What We Got Here
- Site News: Ch-ch-changes.
- Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch: They're everywhere.
- Old Home Café: The Next Generation: Episode the XXIV.
- Song A’ Th’ Week: "Rocky Mountain September".
TechRen.net is undergoing some changes, although I'm not responsible for all of them.
My web hosting service, WestHost, has been transitioning all of its existing sites to a new configuration. During that transition, files have been moved, directory permissions changed, and user accounts modified; actions which are, on the whole, welcome and desireable. However, all of the files that were on the TechRen.net FTP site have 'disappeared': yep, they've vanished into the ether. Not only that, but access to the anonymous FTP site was disabled, so if you have recently attempted to connect to the site and have been asked for a username and password, then you've experienced the change.
I have re-enabled anonymous FTP, but as I write this article there are no files to download. Technically, there is one file, but that file is just an explanation about the missing files. I have backups of the files, but I will need to upload them and I'm still on a 56k dial-up connection (insert sneer of disgust), so all of the files might not be online until the end of the week (20 September).
A long time ago, before the Other Wild Places discussion list was available by e-mail, I had created an online forum at the old eGroups site. eGroups was subsequently purchased by Yahoo!, and the C.W. McCall forum was removed when I decided to recreate Other Wild Places as a mailing list.
The discussions on Other Wild Places peaked during the Summer of Convoy 2000; since then, postings — with the exception of issues of The Legend-News — have been rare. Although the messages have been infrequent, they have been interesting. Rich Heryford (a.k.a. 'WD6ESZ') has been maintaining an archive of OWP messages on the CWMcCall group at Yahoo! Groups.
Then, about one month ago, someone on the Other Wild Places list was infected by the Microsoft Windows Virus-Of-The-Month™, and the unpublished address for list submissions became semi-public knowledge. I immediately suspended the automatic posting of messages to the discussion list. Since then, that address has received over 500 messages, of which less than 10 were messages that pertained to the group. At this time, reviving the Other Wild Places mailing list is not a good idea.
So as of today, 14 September 2003, I'm announcing the new Other Wild Places, a web-based forum for the discussion of C.W. McCall and related phenomena. I've created a couple of forums and several topics; please visit Other Wild Places and register as a member. If you have any questions, ask them in the "Ask Ed." topic.
Please note that the forums are still 'under construction': I'll be tweaking the interface, to better match the overall design of TechRen.net.
What do the forum changes mean for the e-mail delivery of The Legend-News? Uh, well, you know, yeah, okay, it's history. Sorry about that. Strangely, of all of the people who have subscribed to the Legend-News list — which only contains issues of The Legend-News — only 6 people on that list are not also subscribed to the Other Wild Places list. Which means that about 190 of you must be receiving two copies of each issue, because you're on both lists.
Since Other Wild Places is moving to the web, and you'll need to be online to read it, and most of you are on the OWP list, then publishing the text-only version of the newsletter isn't worth the effort any longer. True, you'll need to actually check the web site once in a while to read The Legend-News, but when was the last time that it carried time-sensitive news? You can read a month-old Legend-News and still be current.
However, I will be creating a new list just for announcing the publication of a new issue of The Legend-News. The messages on that list will be short, containing little more than the "What We Got Here" list of topics, or maybe the occasional excuse as to why I haven't published an issue. If you want to be notified when a new issue of The Legend-News is published, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Critters On The Block
Really New: Eric Warren of West Frankfort, Illinois (drives his girlfriend nuts listening to C.W.)
Previously Overlooked: Ron Sparks, a.k.a Sanity Challenged; Chris Neal of Glendale, Arizona (diehard C.W. McCall fan); Mike Madonna of Arnold, Missouri.
Critters In The Wild
Winter comes early to the Colorado San Juan Mountains!, a News Flash from Crispy Critter Bob Norton:
09/09/03 0830 PM Silverton, San Juan County Snow . 4 inches of snow. 10 inches at Molas Pass. 09/09/03 0600 PM 27 miles N of Durango, San Juan County Snow. 4 inches of snow at Durango mountain ski resort Statement as of 4:30 am MDT on September 10, 2003 ...Winter Weather Advisory Cancelled... snow showers have diminished across the southwestern San Juan Mountains this morning. Showers will likely redevelop over the area during the day... however additional accumulations are expected to be light.
American Spirit. Chris Guenther writes,
"Attached you will find a small article on the American Spirit album for your archives. It appeared in the September 2003 issue of Highways magazine which is published for the members of the Good Sam RV club.
"Also, if you're keeping track, there was a small display of American Spirit CD's at the Customer Service counter of my local King Spooers (AKA: Kroger, & City Market) store."
Ron Flory says about Bill Fries,
"I interviewed him on a friends program at public radio station KCSN in Northridge, California. I did tape it; if it is alright with Bill I will send you a copy. It was a great interview along with one with Red Simpson.
We'll add this interview to our archives, as soon as our copy arrives.
Ron also mentioned The World's Largest Truck Convoy which The Legend-News covered two years ago. This year's event was held in Orlando, Florida on 13 September. The Orlando Sentinel reported that 236 trucks participated in this year's event.
Harry Parsons adjusted the latch on a sausage bin, then straightened up and flung his arms wide. "Ta-da!" he exclaimed. "The Auto-Dog!"
The gleaming, stainless steel Auto-Dog stood in the middle of the Old Home Café's dining room, emitting a low hum. To make room for the machine, four tables had been moved to the far side of the room where they were now blocking the booths. Fortunately, the customer count was low and no one complained. In fact, those present in the room were staring at the Auto-Dog, wondering if it was to be used for good or for evil.
Avis had taken a break from her job at the bank across the street. She was sitting at Booth One with Jon; both were examining the Auto-Dog before them.
"You want to buy this?" asked Avis.
"Maybe. But not until I've tested it," said Jon. "This is the first time that I've seen it. Harry showed me some pictures last week, but a good demonstration is what I need."
Harry's one-hundred-watt smile illuminated the room. Obviously, he was proud of his invention. Months of design and manufacturing, weeks of travelling across the country looking for customers, and now he felt that the Auto-Dog's big break was about to happen. "Shall I fire her up, Mr. Bach?" he prompted.
Jon shrugged. "Sure, why not? Let's she what she can do."
A few minutes earlier, Harry had loaded a couple of the sausage bins and bun bins, primed the condiment dispensers, and lit the fire on the propane burner. The Auto-Dog was prepped. Now he stood in front of the touch-screen order panel and entered his desires, tapping on each of the clearly-labeled buttons. "One hot dog, on a poppy-seed bun, with onion, relish, yellow mustard, tomato, and a sprinkle of celery salt," he said, as the buttons beeped with their feedback. "And then, go!" he cried, pressing the large green "Go!" button.
The Auto-Dog continued its humming, which now rose to a higher pitch. From the bun bins on the far left, a poppy-seed hot dog bun dropped onto the central conveyor. The Auto-Dog hummed more loudly. The conveyor moved forward, stopping beneath the sausage module, where the bun was spread open and a well-steamed Vienna hot dog was lowered into it. The Auto-Dog hummed even more loudly, and Harry gave the machine a sharp whack! on the side. "Just breaking it in," he said.
A second later, the bun and dog where transported to the condiment module: mustard squirted onto the dog, but a little too forcefully, splattering Harry. "A small adjustment," he commented. The Auto-Dog hummed louder still.
Then the relish and onion nozzles traversed the bun, laying down a thin carpet of well-chopped pickles and onions. The Auto-Dog hummed even louder, and Harry gave it another whack! on the side. He smiled with chagrin.
Two thin slices of tomato were laid atop the developing hot dog as it continued its journey through the garden. And with nary a pause, a coup de grace of celery salt finished the sandwich, which proceeded to move towards the end of the conveyor where it would slide onto a waiting tray for a waiting customer. And the Auto-Dog hummed as loudly as it had ever hummed, and Harry gave the Auto-Dog still another whack! on the side.
The witnesses to the completion of this trial, who were Jon, Avis, Harry, eleven customers and Larry the cook, all agree on what happened next. Their descriptions are consistent, despite an apparent violation of the laws of physics regarding mass, velocity, and gravity. Suffice to say that the incident was memorable.
As Harry gave his final whack! to the Auto-Dog, the now-annoying hum ceased, replaced by a squeal that Larry said bore a resemblance to "a pig backing into the wrong end of a rusty nail". The conveyor, which until that moment had been moving at a sedate 10 centimeters per second — that's about 4 inches per second, for you non-metric readers — suddenly accelerated, and 200 grams — 7 ounces — of hot dog, bun, mustard, relish, onion, tomato and celery salt was propelled at a much higher rate of speed towards its final destination.
The hot dog did not slide onto the tray at the end of the conveyor; no, it travelled over the tray, in a low arc that was reminiscent of a shoulder-launched rocket targeting a ground-level tank. Yeah, that hot dog flew off the conveyor and flew through the air with the greatest of ease, until its journey was rudely interrupted by the side window of the Old Home Café. And as the hot dog sandwich was not aerodynamically designed for flight, it began to tumble as it flew, impacting the window condiment-side forward. The hot dog itself slipped from the bun, drawing a green-and-yellow trail of relish and mustard down the inside of the window, while the bun tenaciously stuck to the window right below the 'M' of the painted 'Old Home Café' letters on the window. The hot dog struck the bottom ledge of the window and flopped onto the top of the table of Booth 8. The bun resolutely adhered to the window for at least ten seconds before it fell backwards onto the napkin dispenser. The tomato slices remained stuck to the window.
The stunned witnesses slowly recovered from the event. The customers buzzed about it, Jon and Avis stared at each other, bewildered, and Harry Pastor flipped the power switch on the Auto-Dog. He looked sheepish.
"There seem to be a few bugs in the system," said Harry.
Yeah, mid-September and the snow's a-flyin' in the high country. Seems like it just left about three months ago.
Rocky Mountain September
(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album
Wolf Creek Pass
When the skies are gray, and the wind is cold, I remember. How the snow was silver, and the leaves were gold when I left her. It was early mornin', on a Rocky Mountain September. And she was gone.
Well now it's five A.M. an' I'm a hunnert an' ten miles from Denver
An' the snow is silver an' the leaves are gold an' I miss her
'Cause it's another mornin' on a another mountain September
An' I'm alone
Yeah, we climbed the mountain together, an' we stood on top a' the world. But now I gotta remember it all… alone.
When the fire is warm, an' the sun is cool, in November. When my heart is young, and my mind is old, I remember. An early mornin', on a Rocky Mountain September. And she's gone.
Well now it's fall again an' I'm a thousand miles from nowhere
An' I can can hear her voice an' I see her smile an' I miss her
An' it's another mornin' on another mountain September
An' I'm alone
Yeah, we climbed the mountain together, an' we stood on top a' the world. But now I gotta try to remember it all… alone.
Next Issue. 6 October, 'cause the next Monday in September is the fifth Monday, and our religion forbids productive activity on the fifth Monday of the month.
The Legend-News is published fortnightly — unless the fortnight is the fifth Monday, in which case it's published fortnightly-and-a-half — by TechRen Enterprises, a feeble reminder of a glorious past. Contents Copyright 2003 TechRen Enterprises, except for anything that we borrowed from someone else. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music. "Only the farmers win."