“Fitts’ Law would be news to Microsoft.”
New Critters In The Pool
A hearty welcome to all of the latest C.W. McCall fans to cannonball into the pool:
Keith Barr (Frederick, Colorado) · Eric Weir · Wayne Simmons · Stewart Schley (Engelwood, Colorado) · Scott Rusch · Jason Losh (New York City, New York) · Scott Pitts (Yerington, Nevada) · Bob Sandmann (Fort Worth, Texas) · Mark Snyder · Jimmy Silver (Spokane, Idaho) · Gary Davis (Bountiful, Utah) · Iva Hysjulien (Stanley, North Dakota) · Chuck McCall (no relation to C.W.) · Barbara Balkwill (Cambridge, Massachusetts, or somewhere nearby) · Terry Huckleberry (Meadville, Pennsylvania) · Mike (Fort Pierce, Florida) · James “Storyteller” Pritchett (Honolulu, Hawai’i) · John (New York) · James Herring (Boonville, Missouri) · Pony Horton (Lancaster, California) · Peter Brace (Australia)
Where Was It?
New Critter Keith Barr has done some investigation using Google Earth:
So, if you’ve got Google Earth installed, download Keith’s bookmarks and find the places in C.W.’s songs.
Tales of the Old Home Café
[Ed.’s note: This Tale occurs before the first-ever episode of “Old Home Café: The Next Generation”. Consider this to be the real beginning of the story.]
Tale II: Not Too Long Ago
Bob Rainey sat on a red vinyl stool at the counter of the Old Home Café, looking out the front window and counting the license plates. In the past ten minutes he’d spotted eighteen out-of-state cars, three trucks from Iowa, and a motorcycle of indeterminant origin. He was pretty sure that the bike was a Harley, though.
Other than that vehicular entertainment, Bob had nothing to do. The Café was empty; not a single customer filled a single seat. Outside, the parking lot was empty except for a broken-down 1985 Chevy Nova that George Balin has sworn to move ‘the next day’. But that next day was three weeks ago, and George had sworn on every visit since then that he’d move the car ‘tomorrow’. Bob was starting to think that the Chevy would still be there when the leaves fell in the fall.
In the kitchen, Mickey was finishing up the cleaning of the morning dishes, what few there were. And he had turned down the propane on the grill, just keeping it just warm enough in case someone ordered a burger or two. But as noontime slowly passed — the time was now 12:49 PM, Central Daylight Time — the probably of a combination of meat and grill seemed more remote with every tick of the clock.
Bob sipped coffee from his personal cup, an old souvenir from the Café’s better days back in the ’70s. On the cup was a man leaning over the lunch counter and telling the waitress that “Old Home Is Good Buns”. The coffee was getting cold.
A waitress wasn’t on duty, even at this time which should have been the busiest period of the day for a restaurant. Carly, the one and only waitress at the Café, had ended her morning at 10; she’d be back at 4 for the evening rush. In-between then she did some baby-sitting and tried to sell her arts and crafts on eBay.
The customers of the Old Home Café tended to be early risers, and someone was always waiting at the door when Bob opened up at 6 AM. Between then and 10 o’clock about two dozen Café regulars would drop in, with maybe four or five truckers who were passing by during an early morning run between Des Moines and Omaha. Not exactly heavy traffic for the only gulp-and-go for twenty miles either east or west.
Bob greeted the customers, took their orders, served them, and bussed the tables during the mid-day lull. And when he wasn’t occupied with the business of running a restaurant, he was wondering why he was running a restaurant and contemplating how to gracefully exit the business of running a restaurant.
Listen To The Heartland
A long time ago, I mentioned a radio program that was broadcast on KCSN (88.5 FM, from California State University, Northridge), “Classic Heartland”. Well, Heartland long ago moved to the Internet, and Heartland Public Radio (a.k.a. ‘HPR’) is now a streaming radio station with two streams: HPR1 “Classic Heartland” (much like its original incarnation) and HPR2 “All Cowboy Radio” (yes, Western music that ‘country radio’ won’t touch).
As a non-profit organization, HPR depends on support from its listeners. But unlike some organizations, you don’t get a cheesy tote bag for your donation. In fact, for $20 per month and higher, you will receive a ‘CD-a-Month’ from one of several independent music artists and record labels, whose music is played on HPR.
So, if you’re weary of all-hit country music, click over to Heartland Public Radio a give a listen to good music without commercials. And send ’em a few bucks.
(By the way, somewhere in the archives of The Legend-News I’ve got the transcript of a interview with Bill Fries, with George Fair at Classic Heartland. I’ll dig that out and post it. — Ed.)
No, I’m not referring to Bill, but to his music.
I receive a lot of requests like “I was wondering if you knew where I could get songs that weren’t released on CD, like ‘Super Slab Showdown’, ‘Riverside Slide’ and ‘Pine Tar Wars’”, to quote a recent message.
My standard answer is “buy the vinyl”, but that’s obviously not a good choice for most people these days. (“What’s a turntable?” asks the man in the back.)
However, despite the lack of official audio CDs of the Original Six albums, I am working on a solution to the unavailability of two-thirds of C.W.’s output. But that’s all that you’re going to hear from me on that subject, until this project is ready or killed.
So don’t ask me again, ’cause I ain’t talkin’.
[The web page that was referenced in this section was not available on 2012-04-26 — Future Ed.]
Letters to Ed.
Mark Viets sent to me some comments about the song “Super Slab Showdown”. I had added some footnotes to the song, explaining the slang terms used in it, but Mark has a few more details.
I just stumbled across your website in a websearch. I was actually searching for the term “Monfort Lane,” and I think I have something to add to the notes on this page.
There is more to the term “hood full of bees” than the reference in your footnote 23. One of the names used for the two-stroke Dietroit Diesel engines of the day was “bumblebee” because of their different sound compared to a four-stroke. A six-cylinder, four-stroke engine, such as Cummins or Caterpillar was using at the time, would fire a cylinder approximately 5500 times per minute. The two-stroke Detroit fires every cylinder on every revolution, so it automatically doubles the firing events for the same number of cylinders. Added to this, the big power Detroit Diesel of the day (actually the big power engine of the day) was the 12V71TT, which was a 12-cylinder V configuration. Having twice as many cylinders again doubles the number of firing events. The Detroits also turned somewhat higher RPMs, leading to a final total of somewhere around 27,000 cylinder firing events per minute at full speed. This earned the 12V the name “Buzzin’ Dozen.”
The bottom line is that I’m practiallyy certain that the meaning of the “hood full of bees” line is that the Peterbilt in question was powered by a 12V71 engine.
I don’t know your background, this all may be known to you already. [I’m a computer guy. CPUs I know; internal combustion is a sideline. — Ed.] If, however, you are not familiar with the old two-strokes, search for video of NTPA semi pulling competition. The 12V71 is still a popular engine in that sport, and at the elevated horsepower levels these modified trucks operate the sound is at a completely new level.
From new Critter Barbara Balkwill:
I’ve been a critter since the ’70s but didn’t know ’til now that I wasn’t the only one. I just happened to hear a C.W. McCall song on the radio (streaming a Tennessee country station on the computer) and decided to Google!
I have two albums, and tried really hard to turn my husband on to them, but he’s a metal head and doesn’t have time for country. Maybe if I tied him to a chair and make him listen to the words…
Anyway, thanks for letting me know I’m not alone!
End Of The Line
“Pine Tar Wars” was mentioned a bit earlier. It’s not on any C.W. McCall album, although Bill Fries did sing it. The writer of the song was Larry Stewart, a philanthropist in Kansas City. The Kansas City Star of 2006 December 29 has an article about it.
Larry had revealed his identity as the ‘Secret Santa’ shortly before Thanksgiving 2006. Unfortunately, Larry died from cancer on January 13.
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