The Legend-News

Monday, 2003 May 19 : Volume 6, Number 10 Latest⇒

What We Got Here

American Spirit

The new album from Mannheim Steamroller and C.W. McCall is almost in stores. Better camp out on Tuesday morning, if you want to get yours. Of course, if you had preordered it from, you could just kick back with a cold one and wait for the postal people to leave a copy in your mailbox.

In a rare case of tooting its own horn (insert sarcastic "Yeah, right" here), The Legend-News received a letter to the editor, commenting upon last week's review of American Spirit, and suggesting that the writer (Ed., of course) should persue a new line of work.

You should definitely think of becoming a music critic. I know… you're biased. But it's uncanny how much we agree on the images invoked by this CD. I played it so loud the first time I thought I would lose my hearing. Thank you so much for your words.


Any person who cannot guess the true identity of "Bill" will be forced to listen to a Britney Spears / Mariah Carey duet.

Meanwhile, Back At The Critter Ranch

New Critters On The Block

Risking the ridicule of their hoity-toity neighbors, Sean Kinkade of Apopka, Florida, Dave and Alice Hanson of Terre Haute, Indiana and Lois Bee of Dufftown, Scotland have joined the ranks of the Crispy Critters. Dave Hanson, who submitted Lois' name for inclusion (we wonder if he told her first?), tells us "She plays C.W. recordings in her classroom, and they quit being rowdy and listen. Those Scottish lad and lassie critters love it." Ah, the global appeal of C.W. MacCall. :)

[A note to the school-age children of the United States: Scotland is not a state; Scotland is a country, located to the north of England. Anyone asking "where's England?" will get a week's detention.]

Honk! Honk!

C.W. wrote that "All the tracks are gone for scrap iron, and the ganders rest in peace", but Rob O'Neill notes that Number 5, the Gallopin' Goose, hasn't completely retired.

Not Famous Yet

The Des Moines Register has an regular "online extra" feature, Famous Iowans. But if you check their list, there's a name that you won't find on their list: Bill Fries.

The Legend-News contacted Tom Longden, the editor of this feature, and suggested to him that Bill ought to be included. After all, Bill will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of his birthday this year, and he's got a new album, American Spirit. Tom replied, thanking us for the tip, saying "Bill Fries has been on our list of potential subjects for quite some time, but I hadn't got to him yet."

We'll be watching the Register closely. Of course, we hope that that Bill doesn't achieve the same status as Kate Morgan before he's recognized.

Ad Astra

Infamous "Convoy 2000" participant Randall Clague (a.k.a. "Snoopy") had the opportunity to watch a Roton being tested outside his office window. If you don't know what is a Roton, it's a single-stage to orbit vehicle, for delivering cargo to Earth orbit. You can find information about the Roton from Google.

Site News

The redesign of C.W. McCall: An American Legend continues apace, although most of the changes so far have been behind the scenes. You may expect to see visible page changes in the new few weeks. Let's hope that no one becomes lost.

The MP3 file "Wheels Of Fortune" (from the album C.W. McCall & Co.) has been discovered to be damaged. We're temporarily removing this file from the FTP site, until we can upload a replacement. As soon as we find the master CD, which is somewhere in this scary mess that we call "the office".

Old Home Café: The Next Generation

Episode XVII

30-plus hamburgers and a couple of cases of free beer later, the Sioux City Ramblers mounted their hogs and putted out of town, looking for a cool breeze. This July day was warming up, and the air conditioner in the Old Home Café was struggling to meet the need for a cooler environment. There was a coolant leak in the compressor, Jon knew, but he hadn't gotten around to getting the unit recharged. Maybe tomorrow, he thought; I've got to work on the accounting today.

Jon was hoping that he hadn't dived into really deep water when he bought the Café. He was a web wonk, not a restauranteur, and he often wondered if he'd made a good decision. The menu was good, with its staples of burgers and chops and salad, and he was making a list of new items to be added. The people of Pisgah weren't shy about suggesting changes. The Café had far to go, if it were to be as popular as it was in its heyday of the '70s; but Jon first wanted to get the business to a self-sustaining level. Opening day was, so far, a success. But could he maintain that popularity?

On his desk, in a room back behind the kitchen, lay "the books", income and outgo recorded on their green-ruled pages. Folders of receipts sat nearby, the evidence of a mighty river of cash flow. Although the scene appeared business-like, Jon didn't look forward to another late night shuffling papers. He really needed an accountant.

Larry and Jerry were out front, removing the last of the lunch dishes from the tables. The Café was, at 2 P.M., down to 3 customers, and those three, Jon was sure, had been there since breakfast. Or the "Debacle At Dawn", and he was beginning to call it. Maybe the bottomless cup of coffee idea wasn't so great, as these three loiterers must be an their 10th or 11th or 20th.

Jon helped with the busing. Not much else to do until the dinner crowd — and he was hoping that there would be a crowd, although not as large as that morning's — arrived.

He looked out of the windows. Every few minutes a truck or car passed by, hauling cargo or passengers to some place that wasn't here. The drivers and passengers stared at the Café, probably looking for a sign that it was open for business. He saw a few people point to the black and white and orange "Yes, We're Open" signs on the doors, and hoped that they'd be back later.

Across Main Street, Avis Granelli exited from the bank and crossed at the street corner, walking north. As she approached the Café's west door she paused, and looked inside. Jon noticed her and started towards the door, hoping to greet a new customer. But Avis just turned her head and continued walking up 1st.

Disappointed, Jon had turned back to the table he was clearing when the door bell (a genuine, tinkling bell) sounded. The door opened, and Avis Granelli walked in. She'd changed her mind, and had decided that a cold drink at the Café was an immediate necessity.

Song A’ Th’ Week

Tin Types
(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album American Spirit

Have you ever seen the Ken Burns production "The Civil War"? There are no moving pictures to be seen in that documentary: still photography was still in its infancy, and motion pictures wouldn't be invented until Thomas Edison's kinescope of the 1890s. For images, Burns relies on a succession of paintings, illustrations, and photographs colloquially known as "tintypes". They aren't the "point-and-shoot" photographs with which we're familiar; their subjects were always carefully posed, and they needed to remain motionless during the exposure of the photographic plate, often for several minutes. Spontaneous expressions are not to be seen; dour looks prevail. But they are a record of the times.

There was a time,
in those tin type days
of a long-lost America
when we pictured ourselves together.
Families! Good friends!
One great nation, under God and the Flag.
We were The United States of America!

But there was a time,
when those rusting tin types in our family albums
showed a nation broken in two…
ripped apart at the very seams of two Flags.
So torn apart, we fought each other,
fathers against fathers
sons against sons…
some as young as fifteen.
And tearful mothers kissed their good little boys goodbye,
and they marched off to war to fight for one flag or another,
or to die, crying.

And there was a time, of course, one blue-gray day,
a time to honor the graves of our gallant young men
and our good little boys
who'd given their lives for their Flag.

So, there, at Gettysburg, came a tall, quiet man,
a man with the truth of the prairies in his eyes,
and a deep sadness in his heart…
to say a few kind words…
The sound of his voice is forgotten, now,
lost in time and space,
but we will never forget his words.

"Four score and seven years ago,
our fathers brought forth on this continent
a new nation, conceived in liberty,
and dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal."

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, said this:
"The world will little note, nor long remember
what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here."

But we do remember what they did, Mr. President
and we will never, never forget you
or your last few words
your last, few

"That from these honored dead
we take increased devotion to the cause
for which they gave their last full measure of devotion.
That we, here, highly resolve that these dead
shall not have died in vain
and that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom,
and this government of the people
by the people
for the people
shall not perish from the earth."

There was a time, in those tin type days,
of our great, great grandfathers
when the War between ourselves was over.
When once again, we called ourselves
The United States of America

For more information on the Gettysburg Address, visit the Library of Congress.

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, looking for the way to San José. 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. "I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away."