22 December 2008

Poked, prodded and tagged.

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

Here are the rules:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now then, on with the countdown:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ciao for niao.

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

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