28 January 2009

Another week, another negative.

I was right on target, too. This morning, I figured I'd be down roughly a pound, and that's right at what it was: -1.2 again. Yeah, I'll take that. More than par for meeting the 60-pound goal for West Virginia in 23 more days.

Cume total is now -57.4; I lack 2.6 pounds to hit 60, and 1.6 for the 20% milestone (-59).

And now we begin a great experiment. I'm going on a "no carb" diet. Carb as in "carbonation." I'm going to see if I can go a full week drinking nothing except for decaf tea and just plain water. No sodas, not even Diet 7-UP.

I'm very curious as to whether I have any 'retained' water (gawd, I sound like I should be doing a commercial for, ummmm, one of "those" kind of pills), and if that'll enhance next week's drop.

I suppose there's only one way to find out, eh?

One more good week in the world of Dwinding Tal.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "237.8" Gleck

21 January 2009

A deferred pound ... and my 'fats refund'

I noticed a piece of fuzzy math* tonight on my Weight Watchers chart
* = Farewell, Dubya. And good riddance!

Last week, if you joined us, you'll remember that I was down 1.6 pounds, for an even total of 55.0 .... well, after the lady said I'd dropped -0.2 this week, I looked at the number, and it indicated an even 239.0. Waaaaait a minute. That meant I was actually down -2.6 last week.

Okay, we'll call it -1.2, because that looks a helluvalot better. Plus, that was done with a sweatshirt thicker than my other ones. I forgot my "weigh-in t-shirt", and even had I not, it's colder than a Wiccan's mammary gland. At any rate, the effective drop was in all probability a half pound more.

There you are. Another week of green numerals, and getting closer to my 20% threshold (59.0 even). 2.8 more pounds to go. And 3.8 until I hit -60. Four (4) weeks away from West Virginia, so things still look positive.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Deplumpified" Gleck

16 January 2009

Where service WAS state of the art

Farewell to Circuit City. Today (01/16/2009) it was announced they're calling it a day. Breaking the circuit, as it were.

Both my son and I received CC gift cards for Christmas from my brother. I'm glad I listened to that inner voice which said, "We'd better nuke those puppies five minutes ago." (last month, the chain announced they were closing many stores and pulling out of entire markets, like Atlanta).

I'm mixed about it, truth be known. On one hand, I say - with feeling - GOOD BLOODY RIDDANCE!! You helped dig your own grave when you stabbed your longtime employees in the heart, casting those with high-seniority (read: making too much money that would better go toward further padding the CEO's salary) in favor of work-for-cheap greenies. You killed the American dream there, buddy. Whatever happened to staying in one place, building your reputation, loyalty, worth and stock in your employer? So much for bettering yourself. God Bless The New Amuhr-kuh. Make too much and you're out on your ass.

Attitudes went south. Not that they were any great shakes to begin with, but the one here in Savannah was terrible. The lead players in Slackers couldn't have done a better job.

After Christmas, the Sav'h store was out of an item I'd ordered online for in-store pickup. The CC store down I-95 in Brunswick had it, so I arranged to get it there on the way down to Jacksonville. I presented the confirmation e-mail, and you wanna talk about deer-in-the-headlights........... Ummmm, y'ever hear of something called the internet? In-ter-net. You know, it's a way to communicate via computers.

Uhhhh, a computer is an amazing device used for many, many handy things. You can type letters on it. Listen to music. You can even play games on it. I'm sure you can play Solitaire. It's on there. Then maybe, with practice, you can work yourself up to something profoundly challenging, like Minesweeper.

And, with a simple phone line, you can connect to a great big world that Al Gore invented. If you have the super-dooper modem, you can blaze between webpages at a lightning-fast 56 kbps. That's kilobits per second. Not "Kegs of Beer, Party Size."

You'll need what's called a browser. Netscape Navigator 3.0 is a good place to start. Anything more recent, and your marshy-of-Glynn mind'll be liable to short-circuit city.

(I'll bet they graduated from The Brunswick Center .... Ask my wife about that some time .... "I'm from the Brunswick centerrrrrrrrr......")

Yeah, that's what you get. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys. Simple as that.

BUT ...... now we have a problem. I've long viewed Best Buy as the lesser of the two electronic evils. Between them, they could beat out Wal-Mart in the complacent and arrogant department. Soon in many places Best Buy is going to be a de facto monopoly in this category. And I worry they'll soon start to act the part.

Competition in this country is largely a mirage. A dead relic of a better time in this country. Best Buy couldn't care less if you went across Abercorn Street to Circuit City. I'm sure the managers of both stores coach each others' kids' Little League teams, and met for beer after work.

Well, now the CC manager will soon be out of work. I'm sure he'll land on his feet in a gig at Best Buy. Or as a navy-blue-shirt-and-khaki-pants Wally World "associate" in the electronics department, explaining to the blue-haired lady how her television will literally explode its parts all over her trailer's living room if she doesn't buy a $2,000 plasma screen telly before the digital changeover, a/k/a "The Big Switch."

But cry not for the CC executives. They'll have their bright red gilded parachutes.

Empty big boxes are a sign of things to come. Better start polishin' those apples, bub. The shinier the skin, the easier time you'll have selling 'em on the street corner.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I take back every bad thing I ever said about Service Merchandise" Gleck

15 January 2009

Planned routing for WV '09

Here's the projected path we'll be taking for Tal & Sera's Excellent West Virginia (And Then Some) Adventure 2009:


View Larger Map

My wife took one look at this, and thought it looked like a whale - including tail and blowhole. And went on to call this upcoming vacation "one whale of a trip."

We chose to extend this roadtrip to take in some other points further westward, milking the relatively cheap gasoline this go 'round (gas was at the $3.00 level last February, and who knows how high it could be in the future!).

The agenda, as it stands now:

FRIDAY, 02/20: Leave home and arrive about suppertime in Harman, WV. The beginning of Gleckfest '09 -- with Kate/Susan, The General, Melissa and - hopefully - Nettiemac. (Okay, since this won't be taking place at our house, maybe we ought to consider another name for the second annual "-Fest") We'll be here until Monday morning.
SATURDAY, 02/21: Fashnacht at Helvetia, WV. This promises to be a very interesting time.
MONDAY, 02/23: Rustic Retreat in our beloved Mount Nebo, WV. We'll be here through Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY, 02/25: Leave West Virginia and drive to Cave City, Kentucky. We'll spend the night in a teepee. How could we not??
THURSDAY, 02/26: Harrah's in Tunica, Miss. The casinos are calling. So is Paula Deen's buffet. It's so crowded at The Lady And Sons that we're having to drive all the way to Mississippi just to have a crack at her cooking.
FRIDAY, 02/27: Sikeston, Mo. Plain ol' motel. Visiting friends in Sikeston and Cape Girardeau. Plan a small detour for the Hickman, Ky. ferry across the Mississippi ... provided it's back in operation by next month (the website currently says it's temporarily closed. Fingers crossed.....)
SATURDAY, 02/28: Long haul from Sikeston down to Albany, Ga. (Sera's parents).
SUNDAY, 03/01: And back home.

Initially, we were going from Cave City to Sikeston, followed by spending Friday night in Tunica. Then we saw the room rates at Harrah's: $35/night weeknights; $185/night on weekends. Phew!! So we reversed the trip ... which explains the "fish tail." If faced with driving an extra 150 miles over spending 150 extra dollars for the same motel room ... well, I'm sure you'd do the same thing.

Plans, as always, subject to change. Any ideas or suggestions for things to do ... well, lay 'em on us.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "The mountains are calling" Gleck

Dark moments in music history

Not sure where this came from, but it's funny........

September 8, 1949:
In Bavaria, Richard Strauss dies.

September 8, 1949:
In Greece, Milos Muzak is born.

August 15, 1953:
Future songwriter Jimmy Webb forgets his slice of birthday cake outside. Moments later, it begins to rain.

February 16, 1955:
After 15 minutes of sitting in a boat listening to "Go Back Home, You Obnoxious Little Foreign Brats!", humorless Disneyland execs decide to look for another composer for their new attraction.

September 17, 1955:
Young Michael Jagger gets his lips caught in a Coke bottle for several hours.

May 4, 1956:
In Toronto, Neil Young's tonsillectomy causes no damage to his larynx, thereby not robbing him of his voice.

July 23, 1956:
Colonel Tom Parker says to Elvis, "Boy, you're nothin' but skin and bones. You better put on some weight, or people are gonna think you're sick!"

June 3, 1958:
In an attempt to impress his piano teacher, young Barry Manilow changes keys in the middle of his rendition of "Heart & Soul" -- three times.

June 7, 1966:
"Hey, chaps, I'd like you to meet my new girlfriend, Yoko."

July 18, 1966:
"Let's let Ringo sing one. No harm in that, is there?"

March 30, 1968:
An alien craft leaves a baby on the doorstep of the Dion farm just outside of Montreal, Canada.

September 22, 1968:
Baffled by audiences' lack of enthusiasm about a deaf, dumb and blind shuffleboard champ, Pete Townshend heads dejectedly down to the corner pub.

August 16, 1969:
At a party for her 11th birthday, Madonna Louise Ciccone is strangely unfazed when Vinny Martello stuffs two ice cream cones down the front of her dress.

May 21, 1971:
In a meat-deprivation-fueled stupor, Paul McCartney tells Linda "Hey, Luv, why don't you play in the band?"

July 29, 1974:
"Soup or sandwich today, Ms. Cass?"

October 31, 1975:
At a costume party in Greenwich Village, a soldier, an Indian, a biker, a construction worker, a cop and a cowboy all decide, "This is too much fun to do just once a year!"

September 6, 1977:
Due to a misprint on his high school schedule, Kenny G. attends "Sax Education" class.

October 31, 1978:
Michael Jackson takes in Peter Pan on Broadway and thinks how cool it would be to look more like Sandy Duncan.

November 8, 1980:
Mark David Chapman can't quite scrounge up $50 for shooting lessons. A month later, his attempted assassination of Yoko Ono goes horribly awry.

August 12, 1986:
"Congratulations Mr. Hanson -- it's another boy!"

November 3, 1987:
Knowing how much her kids loved Star Wars, a naive Tipper Gore rushes home with a newly-bought "Luke Skywalker and 2-Live Crew" CD.

July 16, 1993:
Shaquille O'Neal skips free-throw drills to record his first rap album.

January 6, 1995:
Art Garfunkel gets three fewer hits than David Crosby on eBay when "celebrity musician sperm" is entered in the search box.

September 2, 1997:
Lou Bega finishes "Mambo #4," decides his symphony needs one more movement.

.

14 January 2009

Double nickel!

Weigh-in tonight. Last week, as you might recall, I went 1.2 pounds in the wrong direction.

This week, however, I got it all back plus a few ounces on the side. Enough ounces to make my cumulative removal a nice, round 55 pounds. This week's drop: -1.6.

Yeah, I'm happy.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "240.2" Gleck

09 January 2009

Plum befuddled

Had a small errand to run yesterday. Here's how it all went down on my end:

My wife, as many of you know, has become a devout fan of author Janet Evanovich. She was to be in Charleston - or, to be anal, Mount Pleasant - at Barnes & Noble for a signing promoting her newest book, Plum Spooky, on Thursday the 8th ("Yesterday" if you're reading the blog on this day. Otherwise, never mind.), and Seraphim really wanted to go up there and meet her, and buy her latest book.

She was a little disappointed when she realized the date conflicted with her weekly Wilton cake classes. I hated it for her, but then a small idea began to sprout: I was 'teleworking' on Thursday, and as my wife pointed out on her blog, I typically do the majority of my editing and post-production agenda Wednesday night, often going to bed as late as 3 or 4 AM. I then just "sleep in" on Thursday.

Thursday presented itself in that way, plus with Sera teaching her class and not getting home until 10 or so, I realized I could swing up to Charleston (a two hour and change drive) and get her that book, nice and autographed by Miz Janet. And, maybe, get home first. The idea of surprising her kinda appealed to me. I honestly think this was the last thing she would've expected.

And, hey, since this is Charleston, South By Damn Carolina we're talking about here, perhaps I could partake of some Bessinger's BBQ (operated by Maurice Bessinger's less-flamboyant brother Thomas). Mustard 'cue, I've said in this space, is God's blessing. I discovered Palmetto-style sauce and my world was forever altered. So, yeah, I could 'reward' myself with a couple of pulled-pork sammiches after I did my deed.

*********
Okay, so I was completely new and virgin to the whole rigamarole of book signings. Never taken part in one in my life. Books are the passion of others, like my wife, Kate/Susan, et al; my passion lays in recorded works. This does not mean I don't like books. Indeed, I love reading. Only that fiction, I have to say, doesn't do a whole lot for me. I prefer reading biographies, true-life stories, and books relating to my areas of interest.

I have time for only so much passion ... I deeply respect books and have quite a few to my name, but I prefer to immerse myself in music, if that makes any sense.

I went in there figuring that I'd be the only male in that line (at least WW prepared me for that!) And I wasn't far off the mark, either; I didn't see more than a dozen - if that many - Y chromosomes in the whole queue. No matter, I'm doing this for my wife. She loves this author, and if she cannot meet her, then I'll be her 'proxy.'

Kudos must be given to how organized and well-thought-out things were at that B&N store. I walked in, and was promptly asked if I was there for the book-signing. The lady gave me a colored slip with a number on it. It was purple (strangely enough!) and on it was handwritten the number 359. They called for people in line in groups of 100 - each with their own distinctive colored slips. (such an original idea!)

Maybe this is how it's done at most book-signings. I don't know. Just that I counted dozens of ways this could have been a nightmare, and this B&N did it right. I've had my fill lately of incompetence and slipshod, piss-poor planning and execution ... so this was a refreshing experience.

*********
Anyway, holding #359, and with group #101-200 yet to be called, I had a little time to kill.

I'm almost as happy in a bookstore as I am in a record store, so I started browsing. I could've gone to get my yellow pork payload, but I thought the wiser and stuck around just in case things went quicker than anticipated. I got there right at 6:00 (fool me, I should've taken I-526 around instead of 17 skirting the 'historical district' -- oh well, at least I got to cross the new Cooper River Bridge, my first time on that span), and as it turned out, our group wasn't called until 7:55.

The good news is, the line started moving quickly. I got to the signing table exactly one hour later, 8:55.

They were giving out balloons to the folks in line. I declined, trying to keep my carry-on baggage as minimal as possible. Bag with book inside, plus digital camera. I could snag a balloon on my way out.

The line snaked through several aisles, however I'd already found my reading material for the wait (more on that at a later time).

They gave out cheesecake and chocolate something-or-other cake samples to those of us in line. Not surpringly, I declined. Now when they were offering cups of water ... well, I happily took 'em up on those.

As I was maybe 2/3 of the way to the table, I struck a conversation with two ladies behind me. Both were teachers in the area, and they didn't bring a camera with 'em. I offered them a few bytes on the memory card, and took their e-mail addresses so I could send them. Very nice women, one of them has family in Bainbridge, Ga., where my FIL's family hails. Dyed-in-the-studded-collar UGA fan, too (her purse was a dead giveaway).

Just as we rounded the last curve into the homestretch, a lady came to all of us, asking one simple question: "Ranger or Morelli?" Evidently, she was giving out "I ♥ (RANGER)(MORELLI)" stickers. I had no Earthly idea just what the hell that meant. You might as well have asked Seraphim, Kate/Susan or Melissa "RCA plugs or XLR?" or even "Phthalocyanine or Cyanine?" (I much prefer the latter myself).

I started turning to my new 'friends', "A little help, please?" (I then realized my pick would probably not have been correct, and the wrong choice among Evanovichphiles would be akin to giving Nettiemac a Clemson sweatshirt, ya know?). I didn't have to. She said, "Ohhh, here's a Man Sticker for you.", as she put a generic "Plum Spooky" decal into my hands. Ha ha. The ladies both got a good laugh ... but none more than me. It struck me as just, uhhh, plum funny. "Man sticker." Gotta remember that line.....

I hadn't planned on having my picture taken with Ms. Evanovich -- my wife is the devotee, after all; I hadn't so much as heard of her prior to Sera starting her books -- but my "queue pals" pushed me to do so. "C'mon, your wife will love it!" Yeeeeah, okay.

Once there, whom I assume was JE's manager took the camera and had me pose with her as she signed the book. I told her the circumstances of my being there, and she smiled really big. Not much else was said, as I didn't want to hold up the line (there were at least another 100 folks behind me).

I sensed nothing but good vibes coming from Janet Evanovich. No arrogance. No ego. And no "Why am I doing this for you little people?" star trip. She was plain nice. Amazing, considering I don't envy the task of signing hundreds upon hundreds of books and posing for pictures (with all the flashes going off all evening, it's a damn wonder Miz Janet was able to friggin' SEE where she was writing!!). What's more, I overheard someone ahead of me in line remarking to the effect that JE has a mean case of carpal-tunnel syndrome. Yeesh.

My "queue pals" then had their photo-ops, and I took their e-mail addresses. They should already have their suitable-for-framing JPEG in their respective computers.

*********
And there you have it. I left the store, then realized I didn't have a balloon to give my wife. I doubled back inside, only to see none available. I went back out, and saw an entire bouquet attached to the portable sign promoting the book-signing. I peeled away the layers of packing tape and liberated the whole batch.

Walking to my car, I understood how Nena must've felt. There had to have been at least 99 of 'em, or so it seemed.

Then, at the crazy hour of 9:10 p.m. I was back on the road. I-526 this time, pal. There was no getting home before Seraphim. I was looking at an 11:30-ish arrival back in Rincon. I pondered just how to frame this, because my wife would no doubt wonder where in hades her husband had gone.

I was pulling into a Circle K on the west side of Charleston when Sera called. She asked me where I was, and I told her "At the Circle K." :-) (I was hoping she wouldn't ask which one!)

At this late hour, and being in a hurry, the barbecue didn't happen. I had to settle for Subway on the way home. Maybe next time.

So there you are. My little traipse into The Literary Dark Side.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "More on that in my book" Gleck

08 January 2009

A derelict relic

....sitting on an old picnic table. (Or, for those who remember Yogi Bear, "pic-a-nick table")

I figured it was time for another thumbnail in the new year, so I pulled it from the above shot. Sera took this at an abandoned roadside park along US-301 north of Folkston, Ga.

30+ years ago, this was likely an attractive, well-manicured rest and lunch spot for all the Florida-bound travelers back when I-95 wasn't complete (the final link - opened in 1978 - was the Savannah River stretch between Hardeeville and I-16).

I've told of my chemical aversion to deviled ham and the reason that is so. It's all of no matter; I'd gladly eat a can straight, no chaser, if I could again experience the idyll of a roadside picnic in a place like this, back in its prime.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "No household garbage in state litter barrels" Gleck

07 January 2009

Back in the saddle again......

First weigh-in tonight since before Christmas. And my second plus sign: +1.2

I knew going in that it wouldn't be a green number .... for one thing, I didn't do a whole lot of counting points during Festivus. Between traveling to and from Alabama, the time spent going and doing while Tiger was over here, the daily point target was by and large ignored. I didn't go overboard, ala Birmingham or pre-WW, but it wasn't my model behavior either.

The other thing complicating the mix was what I first thought was a badly sprained ankle. I was barely able to walk between Tuesday (30th) and Thursday (1st). Seraphim and I had our traditional "Two-Year Kiss" sitting down! (the 2YK is a Tal & Sera tradition -- we start kissing at 11:59:50 and go until about 12:00:05 or so ... ever since 1998-1999, our years begin and end the same way: joined at the lips, in a sweet embrace). Anyhoo, the parallel pain on my big toe was a dead giveaway: this wasn't a sprain, but instead a gout attack all over my right foot.

Today, it's still a tad bit sore and I'm not limping spastically like I was a week ago. That's good. What isn't good is that with a bad foot I wasn't able to do any walking of consequence. Little to no activity.

I went in there hoping for the damage to be contained to no more than two (2) pounds gained, so in that way it was good news.

And now it's back to The Format. A new year, and some new goals (as you can tell, I didn't make 55 by year's end). And they are:

60 pounds removed by Wednesday, 17 February (two days before our planned trip to West Virginia). If I cannot make 60, then I'll settle for 59 even: 20% of my May '08 weight gone. That's six (6) weeks from tonight. All I need is -1.1 pounds per week and I'll have that nailed.

My initial goal ... - 75 pounds removed by May 5 (one year on WW) ... I believe is still workable, even with going off program next month for the Big West Virginia-Kentucky-Missouri-Tennessee Roadtrip. 17 weeks away ... so, assuming a two-pound gain after vacation, that'll give me a par of -1.39 per week. Okay, the pressure is on. There's no longer any room for error. And the 75 goal is what I really want to make.

As 2009 begins, the cume number is readjusted to 53.4 pounds.

Now to get this damned foot de-gouted, so I can get back into a little movement.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "still over 50 pounds, though" Gleck

06 January 2009

Till death (or radiation) do us part ...

None of you should be surprised to find gobs of saccharine, aspartame and whatever the hades is the technical term for "Splenda" cascading out of your monitors, speakers and any other orifice of your computers. It should. Today is The Day.

On this, Day Six of January in Ought-Nine, is the 8th anniversary of the day I said "I do" in front of an audience smaller than the Maytag Repairman's client list (I dare say there were more folks in the wedding party than out in the pews .... long story .... don't want to get started .... will explain on request .... anyway ..... too many ellipses as it is ..... )

For those who joined the network since the old website (with wedding pictures) was taken down, here are my vows to Seraphim as I gave them on 01/06/2001:

(Seraphim), this is our day, a celebration of all we are together, and all we can accomplish together. You and I were tested from the very start ... over two years of a long distance relationship that would've torn apart many. But we passed that trial. And here we stand today.

Our meeting was more than mere chance. I desired a friend who would be honest, not judgmental. A companion who would see my many quirks as part of the whole picture, not something to be ashamed of. A supporter who would inspire me and encourage me to reach my potential. Plus, a woman who would accept and love my son ... an additional mother figure whom my son could love and cherish.

(Sera), you are all those things ... you are truly my best friend. I feel very strongly that God brought you to me at the right time, and helped carry us through a 93-mile separation, and finally last Summer, put both of us in the same city, at the same time. Some would call that the stars lining up just right ... but I know better.

Surviving a failed marriage, as I did, gave me the gift to see from a different angle everything that marriage is. It's not something to rush into without thought. And it's not something that magically gives us security. Marriage is truly a Godly element of life ... and entering into this beautiful union with you is not something I've taken lightly. And marriage will not bring us security — I already feel secure with you, a security that nearly three years of friendship has created. I'm a better person for knowing all that you are.

(Sera), I promise to you, before God, and our family and friends, to love, honor and cherish you. That I will be your safe harbor, and your biggest cheering section.

There's a note you wrote to me last year, and I keep it right next to the computer ... "It takes me only a moment to say ‘I love you', but it will take me a lifetime to show you how very much." I promise to do just that. Every day will be a new opportunity to renew the pact we're making today.

That note, by the way, still hangs within view of this monitor:
It still seems more than surreal that I have been blessed with a woman like Seraphim as my wife for eight years. She seems to be falling apart, with more doctors than Subway locations in a single city block, and so many pills on her daily list that she needs a jumbo-sized smtwtfs* just to hold all of her medications.

Inside, though, her soul and her heart hold strong.

* Smtwtfs (sum-UH-twah-fuss) n. A plastic apparatus, with seven separate compartments, for tracking, allocating and remembering pill dosage. So named because that cryptic word is always on the top, one letter embossed on each lid. (root = latin smtwtum, "pharmaceutical cocktail of obscene proportions")

This day will be celebrated as a husband and wife should never do: not touching one another. We cannot. Doctor's orders. Yesterday, Sera took one pill .... a radioactive pill .... in a hopeful effort to nuke (literally) her Grave's Disease, a recent diagnosis of a malperforming thyroid - one issue piled on many others. Therefore, I cannot share a bed with her, touch her, nor share a "facility" with her. Furthermore, she is to wash her dishes and clothes separately from mine.

But we press on. "In sickness and in health" isn't a faddish expression, after all. I love her unraveling self. Each radioactive ion of her being, I do.

I love you, Seraphim. We'll get to the bottom of the medical mysteries and before long you'll be back to full tilt. Meanwhile, I've got your back.

Happy anniversary, love of my life! Another year to share together and I remain excited about the miles and miles of road ahead for us.

XXXXXXXXX
--Your Couch-dwelling Curmudgeon

05 January 2009

Okay, so I was NOT dreaming this place!

Wayfara. It was the name of a roadside stop which to my early memory seemed to be at every other exit along I-75 in Florida. Ever since first going online in December of '96, I would occasionally Google (or Alta-Vista, Yahoo or Dogpile before that) the name "Wayfara" just to see what pops up. For years the only return seemed to be a convenience store by that name at the Yulee exit along I-95 north of Jacksonville. Today, it's little more than your average gas station/overpriced food store combo.

I figured maybe it was part of this Wayfara chain in an earlier time. Maybe.

That bright orange bow-tie like sign has haunted my subconscious for decades, and as I told my wife over the weekend, while coming back from Jacksonville, that logo has been known to make infrequent cameo appearances in roadtrip dreams I'll have.

(Yes, I do sometimes have dreams where I'm driving somewhere. I know that's shocking to read from me, so just shut up).

Growing up, we'd make Summer trips to Sarasota, Fla. They were islands of idyll in what were fairly turbulent waters. Three things defined the trips down there:
1) Technicolor highway shields. (I'll spare you a further rant .... this time .....)
2) Horne's. That was a Stuckey's spinoff that took on their teal-colored motif with loud yellow rooftops. (Today, there's just one Horne's left: Port Royal, Va. I made a side trip over there during my visit to the DC area in 2003. You know I had to. While Sera had "time with girl family", I broke off on my own and drove to Port Royal. One word: awesome. PS to Kate/Susan and Melissa: if you're in the area, it's worth a stop. The milkshakes were great.)
.... and 3) Wayfara.

Now we didn't stop at either Wayfara or Horne's. Wayfara struck me as another Stuckey's competitor. I didn't know anything about it except the signage.

On a earlier trip to Jacksonville with Tiger, I saw something buried in the trees at the Yulee exit along I-95: a painted-over empty white sign in that four-pointed shape. Holy crap ... that WAS a Wayfara. Maybe this wasn't a figment of a road geek's imagination.

Which leads me to one more search, which yielded the above picture. Indiana - go figure. Maybe Wayfara was a midwestern or northern chain with locations in Florida. That's the way it seems ... a chain will make it big in the nawth, but not the southland; however, once you cross the line into the Sunshine State, all of those "Yankee" icons suddenly make a reappearance.

Bob Evans is a good example. Few, if any, down here; in Florida, they're as plentiful as they are in Pennsylvania. Obviously catering to the snowbirds who like their familiar tastes of home.

I know little to nothing else about Wayfara. Horne's, on the other hand, has one amazing and awesome historical tribute.

So I was not dreaming this place. I could picture that logo above clearly in my mind, although I hadn't seen a single image of one since 1976, our last trip to Sarasota.

Today, the irony doesn't escape me: this Wayfara also has a Stuckey's section. While there, you can partake of "hot eats and cool treats", too. Let's all go to the Stuckfara Queen!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Greetings From Yesterday's Road" Gleck

03 January 2009

Private message

...to Kate/Susan:

I'M AWAKE.

That is all.

--Talmadge "My Wife Hears the Siren Call of Williams-Sonoma" Gleck

01 January 2009

December 1972: Lightning in a bottle .... mostly.

Hello and happy 2009 to all.

We open the year with a look at American Top 40 for December 16, 1972. Out of all the countdowns I've posted here, this might be one of my favorites. Plenty of magical, underrated hits all over this one. Yes, there are a couple of revolting pieces of vinyl, with a handful of "meh" records. But who or what is perfect?

Here we go..............

*40) ANGEL / Rod Stewart
The Rodster covers Jimi Hendrix. Not a five-star song by any stretch, but holds its own.

39) WHAT AM I CRYING FOR? / Dennis Yost & The Classics IV
Uhhhh, because your best days are long behind you??? They made their biggest hits - "Spooky", "Stormy" and "Traces" - in the late '60s. Two members of this sixsome (shouldn't this group's name have been "Classics VI" ... or was this an unresolved typo?) went on to be part of Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Here's a neat coincidence ... two records debuted the same week, each separately by husband and wife:

*38) DON'T LET ME BE LONELY TONIGHT / James "Stretch Marks on his Mouth" Taylor
A splendid piece of balladry. One of JT's better hits.

*37) YOU'RE SO VAIN / Carly "The Reason" Simon
It's long been a mystery as to whom this record was directed. Mick Jagger? Warren Beatty? Kris Kristofferson? Hell, one name suggested in The Online Encyclopedia Of Sometimes Dubious Credibility is Daffy Duck!

If you think it's about you, then we know the answer. ;-)

36) SUNNY DAYS / Lighthouse
Positively trippy. And positively wonderful. Should've been top 10.

35) I DIDN'T KNOW I LOVED YOU ('TILL I SAW YOU ROCK AND ROLL) / Gary Glitter
Follow-up to the top-10 smash "Rock and Roll, Part 2" ... or, as I saw it listed on my son's high school jazz band concert a couple years back, "The 'Hey' Song."

Uhhhhh, yeah.

34) ALIVE / The Bee Gees
The end of their first (i.e. 'ballad') era. Three years later, they'd be j-j-j-jive talking. It reminds me of the time Seraphim brought some '70s music to work with her for some employee function or other. One CD she pulled from the shelf was Bee Gees Gold., expecting the late '70s disco flavour. Imagine my wife's surprise when she realized the most uptempo song on that disc is probably "I Started a Joke."

33) IF I COULD REACH YOU / The Fifth Dimension
From the same corner of the room as 5D's sweet heartfelt romantic hit "One Less Bell To Answer." Close the window and draw the blinds, the sunshine ain't coming in no more.

32) I WANNA BE WITH YOU / The Raspberries
Eric Carmen wrote this one all by himse...... ummmm, errrr, ahhh, anyway. This was back when EC rocked. This was fantastic power pop.

31) BEEN TO CANAAN / Carole King
Melissa has. And now I want to go, too. At 50 degrees, it's too damned hot down here. I want mountains and snow.

30) I'LL BE AROUND / The Spinners
Soul music still had the magic touch, and there are more than a few R&B treasures. I'd say it's my favorite Spinners record.

29) I'D LOVE YOU TO WANT ME / Lobo
By this time it was clear that mid December of '72 was a wonderful moment of top-40 time. You've heard "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" so many times you want to rescue Boo from his evil caretakers. ILYTWM shined on late '72 radio. A great pop song.

28) PIECES OF APRIL / Three Dog Night
3DN come down with Ballad Fever. Danny Hutton must've had one beer too many with David Gates.

27) SUPERSTITION / Stevie Wonder
Stevie's Midas touch continued unabated in the '70s with this, one of the biggest hits of late '72 and early '73.

26) LONG DARK ROAD / The Hollies
A singles band most associated with the late '60s, with hits like "Bus Stop", "Carrie Anne" and the Richard Carpenter song "She Ain't Heavy, She's My Sister." Oops, sorry. Well, you know what I mean.

The '70s gave this group two top-10'ers: "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)" earlier in '72 and "Air That I Breathe" in '74. While "Road" didn't get much higher than this on the chart ... it remains my favorite Hollies track. It's dark, but not in a sappy, whiny kind of way.

25) DIALOGUE / Chicago
From one favorite to another. Robert Lamm writes and sings another winner. Peter Cetera's grubby paws hadn't yet destroyed the integrity of a great brass-flavoured rock & roll band.

In its long form (Parts I & II) on Chicago V, it stands as an underrated classic rock song. Here, it's in an edited version taken from both parts, something I hadn't heard since the early '70s.

24) YOUR MAMA DON'T DANCE / Loggins & Messina
Did anyone say "Peter Cetera's Disease"? Jim Messina carried Kenny Loggins' testicles around, and took 'em away when the duo split up in 1978. Like Cetera and a few others, it was ballad city for Kenny Boy. ("Whenever I call you fiend".....)

23) SITTING / Cat Stevens
One more lost classic brought to the forefront. I love the piano hook.

22) OPERATOR / Jim Croce
It was a little disturbing to hear Casey Kasem talking about Croce in the present tense (Like Buddy Holly, Croce had an untimely death just as his star was rising).

21) WALK ON WATER / Neil Diamond
Forgotten gem from the time when ND began to take that first bite from the Cetera Apple. I don't remember it firsthand, just years later through radio airchecks. One doesn't hear this much anymore, which is too bad.

20) LIVING IN THE PAST / Jethro Tull
What do you think I do with these AT40 review posts??!! In the dictionary underneath this entry it says "See also GLECK, TALMADGE" Or some would think. (I like to say I have one of my feet in the past, so I can enjoy the now with Seraphim on the other one)

The song? B2AC classic rock song. I prefer to dig into this group's great album tracks.

19) SUMMER BREEZE / Seals & Crofts
A staple of Light AC stations everywhere. If you're allergic to jasmine, you're pretty much screwed.

18) CORNER OF THE SKY / The Jackson Five
Yes, the J5 had hits well into the '70s. "Corner" is passable ... not bad by any measure, but doesn't peg my "Oh Wow" meter, either. Of course, this didn't test well with the Soccer Moms®, so all you hear from this group is "ABC", "I Want You Back" and "The Love You Save."

17) KEEPER OF THE CASTLE / The Four Tops
When Motown 'sold out' (so to speak) and moved to Hollywood in 1972, the Tops stayed in Detroit and signed with ABC/Dunhill Records. Their sound had evolved away from Berry Gordy's "safe" definition and toward a more edgy breed of soul. Here, Levi Stubbs' vocals are perfect for the sound. What's notable here is that the Four Tops went more than 40 years (!) without a lineup change. It took Lawrence Payton's death in 1997 to force the issue.

16) SWEET SURRENDER / Bread
David Gates somehow escapes the Peter Cetera curse with his over-reliance on ballads. I cannot put my finger on why, just that Bread doesn't cause my nausea level to spike. "Surrender"? I can take it or leave it. (Some of you might not be aware that Bread could rock out. Google "Mother Freedom" or the wonderful "Let Your Love Go" for examples).

15) SUPERFLY / Curtis Mayfield
Yeaaaaaaah. 1972. Blacker-than-black SOUL. Curtis' falsetto. The horns. The sound. Give me an extra helping, please.

14) CRAZY HORSES / The Osmonds
When Donny said he was "a little bit rock and roll", brother did he mean it. I don't recall hearing this record at all -- especially not in Tupelo, but not Birmingham either. It doesn't sound like The Osmonds, who themselves did get uptempo with the likes of "Down By the Lazy River."

Personally, I think this was a cynical effort to infiltrate AOR/"underground" FM radio. Listen for yourself.

13) SOMETHING'S WRONG WITH ME / Austin Roberts
Best-known for a top-10 hit in 1975, "Rocky." Supposedly, Roberts had a side gig as a collaborator on Scooby Doo and Josie & The Pussycats.

A worthy entry for the K-TAL Woe Is Me whiny wecords hall of fame. "Something's Wrong", indeed.

12) FUNNY FACE / Donna Fargo
No doubt, her status as "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA" caused a case of fatal ego. She was singing this as she looked at herself in the mirror. A revolting C&W crossover. Air sickness bag, please........

11) ROCKIN' PNEUMONIA - BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU / Johnny Rivers
One I fondly remember from second grade. Loved it then, love it now. Sounds best when played on AM radio.

10) I'M STONE IN LOVE WITH YOU / The Stylistics
Thankfully, my barf bag from the Fargo record above still has enough room for one more heaving retch. May I remind you again that this is a MALE singing lead?

9) I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW / Johnny Nash
Yeah, you know it. It's a good song, even with myopic vision. What I remember about the song is how much the wife of a co-worker of Dad's used to love it. They lived down the street from us in Tupelo, and she'd occasionally babysit my brother and me. Looking back, she was borderline hippie. She tried forcefeeding me David Bowie, but my grade-school self wasn't quite ready for The AOR Dark Side. (PS - they'd later divorce ... note to self: ask Dad about it some time)

8) VENTURA HIGHWAY / America
Another B2AC "adult contemporary" mainstay. At least they named the highway. Poor horse...

7) CLAIR / Gilbert O'Sullivan
Is there still enough roo.... Uh, never mind. I'm gonna need a whole new barf bag. From the album Cradle Robber (Naturally). At first you think it's a sick ballad about an older man's lust for a young girl, but then you learn it's actually a paean to his niece. Oh, and there really was a Clair, and she was the infant daughter of Gilbert's producer/manager. It's Clair's giggling you hear at the end.

Doesn't make it right, though. Pass the bag, I feel another song comin' on.

6) PAPA WAS A ROLLIN' STONE / The Temptations
Baby Daddy leaves. Makes one thankful for our own wretched lives. The song? The ever-lovin' temptin' Temps could do no wrong. Personified the dark sound of latter-day Motown.

5) IT NEVER RAINS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / Albert Hammond

If so, then why do the cars on the dealership lots have windshield wipers? Oh yeah, you'll need them. Because .... say it with me ... "It pours. Man, it pours." (Sorta like my grandparents' old '67 AMC Ambassador.)

4) YOU OUGHTA BE WITH ME / Al Green
There was, and is, no such thing as a bad Al Green record. Period. (And that's REVEREND Al Green to us, buster!)

3) IF YOU DON'T KNOW ME BY NOW / Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
Original version; some might remember the 1989 remake by Simply Red. As is the case 95% of the time, the original is superior.

2) I AM WOMAN / Helen Reddy
She came a long way, baby. And then blew up any hopes of ever becoming a feminist heroine by retreating into submissive balladry. I think I've ranted about this here before, so we'll just move along to this week's number one hit:

Hi, this is Godly Casem, and we're up to our Number Seven Commandment. Jingle, please....

[cue pipe organ and angelic choir] COMMANDMENT NUMBER SEVEEEEEEENNNN.....

1) ME AND MRS. JONES / Billy Paul
Adultery topped the charts in 1972. Sounds to me like Billy's wife didn't heed the sage words of Jack Jones back in 1963 from his hit song "Wives and Lovers":

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again


Mrs. Paul, with her hair still in those gaudy curlers and pins (allowing her to pick up radio and TV signals from 200 miles away), had the last laugh.

Think about that next time you pick up a box of frozen fish sticks at the grocery store.

So that's how pop music radio sounded at the end of 1972. I could've lived with such a list. For every "Funny Face" there were several "Sunny Days."

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge Coast To Coast