29 October 2008

How often does THIS happen??

It's another Wednesday Night At The Scale! This week, I logged a -1.2 drop, for a total of -47.6 fewer pounds on my person.

Now get this: my cume removal as of this week matches the last digits of my weight! 247.6 pounds. Is that cool or what??

Tonight it occurred to me just how close I am to crossing the 50-pound threshold. I'm 2.4 pounds away from that celebratory milestone. I was hoping to do this before Thanksgiving, so that looks very, very promising.

And next week (Wednesday, November 5) marks six months since joining Weight Watchers. I hold no delusions that I'll be down 2.4 pounds to make an even 50, but when has it ever hurt to dream?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Anyone for 60 pounds by year's end?" Gleck

PS: At tonight's meeting there was (*horrors!!*) another male lifeform in there. Appears he and his wife have joined up. My fingers are crossed that they'll be regular attendees.

23 October 2008

1985: View from inside the dumpster

Oh, no one left alive in Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five will ever do.
-Paul McCartney

Let's skip forward one year, one week, and one month and take a look at the American Top 40 chart action in the dog days of Summertime 1985. It's purely coincidental that I happened upon the countdown which ran the week my first luv had a most unceremonious ending.

All that was sweet and celebratory in May 1984 was the exact opposite during the week ending July 6, 1985. I was at Arkansas State taking a couple of Summer term classes, and living in the (nasty, and now thankfully long-gone) Delta Hall dorm -- shaped like a swastika. Scout's honor.

Things with Christi were not so good. Summer '84 was a long time ago, and there were a lot of underlying problems - many of my own making.

I didn't have a phone in the dorm room. But my friend Amy - a grad student from Tennessee who lived in a trailer in nearby Indian Park (non-dorm "housing" for unmarried students) - had one. And Christi was going to call me on the afternoon on Tuesday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. We had what you'd call "appointment phone conversations." Just how did we survive without cellphones and e-mail??

It's amazing what the mind recalls. I was seated at Amy's little kitchen table, my eyes staring at a folded lawn chair tucked between the table and the wall, as Christi said, "I don't know how to tell you this......"

Dumped for someone else. And, as it turned out, she was not going to transfer to ASU after all. Good, I thought. At least I won't have memories of her all around me. I won't have to look at her. I can put this behind me. I'm four hours away from Rot Springs.

Guess again. And July 1985 came flooding back last week when my son called me all despondent. I cringed at the pain in Tiger's voice as he was begging me in a way he'd never done before, to come live with Sera and me. "I hate this town. Everything here reminds me of Jes." Seems his girlfriend - his First Love® - upped and moved to Tennessee to live with her mother.

These memories formed a voice of wisdom as I assured my offspring, "Son, trust me ... moving here is not going to erase her memory. I know from experience."

So this post is dedicated to my son Tiger. He's been feeling exactly what I felt at the time Casey counted down the below hits.

Oh, and the relationship lasted the exact sum of 1 year, 1 month, 1 week and 1 day. May 25, 1984 - July 2, 1985. It's hard to forget a stat like that.

*********
1985 was the year I began "hitting the wall." That meaning a time when a person can no longer relate to the majority of current hit songs. I'd keep one foot, off and on, in top-40 for a few years, however 1984 was the last year I actively kept up with the pop charts and what all was on 'em.

At this point, I was rebellious against top-40. I was angry because one of the coolest album rock stations ever, "Rock-103" in Memphis, died back in March. An original Lee Abrams "Superstars" AOR like Atlanta's old 96 Rock (their logos were very similar), Rock 103 was the station I listened to 95% of the time at ASU, until a new, AOR-hating program director took over and flipped the station to full-tilt high-energy CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio). Z-103 it was called.

The original Rock 103 is not at all to be confused with the present-day incarnation, a Clear Channel owned joke, your typical waste of FM spectrum.

Summertime 1985 was agony for this 20-year-old. Christi was taken away from me, Rock 103 and AOR were taken away from me, and - like a bitter syrup in the wound - COCA-COLA was taken away from me. This was the Summer of New Coke. Not even the cases of old Coke I'd hoarded from the Safeway in Jonesboro could patch together the shards of my heart, all shattered like that beer bottle I walked on a few months earlier.

No sex. No drugs. No rock & roll. Well, this sucks, Beavis.

Whoooookay. Let's start counting down the songs from this schitty week in my life (holy crap, was I that full of drama in July '85??)........

The following four songs dropped off the chart to make way for this week's debuts:
AXEL F THEME / Harold Faltermeyer (good riddance)
WAKE UP NEXT TO YOU / Graham Parker & The Shot (yeah, just twist that blade, pal)
NEVERENDING STORY / Limahl (kajagoogoo goo, and your little flying dog-like creature, too)
FRESH / Kool & The Gang (no, I was a sophomore)

*40) NOT ENOUGH LOVE IN THE WORLD / Don Henley
Henley's second solo album, Building the Perfect Beast, was a staple of my college record shelf. It came out during my first semester at A-State, and its first hit single was the wonderful and still-magical-after-all-these-years "The Boys of Summer." After "All She Wants To Do Is Dance", we had NELITW. This was my second favorite cut on the album.

39) EVERYTHING SHE WANTS / Wham!
Just what the hell did "Choose Life" mean? Was George Michael a militant "log cabin" anti-abortionist? Or was he shilling for the breakfast cereal? Perhaps the board game? (and no, there's nothing in the rules that said you couldn't put two blue pegs in the same car. Sarah Palin was just a college sorority beauty queen, and reading Mein Kampf during her spare time. No, wait. She doesn't read anything with a spine and a cover. Never mind.)

Hated the song. George Michael's smarmy, toothy face was the personification of my lack of rock & roll on the radio.

And whatever became of Andrew Garfunkel Ridgeley, anyway?

*38) FIND A WAY / Amy Grant
Fundamentalist types were horrified when Miz "Baby Baby" breached The Wall of Jericho and recorded a "mainstream AC" album. It was okay as a song, but it still had the baggage of Amy Grant. I cannot stomach the woman; she reminds me too much of the whole culture of CCM. And "contemporary christian" music makes my ears bleed worse than a thousand playings of "Karma Chameleon."

37) SUDDENLY / Billy Ocean
"You wake up, and suddenlyyyyy ..... you're a man-me-down for a future girlfriend."

36) LITTLE BY LITTLE / Robert Plant
An island of pleasant listening in this long, hot Summer. Plant's third solo album was called Shaken 'n Stirred, and was quite the departure from his more Zeppelin-shaded efforts. One of my two favorite songs on this list.

*35) POWER OF LOVE / Huey Lewis & The News
Fire up the Flux Capacitor and set the cruise control for 88 MPH. I wanna go back in time, back to before July 2, so I could screw with the space-time continuum. Or forward in time so I could skip certain eras of my life and go directly to Seraphim.

*34) FREEWAY OF LOVE / Aretha Franklin
My heart's freeway was more like I-30 in Arkansas ... or I-95 in South Carolina.

And no button copy, either. Christi dun ripped out all dem sweet reflector-thingys.

33) WHAT ABOUT LOVE? / Heart
Indeed.

32) YOU SPIN ME ROUND (LIKE A RECORD) / Dead Or Alive
"What's a record?", I can hear any 20-year-old punks who hear this, ummm, record.

That's what I still call songs. Records. Even though they may never have ever seen the bottom of a vinyl pressing machine.

31) WHO'S HOLDING DONNA NOW? / Debarge
Yeah, just wiggle that dagger like a joystick. My mind's ear didn't hear "Donna", but "Christi."

30) POSSESSION OBSESSION / Hall & Oates
Some songs are better left unheard.

29) NEVER SURRENDER / Corey Hart
My heart was singing this song. Like a damned fool, it was. That's what it gets for wearing blinders at night instead of sunglasses.

28) CANNONBALL / Supertramp
A really underrated hit song ... I didn't like it much at first, but it quickly grew on me.

27) PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE / Depeche Mode
What is "Depeche" and how do I switch out of that mode? I'd rather hear real instruments.

26) GETCHA BACK / The Beach Boys
They might play real instruments, but it doesn't change the fact that they were a washed-up group, milking their past glory. Without Brian Wilson, forget it. Worthy only because it isn't "Kokomo."

"If memories were all I sang / I'd rather drive a truck." -Rick Nelson

25) BANG A GONG (GET IT ON) / Power Station
Electricity does not trump a T-Rex. Indeed, one of them big dinosaurs could tear up a set of transmission lines faster than you could say "Sinclair."

24) JUST AS I AM / Air Supply
Are you still here?? I thought I asked you all to leave!!

23) SHOUT / Tears For Fears
Another fine "song from the big chair." Consider this the ottoman to my heart's Dick Van Dyke.

22) TOUGH ALL OVER / John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band
The bleeding shards were heard saying, "I know that's right."

21) 19 / Paul Hardcastle
No, that's not a stuck CD laser. The song is supposed to sound like that.

20) IN MY HOUSE / Mary Jane Girls
Not in mine. Please leave.

19) WALKING ON SUNSHINE / Katrina & The Waves
If there's anything I cannot stand, it's whiny, plodding ballads like this. Poor Katrina. It's not her fault the Gods of Hurricane Namers pulled her name out of the bag. It's not as if a plastic bicycle tag with her name on it was easy to find at your friendly roadside Stuckey's....

18) SMUGGLER'S BLUES / Glenn Frey
Another song from the poor man's Don Henley. Meh, meh, a thousand times meh.

17) CRAZY IN THE NIGHT / Kim Carnes
Subtitled "Barking at Airplanes." I think this was her last single. In 1985, "Bette Davis Eyes" was a disappearing speck in her career's rear-view mirror. Like that little white dot in the middle of old TV picture tubes after you turn off the set.

16) THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER / Howard Jones
Oh, oh, ohhh-whooh, whooaaa-whoa, whoooooo-ooooa ... it's a song of inspiration. It, like the forthcoming song "Broken Wings", had lyrics I could relate to in 1985.

15) SENTIMENTAL STREET / Night Ranger
Two blocks from the end of Lonely Street and the Heartbreak Hotel (now a "Budget Inn" owned by Coloneltomparker Patel). To get here, take Exit 15 off the Freeway of Love.

14) EVERYBODY WANTS TO CHANGE THE WORLD / Tears For Fears
First hit for this so-very-'80s duo. I liked it .... first time I ever heard this was driving back to Jonesboro from a Spring Break week visiting Gran Lera. I heard it through the static along I-65 north of Clanton, Ala. as I was losing the late great WLSQ-AM "95 ROCK" in Montgomery, and pulling my radio's antenna muscles trying to hold on to it for a few miles longer.

Little would I know that it was be my last taste of album rock for many, many months. I left 'home' listening to ROCK 103 and returned to an ugly surprise: HITRADIO Z-103!!!!!!!!!

13) IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY SET THEM FREE / Sting
I bought this 45 the day before The Phone Call, so I got a quick lesson in this record's meaning.

12) GOONIES ‘R' GOOD ENOUGH / Cyndi Lauper
No they aren't. Right, Nettie? ;-)

11) GLORY DAYS / Bruce Springsteen
Not really. Those were last Summer, remember? (hearing songs still being released from Born in the USA were ugly reminders of what used to be ... the album was released just as the relationship was taking off)

10) ANGEL / Madonna
I was hoping for a Seraphim, but my stubborn heart was still hung up on that damned Christi woman. The song? No sir, I don't like it.

9) VOICES CARRY / Til Tuesday
My other favorite song on this list. I've always loved it. As perfect as a pop record can be.

8) EVERY TIME YOU GO AWAY / Paul Young
A song that made me want to yank the radio out of the car each time it came on (often; no AOR to listen to, remember?). The scene in Better Off Dead when John Cusack does just that is gut-busting funny.

7) YOU GIVE GOOD LOVE / Whitney Houston
My college buddy Adam used to do little graphic illustrations of song titles. I'd tell you the one for this song, if it wouldn't give this blog an NC-17 rating. I'll leave it at that.

6) WOULD I LIE TO YOU? / Eurythmics
I don't know why, but apparently this also found its way to the R&B charts ... "K-97", the longtime urban station in Memphis, had it on hot rotation. Go figure.

5) THE SEARCH IS OVER / Survivor
See "Seraphim, 1998."

4) HEAVEN / Bryan Adams
See #5.

3) RASPBERRY BERET / Prince
I've never found one in a second-hand store. And you know I've looked.

Come to think of it, I'll settle for an old Rock-103 baseball cap.

2) A VIEW TO A KILL / Duran Duran
Not even James Bond could save this wad of cotton candy.

And I'll spare you the joke I know you'll be thinking after you see what was #1 this week:

1) SUSSUDIO / Phil Collins
No Jacket Required wasn't half bad as an album, if I gloss over this half-bad song. Personally, I'm quite fond of the 'cassette/CD only' bonus track, "We Said Hello Goodbye."

Yeah, I wasn't what you'd call enamored with things in July 1985. But things would eventually look up. I'd find another reboun--er, I mean, girlfriend. "Ruth." Several months later, she'd dump my "binge-drinking, heathenist, not-Christian-enough" ass and marry someone who loved children. Loved them, I tell you.

We'd get "Coke Classic", with high fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar, the way The (Original) Real Thing was sweetened. I could go on a tangent about how I think soft drink bottlers' changeover to HFCS instead of sugar is a big part of why we have such an obesity epidemic. But I won't. Yet.

Good gawd on a pogo stick ... I need some happy thoughts. This is too damned depressing.

But yeah, I can feel my son's pain.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge Coast-To-Coast

22 October 2008

Still waiting for that other shoe......

My October 31 goal was "Scaring Away 45." Consider it scared out of the room.

Tonight's weigh-in indicated another -1.6 pounds off my frame, putting me at -46.4 pounds. My weight was 248.8 ... meaning I am now below 250 for the first time in many years. Now I can climb the stairs to the attic (which are rated for 250#) without doing so very delicately. Holy crap, I'm below 250 pounds. This is cool!

Yet I'm still not ready to say I squeaked past my Birmingham backslide without incident. I'm afraid to, truth be known. Then next week will be the doozy.

Like my wife said, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

Fair enuff.

And ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "On the bottom half of 200" Gleck

AT40 from deep in the heart of "the big 80s"

Well, shuckatoon! It's time for another forty pieces of top vinyl as Casey counted 'em down way back when.

Today, we're spotlighting the week ending May 26, 1984. Much was going on in my life, I'd just finished up my Freshman year at what was then Garland County Community College in Rot Hot Springs, Ark., and counting the months, weeks, minutes and seconds until I would transfer to Arkansas State University that August. I was a nice and fit 180 pounds, muscles fully toned thanks to regular Nautilus workouts ... and a high-end yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Friday, May 25, the second of the Indiana Jones movies (Temple of Doom) had its release, and the girl I'd just begun dating was foaming at the mouth about seeing it. So we both were in the audience on opening night at the Hot Springs Mall Cinema (I wanted to "go along", despite not giving several rats' hemorrhoids about the IJ franchise).

Her name was Christi, and she worked at the record store in the mall (remember Camelot Music?). Our first date was the Saturday before, and things started heating up quickly. AT40 programs typically aired the weekend before the "week ending" date, so in Little Rock this program aired the morning after our first date (which didn't suck like certain other first dates ... right, dear?)

Friday the 25th, atop West Mountain, was also when we both agreed to "go steady" -- or, as many of us called it back then, "going together." Christi, for all intents and purposes, was my first "real love" (yeah, yeah, what part of "late bloomer" don't you get?), so this AT40 program carries a lot of memories within.

So here we go.......

*40) WHISPER TO A SCREAM (BIRDS FLY) / Icicle Works
This was a terribly underrated techno-pop single, and there's no mistaking what decade this came from. I don't think it climbed much higher than this on the chart ... upper 30s, I think, but moving right along:

*39) MAGIC / The Cars
The video comes to mind, first and foremost. I remember Ric Ocasek 'walking on water' in that swimming pool ... and you could friggin' see the plexiglass under him! I guess they were mailing this one in, as it was hard to top the video for their previous hit, "You Might Think." I've always liked "Magic" .... both the song and the title describe that year's Summer.

*38) DANCE HALL DAYS / Wang Chung
Nothing Oriental here. "Wang chung" is, supposedly, the sound a geetar makes when its strings are strummed.

Unless Jimi Hendrix is doing it, in which case it sounds like wwwwwwaaaaaaaaananananananangggnnnngngngngngng chuuuuuunnnngngngngngngngng.

And if any of the Wiggin sisters are playing, it'd sound like this: jngq93pehrerc fsophr 4fd45xjfqmymio3wrqio3wjtpalpi2ngntunnu4gfbfyurb4bwrkmopg64umtninfootfootq32mnuireun3eybjiop432rpn432pf54fpwrjeyy

[Here, Casey did his hourly station salute, and one of the stations was WKXY in Sarasota, Fla., beachfront memories of Summer trips there in the '70s. "The Suncoast Giant" was an AM station still hanging in with top-40 in 1984, and did a good job at it. I have a copy of a 'KXY sweeper from 1983 where a caller says "Y'all are gonna make the FM band obsolete!"]

37) NO MORE WORDS / Berlin
They still had air in their lungs ... Top Gun was two years away.

*36) DANCING IN THE DARK / Bruce Springsteen
From the forthcoming album Born in the USA. Sad thing, that album didn't go anywhere, and practically shipped cutout. Good luck trying to find a copy.

35) LOVE WILL SHOW US HOW / Christine McVie
The second of two singles from the honey-sweet Fleetwood Mac vocalist's solo LP (the first, and bigger hit, was "Got a Hold on Me") Another great video lost to the ages, a parody of the whole pomp and circumstance of music videos. Mind you, this was when MTV did something really crazy: played music videos 24/7.

Then there was Night Tracks weekends on TBS. Stop swooning, Sera and Nettie.

34) MODERN DAY DELILAH / Van Stephenson
Just a great big "meh." I'll spare you any further cutting remarks.

Ahem.

33) EYES WITHOUT A FACE / Billy Idol
32) MY EVER-CHANGING MOODS / The Style Council

31) IT'S MY LIFE / Talk Talk

A trio of songs that seemed to rotate on a single cartridge tape in the "earworm" machine during this pocket of time. In 1984, my tastes were beyond eclectic and well into schizophrenic territory. I really liked the techno-pop sound popularlized by The Fixx and others, yet in May '84 I was coming down off a serious "headbanging" phase. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, AC/DC, et al. And in the middle of all this, I found the time to buy The Hollies' Greatest Hits, foretelling a love of '60s pop music which had yet to bloom in full.

PS - Loved the video for "It's My Life."

30) WHO'S THAT GIRL / Eurythmics
Not to be confused with the Madonna single a few years later. And I didn't like this one, either.

29) ALMOST PARADISE / Mike Reno & Ann Wilson
With Christi, it felt like full-tilt paradise in the Summer of '84. Yeah, every big '80s movie had to have a requisite Hit Ballad. Heck, Ren had to have something for a bone-rubbing dance with Ariel (no belly -- you have seen Footloose, haven't you?). Speaking of which, did you hear classmate Calista off to the side? "That Ariel is such a fat cow!!!"

28) STAY THE NIGHT / Chicago
Peter Cetera hits it big with yet another Chick Pop Smash.

27) RUN RUNAWAY / Slade
I love this song. But not as much as the follow-up, "My Oh My." The album had a most amusing title: Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply. Said, I'm certain, more than a few times by my bass guitar playing son on the football field during halftime.

Slade was an English metal band with limited success over here, and in the early '70s they originally wrote and performed "Cum On Feel The Noize", made into a hit by Quiet Riot late in '83.

26) THEY DON'T KNOW / Tracey Ullman
I should hate this song. I don't. It's irresistible as hell, and once it gets under your skin, there's no shaking it.

25) ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE / Scorpions
See "metalhead phase", above.

24) YOU CAN'T GET WHAT YOU WANT / Joe Jackson
('Till You Know What You Want) Joe stepped out with another hit. I had a 45 of this one, but I accidentally stepped on it, and broke it in two........

23) FOOTLOOSE / Kenny Loggins
Dance and you'll burn in hell. I remember well the night I watched this at the Malco Theater in Hot Springs, and when Ren's new buddy said, "Bomont isn't the only place that bans dancing, there are other places upstate .... places in Kansas and Arkansas, too", the whole theater erupted in groans.

Lakeside was one of the few schools in that area that had a prom. Most of the other high schools had what they called "senior banquets."

22) JUMP (FOR MY LOVE) / The Pointer Sisters
The parenthetical title was added because of Van Halen's hit of the same name.

21) THE AUTHORITY SONG / John Cougar Mellencamp
Or: Let's see how I can rip off "I Fought the Law and the Law Won." Mr. Melonhead should've been beaned upside the head with a Bobby Fuller 2 x 4. I can't stand this song. Like it for me, please.

20) IT'S A MIRACLE / Culture Club
After the previous single release ("Karma Chameleon", a song I revile to the n'th degree to the point of my ears bleeding when I hear the first gay bar), anything by Boy George & Company would be downright likable. And if THAT isn't a miracle.......

19) SELF CONTROL / Laura Branigan
I needed a lot of it when "Karma Chameleon" was still being played to death.

18) BORDERLINE / Madonna
Her second hit, and first top 10 single (#10). First single was "Holiday", which peaked at #16. This was about the time Madonna made her debut on American Bandstand, and told Dick Clark her ambition was "to take over the world." [cue "Pinky and The Brain" theme]

I had no idea that one Sunday morning on AT40 when "Holiday" debuted on the chart, that Madonna - who struck me at the time as a girl who wore weird clothes and had a weird look about her - would go on to become such a monolithic figuress.

17) DANCING IN THE SHEETS / Shalamar

More Footloose hooey. This, by the way, is what happens most Friday nights in many Mississippi rural areas.

16) I'LL WAIT / Van Halen
Second single release from 1984, released in ...... *bzzt!* 1983! Last album with Diamond Dave up front.

15) LOVE SOMEBODY / Rick Springfield
Is it possible to swoon twice in a single post? If not, then Seraphim and Nettiemac have missed this one. The movie was Hard To Hold, but the real Rickheads knew that already. It's one of Rick's better songs, to my tastes. I can't really dis the guy -- yeah, he was lightweight, but Mr. I'm-Not-A-Doctor-But-I-Play-One-on-LP put out some really solid pop product in his day.

14) THE LONGEST TIME / Billy Joel
When it came time to divvy up such things as the CD collection during the divorce, my music tastes and my soon-to-be-ex-wife's were so far apart that there was little overlap, meaning no battles. I let her take whatever she wanted. And she went for the two-disc Greatest Hits set, and I took it upon myself to throw in all of Joel's albums after The Nylon Curtain (1982). Fake doo-wop, coming off Frankie Joel and The Four Billys' "Upgirl Town" ..... moving along, nothing to see here ......

13) THE HEART OF ROCK & ROLL / Huey Lewis & The News
From an album called Picture This to this one, from which this song was taken, titled Sports. I always thought it would've been a cool idea to keep the 'newspaper' motif going, and name their final album Obituary.

I have a great memory of this song, and it goes back to a dance I DJ'ed in 1995. It was at the firehouse in the small village of Saco, Ala. in northeast Pike County. The party was in the 'community room', such as it is. Next door were a couple of fire apparatuses. You know the horn sound effect in the opening part of the song, after the line "...and no place that I'd rather be"? I had my then-wife go out there and get into the cab of one of the fire trucks. When that part of the song played, she blew the truck horn.

12) YOU MIGHT THINK / The Cars
The video, far and away, makes the song. The Cars were on top of their game in 1984.

11) HEAD OVER HEELS / The Go-Gos
I used to have such a crush on Jane Wiedlin, especially as she appearered on this album (Talk Show). Then I heard her voice. *fingernails down chalkboard*

10) HOLD ME NOW / Thompson Twins
The Thompson Twins were neither. For one thing, there were three of them; one was a woman, then you had the black man and the white man. And none of 'em were named Thompson.

The song? Passable, borderline "meh."

9) BREAKDANCE / Irene Cara
What a feeling! Throwing your back out from grinding it into the floor ... if you didn't get burns from the friction first!

I find it hard to believe how many copies of the how-to video on breakdancing I saw in rental stores well into the 1990s. I think it was a K-Tel video, but I'm not sure. Nor would I be surprised.

8) SISTER CHRISTIAN / Night Ranger
Night Ranger has a new album out. Do you believe that? Seraphim said, "Sister Christian is now a middle-aged divorced woman in a trailer with three kids and a deadbeat ex."

Boy, it sure does suck getting beat with the "Old" Stick.

7) THE REFLEX / Duran Duran
Unusual was the teenaged girl in 1984 who didn't have a gratuitous crush on Simon Le Bon. Me, I thought 'em as cotton candy, evidence that MTV took away the need for a pop act to actually play with any degree of talent; so long as they looked good in the video, that's all that mattered. Bonus points if you could point out the synthesizer in a police lineup.

Some songs of Duran2 I liked more than others. "Reflex", "Girls on Film" and "Save a Prayer" were okay, but I could do without "Wild Boys" or "Hold Back the Rain."

6) TO ALL THE GIRLS I'VE LOVED BEFORE / Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias
The last gasp of top-40 as a Wal-Mart of music. Back when country crossovers could reach the top ten as easily as one from the R&B side of the room. And I loathe this record. Loathe it, I tell you.

And speaking of Wal-Mart, isn't that an ice machine I see out front?..........

5) OH SHERRIE / Steve Perry
And all I had to do to get her plenty apoplectic was to recite the song's opening line: "y'SHOULDA BEEN GOOOOONE!!...."

4) AGAINST ALL ODDS / Phil Collins
For some twisted reason I cannot even remember (if I ever knew at all), this was one of Our Songs® during the Christi Administration. I can tolerate the song, although I much prefer the Stevie Nicks album cut ("Violet and Blue") on the AAO soundtrack.

3) TIME AFTER TIME / Cyndi Lauper
I've got your rubberbands right here, Captain.

2) HELLO / Lionel Richie
Not only reaches for the pink packets, but dumps over the sugar dispenser in the process. And got half-and-half spilled into its lap, too.

Did life in Tuskegee, Alabama screw him up that badly??

And speaking of screwed up, be sure to take off your-your-your-your-your boogie shoes, because we're fixin' to return to Bomont for this week's #1 hit rekkid:

1) LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY / Deniece Williams
Meh. A double dip of meh. With a fundamentalist Bible on top.

--Talmadge "Leaping and dancing before the Lord ..... LEAPING! AND! DANCING!" Gleck

19 October 2008

Okay, NOW it's hit me

A little while ago, I pulled out some of the video from our trip to West Virginia early this year. In particular, the footage we took of the half-deserted town of Mullens.

Sera had the camcorder, and while rolling tape, she caught some fleeting images of me as I was walking around taking pictures.

Those fleeting images were of me as I flirted with 300 pounds. And, for the first time, it was noticeable. Indeed, it jumped off the screen at me just how bad I looked. Not that I'm any great shakes now, but I could see the difference. Boy, could I ever.

I'm currently down nearly 45 pounds from that period of time, and, if I continue to drop weight at roughly the same pace, I'll have removed a total of 65-70 pounds by next February .... and I might even shudder to look at images of myself from RIGHT NOW. If this keeps up, it's going to be one helluva A/B comparison; I'm looking forward to our next visit up there, when we can take some pictures of ourselves in the same spots (one, in particular, on a rock formation in front of the cabin).

Here's an even better example of what I mean. This is Friday, February 15th of this year, when we made a pit stop along I-40 in North Carolina. I was coming out with some scratch-offs and my wife, feeling her usual smart-ass self, was filming as I came out and got in the car -- and, of course, I gave my usual "fake-mean/pseudo-indignant" face while doing so. These frame-grabs say it all (click on the image for a better view):

"Here, have some damned scratch-offs!!"

Holy crap, that gut!

And to think that while we were up there, I could not have imagined myself making this change. Heck, in most of the footage of us driving, I'll bet there was a big ol' honkin' sugared soda in the cupholder beside me.

Speaking of which, I'm thirsty. I could go for a big ol' honkin' glass of Crystal Light decaf tea!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Counting the days 'till our next Wild and Wonderful time" Gleck

More "sitemeter" follies.....

Someone this morning stumbled unto this blog after plugging "kellers flea market puppies" into Google, and found a post from January 7, 2006 where, during a trip "into town", we spent some time at Keller's Flea Market and I made some observation about the puppy pushers out there.

Piqued by the curiosity of why this person was in Hattiesburg, Miss. (does Keller's reputation extend that far from home?), I went to that search page just to see what comments can be found online about Keller's repulsive and unacceptable practice of allowing vendors to sell animals on the premises.

There's a reason I didn't go near that part of the flea market the last time Sera and I poked around in there (a month or so back). But after exploring some of the items under the that Google search, two things in particular have me never wanting to go near Keller's ever again:

1) A post on The Savannah Morning News' blog section. If you can keep a dry eye after reading this, I pity you.

2) Fortunately, this one appears to have a happier 'ending.' Clearly, the woods behind Keller's presents quite the bonanza for any dog rescue groups here in the Coastal Empire.

For the love of God, do not ever buy your next best friend and loyal companion at a golldurned FLEA MARKET. Buy only from a respected and licensed breeder (who are in it for the love of their breed[s], not just the financial part of it), adopt from a shelter, or an animal rescue organization.

And just where the f(BLEEP)king hell is PETA in all this? Oh yeah, they're too busy terrorizing those of us who like Kentucky Fried Chicken. That's far sexier than caring for our loyal animals, who want nothing more than to have food, shelter and love ... the latter of which they can return a million-plus times over.

I have to offer up yet another picture of our "daughter", who loves to climb atop the thick back cushions on our sofa and make a nest out of it........

I have to say it again: we, as humans, are not worthy of the unconditional love dogs give us.

Why can't all dogs have it as good as Puddy, Daisy or Maddox?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Bones to pick" Gleck

17 October 2008

"Extreme" amusement in the dental chair

Had an early morning appointment with the dentist for a (long overdue) cleaning. It was supposed to be back in April, but work stuff just kept me putting it off. No longer. I called for an appointment Wednesday, and it turns out they had a 7:00'er today. I took it.

And playing through the office PA system was our quirky locally-owned station, WRHQ "Q-105.3" ... it's the last remaining standalone commercial station in town, and plays a very distinctive blend of classic rock, AAA (adult album alternative) and adult contemporary. You have to hear it to understand. It's remarkable just how many places of business in Savannah have this station playing .... including my dentist.

(No doubt if WLOW 107.9 were still a quasi "standards"/easy listening/lite AC station, they'd be mandated to have that playing. Back in college, I remember someone who had a most amusing name for the late and lamented 'beautiful music' format: "Lie-Back-This-May-Sting-A-Little" Music. But anyway.)

One of the things Jonathan (the hygenist) did was take some x-rays for a closer look at a couple of teeth that have given me some issues - largely sensitivity to cold liquids, and, more recently, one tooth gives a strange feeling when I chew food.

Just as Jonathan put that lead apron over me ("Kiss me, I'm cooked"), the opening notes of Ringo Starr's 1974 hit "Photograph" came on "The Q."

I love it when songs perfectly appropriate to the moment just come up by mere chance. As Ringo sang of being reminded of "the places we used to go", I was having "photographs" taken of the inside of my mouth.

But wait, there's more. About 15 minutes later, as he was poking one of the squeaky-wheel molars, he remarked that I might have a small cavity. At the same time, 'RHQ was playing Extreme's 1991 hit "Hole Hearted"

It was all I could do to keep from laughing as Jonathan had his dental instrument in my mouth, along with that suck-o-matic thingy resting on my bottom lip.

"There's a hole in my tooth that can only be filled by youuuu."

Diagnosis: both teeth have small fractures. Crowns on both. Correction: crown on just one; the second one is the backmost right-hand lower molar. I'm gonna have that one pulled when conditions get untenable, i.e. throbbing pain.

Well, I walked out of there with clean, shiny teeth and the requisite "dental goodie-bag", filled with several Proctor & Gamble products. And a new Oral-B toothbrush. How sweet of them.

Ciao for niao.

--Toothy Tal

PS - the first thing out of Jonathan's mouth this morning? "You look like you've lost some weight." I'd be lying if that didn't make my day. Is it that obvious? It still doesn't seem that way.

15 October 2008

Unsolved mysteries

183.5 = -2.4

Explain that one, friends.

2.4 down on the scale, on top of a 2/10 lb. drop last week, after the mother of all backslides.

And, as the cherry on the sundae, I'm 0.2 away from my Halloween goal of -45. -44.8

Yeah, I have a feeling next week is when the chickens* are gonna come home to roost. It just doesn't make sense how it could be otherwise. * = Original recipe, greasy as it ever was

Oh well, life goes on and Texxon is there.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "250.4" Gleck

09 October 2008

CDs, LPs, WWs

Swung by the Southside Weight Watchers center this evening after work, and did a drive-by weigh-in. Yeah, let's take a look at the collateral fallout from the recent orgy.

The scale said: -0.2. Well, it didn't actually "say" it; those scales, while pretty fancy and all, lack your basic larynx. But anyway.

I'm convinced a lot of that was "banked" from last Wednesday. As you might remember, I registered my first gain (+0.8). Then the next morning, I was down more than a pound ... and well toward two pounds by Saturday morning.

I guess for the next three weeks it's going to be mighty suspenseful getting on that scale.

As for today, I'm pretty much back in the swing. 37 points, right on the nose.

*********
And music. I did indeed spend some wampum at Charlemagne in Birmingham ... however, the selection wasn't as impressive as in years past. I ended up spending right at $60 in there, leaving me $40. And most of that was nuked a little while ago at Silly Mad CDs, netting a total of three bucks and change.

As I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat wondering just what in tarnation I bought, I shall quell that burning curiosity, heretoforewith:

It was a Van Morrison orgy, baby! I had four (4) of Van The Man's albums remaining on my want list, and three of them left Charlemagne with Talmadge: Into the Music (1979), Common One (1980) and Beautiful Vision (1982). That leaves just one studio rekkid to find: The Philosopher's Stone. Those albums aren't easy to find at your average Best Buy or FYE (@#$%, You're Expensive!). Alas, the Van albums at Charlemagne were all new -- there were no used copies around, so those were $12.99 per each. Ahhh, but not a wasted note.

For the rest of my booty, I bought a few LPs: Ringo Starr's first (of two) for ATLANTIC, Ringo's Rotogravure, featuring his modest 1976 single "A Dose of Rock 'N' Roll." (trivia: no less than Dr. John and Peter Frampton played on that song) It also had Ringo's cover of "Hey Baby" ... passable, but not worth his drumsticks.

Second, another Robin Trower LP to cross off the list - one of two I lacked with bassist/vocalist James Dewar - was 1977's In City Dreams (leaving Victims of the Fury as the only Trower/Dewar album left on my want list). Lately I've been hooked on Trower ... his guitar sound is hard to describe, except to say that maybe - just maybe - it's a bit Hendrix-esque, but great to listen to while in a laid-back mood. And I like Dewar's vocals a lot.

And then we have The Stills/Young Band LP from 1976 entitled Long May You Run. I have that general family tree loaded in a playlist labeled "Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young (Or Any Combination Thereof)."

Then tonight at Silly Mad, I sunk $37 and change on the following:
1) Chris Isaak - Speak of the Devil (1998). Good guitar, great voice, and a nice, dark sound. Typical Isaak.
2) Blues Traveler - Travelers & Thieves (1991). More for Seraphim, although I like my share of BT. I enjoy 'em especially on our road trip vacations.
3) A Quiet Normal Life: The Best of Warren Zevon (1986). Terribly and tragically underrated singer-songwriter who left us too early. "Werewolves of London" was just the peak of an incredible mountain of music.

And two vinyl LPs on top of it:
1) Tangerine Dream - Stratosfear (1976). Proto new age. And stop drooling, Bolivar.
2) The Korgis - Dumb Waiters (1980). One-hit wonders who gave top-40 radio a marvelous (and largely forgotten) McCartney-esque hit single in the Fall of '80, "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime." Bought the LP grooves unheard. I hope I'm not disappointed.

Yes, music to get me back on the wagon. And my running total is now -42.4 pounds.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "A Quirky Abnormal Life" Gleck

08 October 2008

Back from the 'Ham

Or: Holy @#$%!!!!!

I have returned from The Great Hammingbirm Junket, and my first week off the program.

And boy, what a backslide. I just did the math. What I did was, basically, revert more or less to pre-WW habits, only without sugared drinks. That is, except for that 1/3 or so of the can of regular 7-UP I tried to drink.

And totaling everything up, my eyes bugged out so far that when I turned north I saw Nettiemac's front yard.

Including tonight's meal of Chicken & Dumplings ala Seraphim, I have consumed.....

183.5 points

....above and beyond daily and the 35 weekly allotment. I told you I didn't count points; what I did instead was, at the end of each day, logged whatever I ate.

The big thing was the two Hardee's bacon Thickburgers. I was hungry on Saturday - I didn't get to have anything until after my friend's radio show, AND after getting my son's car from Eclectic back into Montgomery to have a couple of new tires put on it. While they did that, I walked across the highway to Hardee's. Two (2) bacon thickburgers and a large order of fries. Part of me wanted to intentionally "go back to the old ways", and see just how I did on a regular basis before May 5. And did I ever.

Oh, and according to Dottie's Weight Loss Zone, a single Hardee's bacon Thickburger is 23 points. Each.

For that "price", one can put away nearly two (2) Quarter Pounders!!!!

Talk about a jolt. Further crunching the numbers:

Saturday: 74 (2 points over both daily quota and 35 weekly)
Sunday: 91 (54 points over; 56 total)
Monday: 86 (49 points over; 105 total)
Tuesday: 74 (37 points over; 142 total)
Today: 78.5 (41.5 points over; 183.5 total)

And to think, prior to May 5, I was doing this quite often, especially on weekends. No, even worse; add to that all the friggin' Cokes and Squirts and 7-UPs and 44-oz. Fountain Dews I drank each day. 3 cans on a good day, and usually at least one of the fountain drinks.

Frankly, it's a damn wonder I didn't tip the scale at 500 pounds when I started Weight Watchers.

(As for The E-Word, I did engage in more than a little walking during the trip, however I didn't tally "activity points" ... I'd guesstimate maybe enough to whittle down the overage to 175 even.)

Saturday morning before I left, my nekkidweight™ was 248.0 even. Seems I took a good 1.5 pound plunge after last week's +0.8 "gain." So it appears a portion of this backslide gain was 'banked', so to speak.

As I step back on the wagon tomorrow (and try to do a weigh-in late in the afternoon), my ultimate hope is for the final "damage" to keep me above -40. This week or next.

We'll just have to see.

Ciao for niao.

--That Talmadge is a P-I-G, pig!!

06 October 2008

I'm not counting, Yes, I am.

No, I'm not.

Greetings and salutations from a booth at the Back Yard Burgers, Exit 310 off I-65 in beautiful, picturesque Cullman, Alabama. This is the first BYB meal I've had since pre-WW, although not entirely by choice ... many of the franchisees of this (wonderful) chain have gone belly-up, pulling out of many middle and south Alabama markets, and virtually all of Georgia.

So, when I saw the billboard for BYB, and the words "FREE WI-FI", wellllll, that said "Tal will be dining here for supper."

It's been an interesting visit thus far. I'll go into some specifics after I get back home, but I'll offer a few conscious streams:
  • Diet Mountain Dew in the fountain is very easy to come by in Alabama. Including this BYB.

  • The motel didn't have any diet sodas, so I sucked it in and had a regular 7-UP.

  • Can you say "damned syrupy"?? Yeah, I'm definitely "over" my love affair with sugared sodas.

  • Tomorrow I'll be nuking my bonus wampum at Charlemagne.

  • I can hardly wait.

  • Danver's in Tupelo was as good as it ever was. I miss it so.

  • I also miss my wife. But I'm glad she's not with me, because - as I've told her - I don't want a bored spouse on my conscience.

  • Gasoline in Tupelo, Mississippi was $3.10/9. WTH??!!

  • I took another leg over to Huntsville to do some newspaper microfilm research relating to the Birmingham site.

  • I've never known a library (Huntsville) to require one to have a card in order to so much as use their wi-fi. I filled out a "temporary card", but when they required a phone number and social .... "Ummm, no, I think I'll just go to Krystal."

  • That's the second reason I'm glad this Back Yard Burgers was here.

  • Speaking of which, it's 9:14 p.m. CDT.

  • Back Yard Burgers' sign just turned off. I think they're closing.

  • I'd best get the hell outta here.

  • Peace, love and an old button-copy interstate road sign to one and all.

  • Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I-65" Gleck

02 October 2008

Guess it was bound to happen eventually

Tuesday was looking like a wash (close to zero), but I didn't like what the bathroom scale read Wednesday morning. And this time, the WW platform offered no good surprises: +0.8.

What happened? My routine wasn't much different eating-wise, yet I can think of a few things:
  • Friday, we did a little walking. Ditto for Tuesday afternoon after work. Apart from that, my activity level has been terribly lacking.

  • I have been derelict about water intake. Instead of 64+ ounces, I've been doing well to take in 40 most days this last week (and, while some say non-caffeinated sodas like Diet 7-UP count to a limited degree, I don't include 'em).

  • Then there was the Diet Mountain Dew debacle last Thursday. I picked up a quart-sized specimen at the Gate station to go with my Arby's for lunch (I was thirsty). Just as I finished it (and noticed the taste was a little bit "off"), I realized something: there isn't much of a difference between the labels of MD and DMD. And, in my haste, I grabbed a regular Mountain Dew. I drank 8 points' worth of high-fructose corn syrup. Well, schitt.

  • I honestly, if with gritted-teeth and muttered obscenities, counted those points. Psychologically, it was a wet blanket over my whole week. I've taken the whole "drinking calories" thing to crazy extremes, it seems.

  • Lots of stress on the work front about a new program that I'm having to produce while dancing as fast as I can.
So, despite staying reasonably faithful (read: I might've gone over points by a few once or twice), a minus turned into a plus. My first gain since starting program. Yeah, I'm a little down about it; I didn't want the first gain to be until after my Birmingham junket this weekend.

On the positive side, though, I should remind myself that my goal was 40 pounds down before making this trip. I'm still more than 2 pounds OVER that goal.

But dammit, it was difficult to feel "positive" last night in front of our leader. Which brings up a question: why can people like that have an opposite effect on some folks (i.e., myself)? I appear like Eeyore in front of her kind, and of course that makes 'em say out loud how "unhappy" we are. I can be happy -- I have been happy in there -- just not in a Richard-Simmons-On-Speed kind of way.

I'm just sayin'.

*********
Okay, starting Saturday morning I'm "stepping off the WW wagon" until next Wednesday (8 October). Consider it like us disboarding the sightseeing trolley to have lunch, then getting back on. I'll still adhere to the you no drink calorada rule (moral: look very closely at the Mountain Dew labels from now on!), but will otherwise not be counting points. I'll be eating out and simply don't want to worry about things.

I'll take a plus sign next week, and the following week (since I understand some binges have a delayed effect on the weight), without complaint. What I hope is that I do not fall below -40. That gives me 2.2 pounds to "gamble" with.

+.08 is just a small pothole. Right?

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Well, crap!" Gleck