Asheville junket. They did an alignment check - all was okay ... and they said two of the tires were a little out of balance. Okay, so they did that, too. No charge, either, since the tires (bought there) were barely 3,000 miles old. (the Ford place told me it was wise to rotate the tires of a Ford Escape every 3k instead of the usual 5-6k. A little more inconvenient, but it never hurts)

Wellllll, no sooner than I got our fair Ford up to 55-60 MPH going out 204 toward the interstate, I began feeling not-so-good (buh! buh!) vibrations (buh! buh!) from the seat. Textbook case of one or more rear tars out of balance. Ummmm, didn't you just balance those puppies. Or did their Hunter machine exhibit the out-of-balance tendencies of Your Blogwriter?

And once I merged onto I-95 .... wellll, let's just say I had an e-mail waiting at home from Caltech with the subject line "WTF????"

Well, crap. This means I'll have to go back into friggin' town today. Not completely, though, since there's a location of this local chain in Garden City (a 'suburb' - if you can call it that - whose original name was Industrial City Gardens).

After leaving Seraphim to her own gingerbread devices, I took Puddy to "doggy camp" and headed in to Industrial City Gardens (a more appropriate name, IMO). I dropped Rupert by the tire place, and since there was to be a two hour wait. I asked if I could safely 'hold a place in line' and take 30 minutes to grab some lunch. They said it was fine, so I went down to Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was cravin' a couple of their Cravin' Filets (great sammich, stupid name). I gave my order to the indifferent and borderline-nasty lady behind the counter. Cravin' Filets, a small mashed potatoes & gravy, and a cup of water.

I saw her ring up $1.59 for said "cup of water." I told her I wanted water, not a soda. "It's $1.59 whatever you get."

My money went back into my wallet, and I said, "Cancel the order, then. I'm not paying full price for water."

Next stop, Mickey D's. I should've known better, as this is not one of the better Arch locations in our fair metro area. I gave my order, with a water to drink.

You guessed it. They too charge full ticket for plain tap water.

Again, my money went back into my wallet as I told 'em to void the whole shooting match.

The plain truth is, I will not patronize any restaurant that makes its customers pay for water (by that, I mean a cup of water from the municipal spigot - not the Dasani or Aquafina bottled stuff). Now the McDonald's here in Rincon will charge you .20 for a medium water. I grumbled about that, but realized it was okay, as they were recovering the cost of the cup. Okay, fine. Petty, but fine.

Our local KFC/Taco Bell combo (a/k/a Kentaco Fried Chalupas) doesn't charge for water. You get a small, kid-sized cup, but it's still free. None of the Chick-Fil-As here charge for water. Ditto for Zaxby's. And Arby's (although the one in Pooler, bless their souls, has Diet Mountain Dew in the fountain, so I get that).

I know soft drinks are a big profit item. But so is food. And if they want Talmadge to order any CO2-based refreshment product, they'd sure-as-schitt better carry Diet Mountain Dew, because that's now the only thing I'll drink out of a fountain.

And to think that early this year, I would've gotten the XL sized Mountain Dew at Colonel Sanders', and refilled it two, if not three times - and a fourth for the road. I'm so glad those days are over. This morning I stepped on the scale and I reached a new "nekkidweight" low: 241.8!!

I ended up going back to the tire place -- and just in time that only two tickets were ahead of me -- and left Rupert with 'em and hoofed it 3/10 mile down Highway 21 to the Carey Hilliard's. Fried scallops .... CH tea ... mmmmmmmm ..... with a couple of "activity points" for dessert.

The tires are now back in balance, all seems well, so here I am.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Nervous and Anxious Gingerbread Dad pacing the Music Room® floor" Gleck

PS: Wednesday saw the merging of many of XM and Sirius' satellite channels. And, to my everlastin' delight, the XM decades channels replaced the lackluster corresponding Sirius offerings. "60s on 6" - with its reverb, fast-talking jocks and beautiful recreations of PAMS jingles (with the original '60s-era music tracks) - is a delight to listen to. And now I can listen to the complete, uncut vintage American Top 40 countdowns on their "70s on 7" channel. Yesssssss!! :-DDDD