29 September 2008

Shuffling the deck(-sized music machine)

Here's a little game:
  • Put your music player on shuffle.
  • Post the first line (unless the first line reveals the song title) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.
  • Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and song title correctly. (Just post a comment, and I will let that serve as the record.)
  • Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
  • If you like the game, post your own
Beware: at press time, there is a total of 5,850 songs in my Tal-Pod™, covering any number of genres and formats. Here goes nothin'.......

1) "Life's created, automated, yesterday's invalidated..."
2) [spoken] "Awwww, GET A JOB??!!" "What for???" "I'm tryin' to think."
3) "I'm shuffling through the Texas sand....."
4) "Can you tell me where I might find the hydra / Is he wearing a familiar face?"
5) "Take a look at my girlfriend / She's the only one I got"
6) "We were the war children / Nineteen Forty Five"
7) "I loved you all the Summer through / I thought I found my dream in you"
8) "One day I was on the ground / When I needed a hand, and it couldn't be found"
9) "I like to get up / With my partner in crime"
10) "Stood still on a highway / I saw a woman by the side of the road"
11) "Oh I'm sorry, but it's time to move away / Though inside my heart I really want to stay"
12) "I remember all my life / Raining down as cold as ice" :-p
13) "Well I saw an old man, walking in my place / And he looked at me, it could have been my face"
14) "Make me a deal, and make it straight / All signed and sealed, I'll take it."
15) "You got a lot of nerve / To say you are my friend"
16) "Waiting in the wings / Your courage sings before you falter"
17) "When I get restless, what can I do / When I need someone, I think about you"
18) "Rock and roll is good time music / Listen to it"
19) "Such a drag, to want something sometimes / One thing leads to another, I know"
20) "It was 30 days around the horn / The captain said it's 35 more"
21) [first two lines contain title] "You stay on your side, and I'll stay on mine / You take what you want, and I'll take the sunshine / I said 'The world don't owe me no living'"
22) "....I'm so sad when you're away / I've been happy almost every day / Now that you're here to stay"
23) "Cloudy every morning / Sun don't ever shine"
24) "I had a dream, crazy dream / Anything I wanted to know, any place I needed to go"
25) "....each one seeking happiness / Thrown by three hopeful lovers"
26) "Put a candle in the window / Got a feelin', got to move"
27) "My love must be a kind of blind love / I can't see anyone but you" (that's a real gimme!)
28) "Well you walk straight ahead, but you're looking to your right / Got your eyes down low, but you hold your head high."
29) "If you ever change your mind / About leaving, leaving me behind"
30) "So you're in love with someone else / Someone who burns within your soul"

Have at it.......

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Jack THIS. I'm playing what I Want" Gleck

PS: Answer key can be found on "The 6th Flavor"

Our dog isn't spoiled, why do you ask?

Photo-op, about 10 minutes ago:
Lately, Puddy has developed an irritating habit of "nesting" -- scratching the carpet with her paws, trying to fluff it up for for queenly body's comfort.

So the other day I took one of the extra throw pillows from the living room and placed it in the Music Room™ doorway.

Ya gotta love her.

-Tal

27 September 2008

Losing horns!

Regarding the Mega Millions numbers we bought last night with that found spare change:

We matched a grand total of ZERO. Not a single digit from either our regular numbers or the Quik-Pik. Wish there was a small payout for matching zero numbers (like there is with the Georgia Lottery's "Keeno" game).

Guess that means we have to work another week............

--Talmadge "There's always tonight's WIN FOR LIFE drawing" Gleck

26 September 2008

Unigeria States of America

Found this on another blog .... I love it! -TG

SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

DEAR AMERICAN:

I NEED TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AN URGENT SECRET BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE.

I AM MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. MY COUNTRY HAS HAD CRISIS THAT HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR LARGE TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF 800 BILLION DOLLARS US. IF YOU WOULD ASSIST ME IN THIS TRANSFER, IT WOULD BE MOST PROFITABLE TO YOU.

I AM WORKING WITH MR. PHIL GRAM, LOBBYIST FOR UBS, WHO WILL BE MY REPLACEMENT AS MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY IN JANUARY. AS A SENATOR, YOU MAY KNOW HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE AMERICAN BANKING DEREGULATION MOVEMENT IN THE 1990S. THIS TRANSACTIN IS 100% SAFE.

THIS IS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY. WE NEED A BLANK CHECK. WE NEED THE FUNDS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE CANNOT DIRECTLY TRANSFER THESE FUNDS IN THE NAMES OF OUR CLOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY UNDER SURVEILLANCE. MY FAMILY LAWYER ADVISED ME THAT I SHOULD LOOK FOR A RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERSON WHO WILL ACT AS A NEXT OF KIN SO THE FUNDS CAN BE TRANSFERRED.

PLEASE REPLY WITH ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, IRA AND COLLEGE FUND ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO WALLSTREETBAILOUT@TREASURY.GOV SO THAT WE MAY TRANSFER YOUR COMMISSION FOR THIS TRANSACTION. AFTER I RECEIVE THAT INFORMATION, I WILL RESPOND WITH DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT SAFEGUARDS THAT WILL BE USED TO PROTECT THE FUNDS.

YOURS FAITHFULLY MINISTER OF TREASURY PAULSON

Nickeled and Dimed in northeast Rincon

So the missus and I took a nice, leisurely stroll through our neighborhood, starting with a walk to the end of our cul de sac and back, and then in the other direction toward the convenience store about 1/4 mile from the house.

Not 20 yards from our driveway, right in the middle of the street, Seraphim spotted the first dime. Cool! Who can gripe about 'found money'? Then I saw two nickels nearby. And no sooner than I'd stooped to pick those up, Sera found another dime. Then another. And a nickel. We found them along our street, plus in the grass area between the curb and sidewalk. It was like Easter Egg hunting! "There's another!", one of us would say, with the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old finding a plastic egg with candy inside.

Somebody must've had a hole in their pants and lost some of their lunch money on the way to the bus stop. Or else the Money Fairy was shining on us this evening.

When we harvested enough change to make a buck, we decided to drop it on a "Mega Millions" ticket for tonight's drawing. Then, heading back toward the house, we found another bonanza on the other side of the street!

The total take from our streetside find? $1.95, all in nickels and dimes.

We then started walking toward the Texaco store, hoping to find another five-cent piece, so we could get TWO Lotto draws.

Once in the parking lot of the store, Seraphim spotted a grimy-looking dime. Hey, it spends just as well, right?

So with our "free" two dollars, we bought a couple of "Mega Millions" tickets - one with our regular numbers and a "quik-pik."

What did we do with the remaining five cents?

I felt generous. In the spirit of returning some good karma, I threw the nickel into the parking lot. After making a wish, of course.

Wouldn't it be cool if one of those ends up being the big winner? This would be one great story to tell!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Somehow I don't think this is the 'change' our presidential candidates were talking about" Gleck

24 September 2008

A nice, round, even deuce.

Consider yourselves lucky that U.S. Highways 41 and 43 do not intersect. Otherwise, you'd be looking at a picture of the sign assembly where they cross, and a bit about how I've turned off of Highway 41 onto Highway 43. Or, for our Northern friends, Route 41 onto Route 43. (And if you're one of those California weirdos, "turn off the 41 and get on the 43.")

I guess you can gather by now that I have dropped an even -2.0, and my Pound-O-Meter™ now indicates an even 43 pounds. Better than I would've thought ... right now, I'm taking anything with a "-" sign in front of it until I head for the 'Ham late next week. I like that I'm further into the 40s, because after my backslide - in which I hope to gain no more than 1.5-2 pounds - I'll still be over 40 down. "Scaring Away 45" looks awfully good from here.

Which reminds me, I looked at a package of mellocreme pumpkins this evening (my big "seasonal sweet-tooth weakness", I've always loved 'em), and saw where it's 3 points for just seven of 'em. Well, crap - THAT's a fine "trick or treat."

*********
We had a "substitute leader" this evening. Frankly, I like her more than any of the other leaders (3) I've experienced. I wish she'd stay -- I rather liked the sedateness. The one we have now on Wednesday nights is nice and no doubt has a good and sweet heart ... but, dadburnit, I cannot take a whole lot of her brand of enthusiasm. You'd have to see it to appreciate; it's like a female version of Richard Simmons on a sugar rush. It comes across .... wellll, phony.

And here's where I am fixin' to delve further into the bluntness. Sometimes I think attending the meetings are a big waste of my time. Just like in Rincon, there are no other men at this meeting. And just like in Rincon, there are few 'regulars' -- it seems like we're the only constants. The applause -- "Talmadge lost TWO POUNDS .... " *clap, clap, clap* The applause from those who don't know me from Adam's housecat just smacks of .... wellll, phoniness.

I don't know. I applaud when I hear of their weekly successes, and I am genuinely happy for them, and wish them nothing but success wherever their journeys take them. And those people, who don't know ME from said feline, I'm sure wish the same for me. All and good and I shouldn't be so snarky about it.

The thing is, I get nothing from the applause. MY satisfaction comes primarily from that number on the scale, the positive words I'll hear from the receptionist (whom I like), and posting the weigh-in results on the blog. All too often I find myself chomping at the bit to get home and make this weekly post.

Meetings are usually "chick fests", and for some inexplicable reason I have lately found myself feeling very loose in there ... making jokes and other attempts at witty (or what rhymes with that word) banter. I'm usually quite introverted in unfamiliar company, but not lately in the WW room. I don't get it.

In any event, I think it's just me. I pondered this out loud to The Luffly Seraphimesque One on the way home tonight, and it occurred to me that my "support system" - apart from The Woman Who Shares My Bed - are those of you who read this thing. I'm accountable to all of you. Bolivar ... Kate/Susan ... Melissa ... and, most of all, Nettiemac and her brother (who just hit his 50 pound milestone)

LET'S HEAR IT FOR LOSING 50 POUNDS!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!! (Oops, sorry - I was channeling our WW leader)

The support you all have given is what helps me in this journey. Not a bunch of strangers I'll probably never see again.

I'm doing well so far in my current path. And, as Casey Kasem used to say, "The hits get bigger as the numbers get smaller."

PS: And, incidentally, 41 and 43 do come close in Tennessee. 41 passes through Nashville where US-43's northernmost point is in Columbia, roughly 50 miles to the south. So there.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "252.2" Gleck

19 September 2008

Our sweet, elderly baby.....

Just a couple of pictures to share. We can never take too many pictures of Puddy:
Above is our attentive, well-traveling Sweetie Girl on her way to Grandmommy & Poppa's in Albany a couple of weeks back. And below is a cellphone quickie-shot I grabbed earlier this week as she was all curled up in her usual "Tal-side" spot in the music room doorway:
It was rather dark in the hallway, so the color temp is a bit off. Oh well.

Consider yourself Puddy-rolled.

--Talmadge "Pet Daddy" Gleck

17 September 2008

Looks like I owe Miz Kate/Susan a buck.....

Weigh-in tonight. And I'm down -2.8 ..... blowing up my latest goal of 40 pounds dropped by October 1, a/k/a "40 by the 'Ham", by two weeks.

My cume as I begin Week #20 in Weight Watchers: exactly 41 pounds.

I don't know how I did it, but I did. The only thing I want between now and my trip to Birmingham next month is not to have any plus signs. That's all I want.

Meanwhile, meet my new goal: "SCARIN' AWAY 45." Here's hoping I can drop down to the psychologically important 250 mark by the end of October. Better yet, 249.9!

Even with my "Birmingham backslide" built into the matrix, I feel confident about this one.

*********
I am now 34.2 pounds away from my initial one-year goal of 75 pounds. That's what I set for myself when I first went on WW.

I'm 54.3 pounds shy of having - for the first time in more than 19 years - a weight beginning with a "1."

And, were I to decide to up the ante to an even 100 pounds, I'm now 59 pounds away from that number.

*********
I did some number-crunching this evening. I've removed 41 pounds after 19 weeks doing WW. Lopping off the first week and its 6-pound first week drop (water weight), and dividing 35 by 18, I find that I have removed 1.9444 pounds per week.

My incremental goals call for weekly drops varying between 0.8 and 1.6 per week. But were I to keep dropping weight at the above average (1.9444), I will be down the following:

New Year's Eve: 29 pounds (total of 70 pounds!)
44th Birthday: approx. 39 pounds (total of 80 pounds!)

And at that average, by the time May 5, 2009 rolls around - one year since joining WW - I'd be down 105 pounds.

Holy schitt.

On that note, ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "254.2" Gleck

16 September 2008

So easy, even a near-insolvent....??

News item: Insurance company AIG is on the cusp of bankruptcy, and will be receiving $85 billion in gumment loan guarantees. (Talk about curb service!)

In our mail today: A pitch from AAA to switch to their car insurance, which is run by ... AIG.

Uh huh.

12 September 2008

In memory of "The OLD Sears"

Tonight, while shopping for some pants that'll actually stay on my ass, we visited Sears. And after a nice case of sticker-shock (forty-@#$%ing-six dollars? *snort*), we wandered around the store. I thought, long as we were in Sears, that we'd browse the bicycles. I'm now looking for a bike .... I'm so jonesin' for a two-wheeled apparatus that it ain't funny. And wouldn't it be cool to have one from Sears, even though it wouldn't have been their "Free Spirit" house brand.

Guess what: No bikes. Plenty of uber-expensive ellipticals and treadmills, but no bicycles.

Sears without bicycles? Say it ain't so.

But that's not the only thing that got me all depressed. It started when we entered the store late this afternoon. I looked above me, and what I didn't see pretty much ruined my day -- as if the ka-ching of our greedy, speculating gas cartel hadn't already done so:
Where's the classic Sears overhead portal??!! Where did it go????

It's a good thing I had the foresight to get a picture of this back in May, the last time I was at this Sears store:
Pictured above is the longtime Sears portal, as it appeared over each and every entrance to a Sears department store. "Sears, Roebuck And Co. Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back." It's a big part of my life. I never paid it much attention growing up, as it was always there. You know, like the golden arches of McDonald's.

Or at least my "id" didn't give it much thought. Obviously, it was certainly deeply entrenched in the subconscious. Again, it was a big part of my life. It spoke, "Welcome to the Great American Department Store." Sears' sign did what no Wal-Mart door greeter could ever do: make you feel truly welcomed. And those words "Satisfaction guaranteed" were more than a slogan, too.

Sears, Roebuck and Company, most of you know, was the retailer which kept a roof over our heads, food in our mouths, and ...... clothed ..... for our entire childhood. My Dad worked for Sears from 1965 through 1993. From a lowly paint salesman in Huntsville, Alabama to a highly-regarded store manager in North Little Rock, Ark. When Dad retired, he went out on top; he was cited as being one of the top ten store managers in the entire Sears chain, in terms of sales and profit.

Well, as much as Sears has changed, and not much of it for the better, I took great comfort in the two remaining door portals at the Savannah store in Oglethorpe Mall, no doubt dating back to the store's opening along with the mall in 1969.

I'm glad I took a picture of it, because this evening, it was no longer there. Replaced by an empty pane of glass. At first I thought, "maybe there was a mishap, and the other one near the lawn and garden department is still there." I went to see if it was, and it too had been replaced.

Why do I feel like these modern-day companies are doing their damnest to rid themselves of any "heritage" appointments? Would that I could as easily do the same to my first marriage.

*********
As we walked around the "fitness equipment" area, I looked across the main walkway to the paint department. It looked empty and forlorn, with a few color cards and a scant selection of gallon paint cans.

My mood plummeted. I found myself 'morphing' that paint section into the way it looked in 1969. Back when that department had a name of its own: The Color House. Back when there would be someone sitting there, awaiting a customer. And Sears workers, back then, were trained in their areas. Dad, too. Anyone buying Sears "Easy Living" house paint in Huntsville, Ala. in 1968 probably bought it from my Dad. And he helped them out, knowing of what he spoke, and armed them with all the information they needed to make smart choices.

I walked toward another section of that store, and I was stopped by the first "employee" I saw. She asked if Sera and I were homeowners. I said we were, knowing what was fixin' to follow.

The woman was a rep for "Sears Home Improvement." (uhhhh-UH??!!) She was peddling windows. I told her we were plenty happy with XP and had no interest in "upgrading" to Vista.

If you think that joke is bad, there's plenty more where that came from.

Anyhoo, I told her our windows date back to the ancient days of 2003.

Meanwhile, I saw only one (1) employee in that entire section. And he had a look on his face emptier than ones' wallet after buying gas this weekend.

My next gaze was toward the back wall of Lawn & Garden (after which I saw the other portal glass replaced), and - again - my "morphing mind" envisioned a part of the wall where the Allstate Insurance kiosk would've sat. Sears used to own Allstate, and all stores had a little desk where one could buy insurance, pay premiums, or make claims. Trivia: Allstate was originally Sears' house brand of tires - and, for a short time, CARS. From there, the name was lent to the retailer's venture into insurance.

Back then it wasn't just Allstate that made you feel like you were in "good hands." All of Sears' employees made you feel like a valued customer.

At that point - for reasons I cannot fathom - I looked up toward the ceiling. And that's just about the only part of that store which retained any vestige of "classic Sears." The recessed light fixtures had a plastic or metal 'grid' formation over the florescent tubes. Just like '60s and '70s era Sears stores I remembered.

Finally, I gently hinted toward my wife that I really wanted to get out of there. I had to leave, because I was getting plum' morose. I still needed some jeans, and we hadn't yet eaten supper. The stomach was going, "Feed me points. Must have points. Carey Hilliard's fried scallops. Now."

*********
Want to see just what we've lost as a country? This picture speaks thousands of words toward that end:

This could've been any family in the '60s, walking out of the Heart of Huntsville Mall
with paint which my Dad helped them select and mix.

(photo credit: pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot.com)


So what happened to Sears?? I believe the downfall can be traced back to the 1980s, due to a host of bad decisions at the corporate level. In the early '90s, they made changes to the way they paid employees, ditching the time-honored "seniority" model. Sears made lots of cutbacks, giving golden-parachutes to scores of managers (Dad was one), leaving behind poor-excuses for retail people, not to mention forays into telemarketing and other "independent direct-sales."

Time was you were never far from a Sears employee no matter where you were in the store ... now, you're likely to be closer to the anchor-store at the other end of the mall than you are to anybody to give you the time of day in a Sears store. That is, except for "home improvement" peddlers.

They used to have a first-rate auto service department (and even once upon a time sold gasoline), but the pressures to sell-sell-sell made the auto mechanics start cutting corners and ripping consumers off ... remember the lawsuits back in the '90s? Today, it's just tires and batteries. Seeing the auto center at "Uglythorpe" Mall adds to this melancholy casserole: if one looks closely enough, remnants of the original gas pump islands can be seen out front on the White Bluff Road side.

I'd give anything short of my wife and son to go back in time to a Sears store in the late '60s or early '70s. When the store had a snack bar - "The Coffee House" - the candy counter (with the best candy corn this side of Brach's!), when they sold gasoline, had a RECORD section ... when Sears was truly a department store. The Sears catalog was the bible of most rural-dwellers ... serving multiple duty from providing a way to the finer things in life to soft-porn diversions (the lingerie pages) to the ultimate use: as proto-Charmin! You could even buy CARS and HOUSES at one time. Richard Nixon's residence in Yorba Linda, California was a Sears-bought house!

Of course, not all Sears memories were GOOD ... as a Sears child, my legs walked many a mile in "Toughskins" jeans (with the reinforced knees), and I had several "Winnie the Pooh" garments. I even remember that one Christmas my brother and I got matching "Tigger" pajamas:

Christmas 1971, Tupelo. Our new house we'd moved into just days before
(note the lack of curtains on the windows!). I'm the Tigger on the left.
hoo-hoo-h'HOOOO!!!


Hard as it is to believe in this day and age, there was a time when Sears stocked just ITS OWN merchandise. You couldn't buy a Sony or an RCA telly ... only your choice of the many different "Silvertone" models (the Sears nameplate for its radio and TV sets ... and guitar amps and musical instruments, back when they sold 'em). Other "house names" included Free Spirit (bicycles), Hilary (tents and outdoor gear), Ted Williams (sporting goods), Coldspot (appliances), Kings Road (mens' clothes), Junior Bazaar (womens' wear), the list goes on.

Sears' Christmas catalog was called The Wish Book. And you know that puppy went into our hands the day it hit the stores.

You heard no "[BOONG!!] BRENDA, PICK UP ON THE GREEN LINE!" announcements, as you do endlessly in Wal-Mart .... instead there was a Morse-code style of paging you'd hear over the PA system. In Tupelo, Dad's code was one long chime, followed by four quick chimes. The sound of those chimes, for me, was a factor which helped define the whole Sears shopping experience back in the day.

Well, the coffee shops had disappeared by the late '70s, the chimes were gone by the early '80s, and the gas pumps out front eventually went dry. And the last time I had a heavenly bag of Sears candy corn, I was probably all of 11 years old (1976).

Back in my early teenaged years, when I was slaying dragons, I wondered out loud why Sears didn't carry BRAND NAMES! Why couldn't Mom whip out that Sears Card and get my brother and me some spiffy Nike tennis shoes??

"Be careful what you wish for, Talmadge." Sears soon did just that. The concept was called "Brand Central." Sears began carrying brand names, and soon most of the house names were on their way out.

And that, in my humble', is when Sears, Roebuck & Company jumped the shark. That was the beginning of the end, I'm afraid. Sears began to wilt. At some point in the mid-ish 1990s, Wal-Mart surged past Sears to become the nation's #1 retailer!

Sears used to stand behind what it sold. If you bought a Silvertone console color TV, and something went wrong, Sears sent one of their repairmen to your home - driving teal-colored vans emblazoned with the words "SEARS National Service Fleet" - to return your set to good health.

*********
Today, Sears still has a hold on me, even in its pathetic present-day form. If I make a trip to any shopping mall, whether here or anywhere else, I always park next to Sears and enter the mall that way ... strictly out of force-of-habit.

Today, Sears barely manages to compete with the likes of Best Buy, Circuit City, JCPenney or Lowe's. Their only aces in the hole are their remaining store brands: Kenmore, Craftsman and Die Hard. Without those, Sears may as well be just another closet in the mall instead of an anchor store.

Why has Sears - the greatest name in retail history - allowed itself to wither away to such a terrible joke?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Sears Brat" Gleck

The baggy look's gotta go.

So I was in the market for a new pair of Levi's. My size 42 pants (or, as Big John used to call 'em, "britches") are all beginning to look a bit, well, baggy. And the belt I'm wearing can now barely hold 'em up.

This is a good problem, of course. After picking up the wifely one from work, we went shopping for me a new pair of jeans, size 38. I'm buying just one pair, since I'm in a state of transition. I'll wear 'em two days, then wash. And hopefully they'll last until early into '09, when I can fit into some 34s.

The first place we went was Sears. Why, I don't know. No, of course I know. Holdover loyalty. I have a lot to say about Sears, and will do so very shortly.

Once inside Sears, I went to the Levi's section, and saw a good, comfy-looking pair of 38/30s .... with a price tag of $46.00. Yes, forty-six dollars. Jeezuz cripes, freakin' TRACTOR SUPPLY in Rincon had Levi's for $31. But I didn't buy 'em yesterday because the checkout line was too long and I wanted to get home before daybreak.

And no, the Levi's were not on sale.

I ended up getting a pair down the mall at Belk, for $34.00. Now instead of looking like a damned bum in risk of violating the 'no-sag' rule in Savannah, I'll have some "tighter" pants to wear - at least for now. And soon we'll be back to sagging.

Peace out, Holmes. And ciao for niao.

--Gangsta Gleck

Porked at the pump

Yesterday, gas at both Enmark and Gate (Ga. 21 & Fort Howard Rd.) went from 3.61/9 to 3.68/9 to 3.79/9 by last night. I started hearing rumors that gas - with the wholesale price jacking up to above 4 bucks a gallon - would soon be going for upwards of five bucks by this weekend.

I did what any right-thinking bumpkin would do: I topped off the tank of Rupert. And I asked Seraphim to do the same on her way home ... she filled up for $3.69/9, giving us two full-tanked cars for today.

This morning, gas at Fort Howard & 21 was up to $3.99/9. Then, tracking gasbuddy.com (savannahgasprices.com) all day, I saw Enmark go up from there, first to $4.19/9, then $4.29/9, and finally the current price of $4.39/9 as I sit here.

All this BEFORE this hurricane makes landfall.

I'd love to see some serious lawsuit action going on if Ike doesn't do the damage the oil barons hope it'll do (yes, you read right).

Of course, that won't happen. They'll drag their feet with any repairs, and the prices will stay as high as possible ... until close to election day, of course.

And Barack Obama would have a good opportunity to mint some political capital on this, but you and I both know he won't. The Democrats are too much the pansies, as usual.

*********
Gunga Jim Cantore is -- you guessed it -- in Galveston. And that cameraperson is having to stand far away, because of Mr. Gunga's ..... well, you know ..... that growth he always gets whenever hurricanes hit (credit Sera for that joke).

And I'm recording TWC's coverage as I sit here, just in case what I've talked about (live decapitation or impaling) actually happens.

Of course, prayers are in order for all those residents in for a night of sheer hell. Including a former colleague of mine in Atlanta, who recently relocated to Houston.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Sore Butt" Gleck

10 September 2008

Good news, but even better for the missus

I'll let her share the news on her end, but as for me I'm a bit perplexed. Just as last week, I went into the weigh-in expecting a fractional drop - or, as I've long feared, my first "unscheduled" gain.

And yet again, the numbers were a big surprise. This week, I'm down -1.4 pounds.

One of three things is happening:
1) The scale on the southside is calibrated far below the bathroom scale.
2) The bathroom scale is beginning to screw up.
3) I'm dropping weight during the day.

I ate very light today, as always, and this time I had a weekend where I might've bent things a little bit. Not a whole lot, but well into the single digits. We were in Troy for the weekend, so there was a little more eating out than usual. While I conscientiously tried my best to stay in Format, I'm sure I might've left something out, or miscounted a thing or two.

As last week, I'll take it and run. This means I'm at a total removal of -38.2. I'm 1.8 pounds away from my Birmingham goal of 40 pounds dropped. Three meetings between now and then, which means I can hit it with a mere 0.6 pound a week. That is, if the fates don't intervene and start playing their "goal games."

*********
Mom & Dad noticed. Well, Dad did. Saturday morning, at the breakfast table, he said "Have you lost weight??" I think they're shocked. But they're proud. All and good, but this isn't for them. It's for me.

And so far "for me" is closing in on forsaking 40 pounds.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "257 even" Gleck

03 September 2008

Another "Take-it-and-run" week

I thought this would be a 'plateau' week .... either a minuscule drop, or an outright gain. I pretty much played by the rules, except for giving myself 8 extra points to play with over the weekend for the donated blood last Thursday. Other than that, I was straight 'n' narrow little Weight Watcher.

Today I ate lunch a little later than usual (tuna and 2 points' worth of saltines), right at 3 hours before weigh-in. Couldn't get to lunch before that, and my stomach told me explicitly that it was not about to make it 'till after the meeting.

So, I step on the scale fully expecting to see my first "+" sign. Guess again. The WW scale came back with a drop of -1.6 .... truly and verily, I cannot bitch.

The running total as I begin Week 18: -36.8

Wow, I wonder if it's possible to lose weight over the course of a day?

I'm now 3.2 pounds away from my next goal of 40 by the first of October. Four weeks in which to do it, which means - and you're reading it here first - that while I might have another good week for next Wednesday (09/10), that the following two - 09/17 and 09/24 - will be teeny-tiny drops. I'll bet you a dollar to a dozen Haven't-Had-'Em-Since-April Krispy-Kremes that I won't hit 40 early.

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I have no nails left to bite. This Hard-Hearted Hanna (The Vamp of Savannah) is playing with our minds. As of now, the models and NHC forecast keep nudging the storm's track further eastward. It looks at this point like either Myrtle Beach, Wilmington or the OBX will get this one.

But is the worrying over? Ohhhhh no. Then we have Ike. The sound of that name. That's a storm which says "Which coastal area shall be my Tina Turner?"

Savannah hasn't had a major hurricane landfall since the 1890s. The last tropical system to really affect this area was David in 1979, and it was a Cat-1 storm. What has me royally worried is how damned COMPLACENT these people are. They have no idea that just because it's been more than 100 years doesn't mean it'll be another hundred.

Bottom line: you flip a coin 25 times and all 25 it comes up heads. What are the odds the next flip will be tails? Same as the other times: 50%

Now where's the nearest Home Depot?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "258.4" Gleck