26 November 2008

GIVING THANKS, BABY ! ! ! !

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

50!

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.

Wrong.

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

14 November 2008

God bless the mellotron

One of my favorite Moody Blues tracks made into a beautiful video.....



"Watching and Waiting" closes the Moodies' 1969 album To Our Children's Children's Children, perhaps their best effort, in my humble'. Soul-stirring magic, generated by Mike Pinder's keyboard work and Justin Hayward's awesome vocals.

I closed my old late-'90s classic rock show with this song a few times. I could never play it in the middle, this would always be the very last song of the night.

Listen and let your soul receive.

Ciao for niao.

--On the Threshold of a Talmadge

12 November 2008

Talmadge's Big 86

I don't think I can top the 86 reasons Kate/Susan and The General have outlined. If that's not the truest and deepest love, then just forget everything and hang it all up.

Still, I was inspired, and here I go. Danger, it gets a bit gooey and mushy. I recommend wearing protective clothing. Make sure one of you stays behind to talk about Mutual of Omaha while the other does the real work...............

86 REASONS I LOVE SERAPHIM

1) She didn't click "clear form" and proceeded to post that Yahoo! Personals listing in January of 1998, so I could stumble upon her.
2) Any woman who was able to cause the likes of Puddy to come toward her out of the litter and into her life, then mine, is someone very special. (And not in "that" way, either)
3) Any woman who would take me in the condition I was in, just months after a divorce from someone whom I had no business being the same state with, let alone house ... well, she truly is incredibly wonderful.
4) She has the sweetest face I've ever gazed upon.
5) Her skin is the softest I've ever felt.
6) Her voice is the warmest, and most loving my ears have ever heard. Truly, my cochlea burst with warmth with each syllable she speaks.
7) She's my best friend in every sense of the term.
8) I 'loke' her, and she 'lokes' me.
9) Our mutual ‘lucky number', and the number of "kisses" we always sign off our e-mails with. XXXXXXXXX, or, when time is limited, X9
10) She didn't go running when I told her I'd been ‘snipped'
11) She didn't go running when she learned I had a son from a previous marriage.
12) She didn't go running when she learned the story about that previous marriage.
13) She didn't go running when she learned what I did for a living.
14) She didn't go running when she got to know my life's history.
15) The way she dismissed my ‘particular eating habits' with one sentence: "It just makes it easy to cook for you."
16) She accepts my ‘particular eating habits', and has never made a big deal about them.
17) She is, quite possibly, the best cook I've ever known.
18) Nobody - not even my mother - can do chicken & dumplings like she can.
19) She makes ‘sticky' white rice, in a way only Gran Lera was able to do.
20) She has a brilliantly warped mind.
21) I love her sense of humor.
22) She didn't want to go straight to "Free Parking" from "Go", if you catch my drift.
23) She thought my hand-on-leg overture (read: requisite "move" a man has to make on a first date to prove they're not gay) was too forward ... shoving my hand underneath her sweatshirt on our third date was the last thing I had to worry about.
24) She didn't try to molest me on our fourth date.
25) She's the sexiest thing I've ever seen from behind a clothes display at JCPenney in Macon.
26) Indeed, she is the vision of lusciousness to my eyes.
27) We're very much compatible in ‘intimate affairs' ... if that makes any sense.
28) After nearly seven years of marriage to Whatzername, I was all but ruined on the concept of ‘intimacy', and she patiently waited as those closet skeletons were processed and discharged.
29) Speaking of "closets", she knows the "hall closet" gag on Fibber McGee & Molly.
30) She loves OTR (Old Time Radio) shows.
31) She understood the magic and meaning of "Ohhh RAH-ches-turrr?" "Yeah, boss?"
32) She rolls along with my kneejerking musical moods ... I can go from early Pink Floyd to Robin Trower to ‘70s R&B on a dime, and she isn't the slightest bit fazed.
33) She loves listening to ‘ambient' (new age) music, and likes falling asleep to it.
34) She puts up with my reading the newspaper at the dinner table.
35) She puts up with my quirky passions and doesn't think of them as embarrassing or ‘retarded.' — even the road geek stuff.
36) She'll watch the classic TV shows I'll receive in trades, even the little-known programs.
37) She'll even listen to the old radio airchecks that come in (beware: a big batch of stuff is coming later in the week!)
38) So much can be said in a nice belch. And my wife knows this.
39, of course) She's a fan of Jack Benny.
40) I have never, in all my years, found a better and more fun traveling companion.
41) We agree: Van is The Man.
42) I love how she always calls me when she's about to leave somewhere, whether it's from cake class, or Albany.
43) Her love of corn (The eating kind).
44) Her love of corn (The humor kind).
45) I love how she'll throw tantrums and assorted S-bombs and F-bombs on those late nights when she's trying to finish a cake. I know it's simply the labor pains of giving birth to yet another masterpiece.
46) The way she sings many phrases as ‘mini-jingles' of sorts. We enter a state, and she'll sing it as if she were a session singer for PAMS.
47) How, when we're going to do hamburgers for supper, she always wants me to get a single tomato at the grocery store.
48) Our ‘proprietary' phrases we've cultivated over the 10+ years we've been together. (It's not "grocery store", but grossy sto)
49) When we have eggs, she rarely passes up the chance to say, "I love eggs, from my head down to my legs."
50) I love the facetious comments she makes about "my girlfriend" (and those I make about "her boyfriend") ... how many marriages joke about the idea of infidelity?
51) I love the significance of the phrase "$99.00", and how it signifies a high level of security and trust in our relationship.
52) I be luvin' my Lessa.
53) On weekday mornings when she's home and I'm home, I know I'll soon hear the theme to Little House on the Prairie.
54) Or that lame, but otherwise catchy theme to Two And A Half Men on Monday nights.
55) I love the feel of her next to me.
56) I love when she'll say goodbye to me when I'm off and sleeping in – I open my eyes and see that face of hers.
57) I love how she'll come into the Music Room®, and take my right arm, then put it around her waist ... as if I don't know how to do that already.
58) How our gas mileage is almost always lower when she's driving.
59) How she kills plants with reckless abandon and a profound lack of shame.
60) How one time locking our keys in the trunk has turned into a big joke.
61) That she lets vermin in the house. (It took three hours to get that Kirby Vacuum guy to finally leave)
62) I love the way she says my name.
63) I love hearing her say my name.
64) I love how her accent will change, depending on who she's around.
65) I love the sound of her laugh.
66) I love the way she'll say "Hiiiiiii."
67) She accepted my son into her heart.
68) And my son loves her. Heck, what's not to love?
69) She is the stepmother I dreamed of my son having.
70) She is as ticklish as I am. And there's always that elephant in our bedroom: the ongoing threat of all-out tickle war.
71) I trust her in every sense and every way ... except one thing. (see #70, above)
72) She thinks of so many little things. Like the time back in May she went over to Albany for Mother's Day weekend, and while poking around at Rose's, she found a couple of Jack Benny DVD sets she knew I did not have.
73) She always calls me if she's at the store, and asks if there's anything I need.
74) Back before she got a CPAP machine, I loved to hear her snore. Loud as it was, for some strange reason I would feel "secure" when I heard it.
75) We can all but complete one anothers' sentences.
76) She understands that there's a fine line between "torture" and "put downs" (As she says, "What good is a husband if you can't torture him?"). We tease each other, but never with an overtone of disgust or judgment.
77) Any butt-pinching or playful body tag is always followed by the words, "I have a license to do that."
78) Like clockwork, she always has to make a beeline for the bathroom after we get back from the grocer--er, I mean grossy sto.
79) When she says "You make me sick!", I know it's said with love.
80) After meals, when I tell her "Well, that tasted like shit", she takes it for the loving compliment it is.
81) It's not so much "I love you" as it is "I wub noo." (think Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat)
82) She doesn't hold it against me that Puddy has become a complete Daddy's Girl.
83) I love how she'll sometimes 'decorate' my food ... one time she put some rice in a heart-shaped cookie mold and put it right in the middle of the creamed chicken.
84) I would sooner destroy my CDs, LPs, and media archive than betray her.
85) In the beginning, it was "I like you.", then it was "I intensely adore you", which led to the infamous e-mail she sent me which closed with "I truly, madly, deeply intensely adore you." From there, it became an abbreviation - ITMDIAU - before we created an acronym out of it, and a new word: ITTEMDEEOW. That is our word, and everything all comes back to it. What we share is more than love, it's something higher. Ittemdeeow.
86) Simply and bluntly: Never has another person made me feel so complete.

I reserve the right to add other things as I think of 'em. This is hardly an exhaustive list.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Lovestruck" Gleck

Baby steps toward Five-Oh.

Just as last week, I have logged another -0.4 drop, for a total of -48.4 pounds. I'm now 1.6 pounds away from the big 50.

In full disclosure, I haven't been the straight-arrow WW scholar I was before Birmingham. I've let some developed habits like frequent walking fall by the wayside ... I still walk, but not as often as I was doing back in the Summer and early Fall. Also, I've dropped back on the water intake. Not good, I know. Also, there's the matter of the post-weigh-in suppers at Ci Ci's. Simply, after a day of near-fasting, the last few times there I've pretty much eaten until I'm full. I gave that a name this afternoon: "Amnesia meal."

So I'm sure that's caused the drops to be minimal. I'm taking my lumps. Tonight, I stayed within points, and I'm going to try my best to be a good boy, at least through Saturday, when we're driving up to Asheville (and seeing Nettie, of course). There's some important wifely bidness to tend to up there, and I've been the proud "gingerbread widower" in the meanwhile. Eating on TV trays isn't all that bad. Frankly, I'm forgetting what it's like to eat on a table.

I'm not going to blow out points like back in Birmingham, however I cannot guarantee I'll completely "eat inside the lines." We shall see.

All I know is, while I'm looking forward to the mountains, I am not eager to make this drive up there, with a precious, delicate and extremely (!) fragile piece of cargo in the back.

*********
In other news, thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts. My Dad - who was diagnosed with prostate cancer last month - is going under the knife at the first of December to have that offending item removed. It was discovered via routine blood work, so fortunately for all concerned, the cancer is contained.

In the wake of that news, I made an appointment for a physical, including blood work and a PSA test. I did so early last week, and everything checked out clean. My doctor was surprised to see a 48-pound-less patient in front of her, compared to back in February, and said I'm - in her words - "healthy as a horse."

Of course, we know what happens to horses, don't we? And why is Elmer the cow wearing a Grim Reaper costume???

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Combo bet to show in the third race" Gleck

07 November 2008

One of these things is not like the other

In celebration of six months doing WW, here's a nice A/B comparison:
Left: Self-portrait in the mirror ... 295 pounds, give or take a few.
Right: Picture Sera took of me this past evening. 247 pounds ..... 48 gone!

Yeah, I can see a difference. Not a whole lot, but that's just me.

And I've decided to lose the beard as soon as I make my 75-pound goal. When I grew it back (January 2006), I said in a blog post, "I don't know what moved me to do so" .... okay, so there was one big factor: I'd given birth to a redundant chin. I looked in the mirror one morning, didn't like what I saw, so I grew the grizzly.

So there you go. 75 pounds and I'll shed another pound or two of facial hair.

Or I might try going completely bald and keep a small goatee. The big question is, could I pull off THAT look?

(Is that my wife who just keeled over?)

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "How about a white suit and string tie to go with the goatee?" Gleck

05 November 2008

Tonight, on a Very Special Tal's Weigh-In

Today is exactly six months ago I joined Weight Watchers, and the weigh-in tonight was a small drop: -0.4, but since I'm far ahead of the game (3 pounds over my 45# goal for the end of October) I cannot and will not gripe.

This puts me at exactly 48 pounds gone in half a year. Not too bad an accomplishment, eh?

Exactly two (2) pounds to go for my 50-pound milestone. I want to do this by Thanksgiving, so there's three weeks to pull that off.

Lots on my schedule, and my mind, at the moment. Coming up, some more on this and other topics.

'Till then, ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "247.2" Gleck