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Monday, 2011 June 6 : Volume 14, Number 6
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What We Got Here

Happy Convoy Day!

June 6 marks the anniversary of two important events in American history. The first, and most notable, is the 1944 Invasion of Normandy, the largest amphibious invasion in world history. 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of France; eleven months later, the war in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany.

The second event is the 1975 “Convoy”, when began a protest against the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit in the US. Three trucks departed from Los Angeles, California with “ the dark of the moon ”, proceeding eastward across the country. By the time that the Convoy reached its dramatic conclusion on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey, the original three participants had grown into a mob of “a thousand screamin’ trucks”. On this day, we celebrate the people who fought for freedom in different ways, but with the same purpose: the elimination of tyranny.

[Disclaimer: If you think that the “Convoy” actually happened, you need to study your history a bit harder. Stop falling asleep in class.]


The Rubber Duck on the Air

Bill Fries is scheduled to be interviewed during the Texas/Red Dirt Radio Show on KXIT in Dalhart, Texas, on Monday evening (June 6) between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

Kurtis Thomas and Steven Roberts host this once-per-week “young but fierce program”. They’re “deeply devoted to the spread of new and upcoming bands and music and the preservation of many of the under-recognized classics”, and C.W. McCall fits one of those categories.

KXIT is located at 1240kHz on your AM dial.


Critter Capers

Pony Horton has been working as a VFX artist (visual effects, for you non-video people) and actor on the web series STAR TREK: PHASE II .

PHASE II is a fan-produced web series, a fourth-year continuation of the original five-year mission of the USS Enterprise. The latest episode, the sixth, is “Enemy: Starfleet!”.


Old Joke of the Month

(Courtesy of Crispy Critter Mark Edmonston)

Four old retired guys are walking down a street in Mesa, Arizona. They turn a corner and see a sign that says, “Old Timers Bar - All drinks 10 cents”. They look at each other and then go in, thinking this is too good to be true.

The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, “Come on in and let me pour one for you! What’ll it be, gentlemen?”

There seemed to be a fully-stocked bar, so each of the men ask for a martini. In short order, the bartender serves up four iced martinis — shaken, not stirred — and says, “That’ll be ten cents each, please.”

The four men stare at the bartender for a moment, then look at each other. They can’t believe their good luck.

They pay the forty cents, finish their martinis, and order another round. Again, four excellent martinis are produced with the bartender again saying, “That”s forty cents, please.” They pay the forty cents, but their curiosity is more than they can stand. They have each had two martinis and so far they've spent less than a dollar.

Finally one of the men asks, “How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime a piece?”

“I’m a retired tailor from Boston,” the bartender says, “and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery for $25 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime; wine, liquor, beer, it’s all the same.”

“Wow! That’s quite a story,” says one of the men.

The four of them sipped at their martinis and couldn’t help but notice seven other people at the end of the bar who didn’t have drinks in front of them, and hadn’t ordered anything the whole time they were there.

One man gestures at the seven at the end of the bar and asks the bartender, “What’s with them?”

The bartender says, “Oh, they’re all old retired farmers from Kansas, waiting for happy hour when drinks are half price.”


Over the Double Nickel

How Can You Tell Where You’re Going When You Don’t Know Where You’ve Been?

Over the past week, I’ve been studying books and maps of the Lincoln Highway, plotting the route for a summer drive. I know where I’m planning to go; but, in the past, where have I been?

My travels began about fifty years ago, when I walked around the block on which I lived and discovered that the “Paulina Street” (long “i”, as in Paul-EYE-na) that ran past my school was just one block away from the back of my house! I had never seen “the back of the block”, because my route to school was on the main streets of Ashland Avenue and Diversey Avenue. When you’re six years old, your parents want you to stay on the safer “big streets” where the good people are.

From that point, my world expanded: walks to my grandparents’ homes, visiting friends of the family in the suburbs of Chicago, summer vacations in Wisconsin. New roads and streets to travel on, new cities and towns to stop in. I once took a street map of Chicago and its vicinity, and used a highlighting marker to indicate all of the streets on which I had traveled. By the time that I was done, the north and northwest areas of Chicago were almost solid yellow, and a web of lines stretched out fifty to one-hundred miles further than that.

Then I joined the United States Navy, and added to my collection places ever further away. Closer to home were Charleston, South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; Groton, Connecticut. Overseas, I went to Scotland, England, Bermuda, Panama, and Cuba (the now-infamous Guantánamo Bay Naval Station); and Montreal in the Great White North.

Since 1975, I’ve visited 44 of the 48 Continental United States (and Commonwealths) of America; the exceptions being Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Oregon. I’ve visited Boston, Massachusetts but never traveled north; but I drove through North Adams and took a loop through southern Vermont. Oregon? Well, in California I’ve driven as far north as Redwood National Park, and I’ve seen Seattle and Tacoma, Washington; but I’ve missed the places in-between. And North Dakota has never been along my path while traveling west.

As for the 49th and 50th States: I did spend a few days in Hawaii, back in the early days of Five-O; but Alaska still isn’t on my itinerary.

I would like to travel around the world, but that’s just not in the budget. For now, I’ll stick to CONUS (see two paragraphs back) and Canada. Me and four wheels, avoiding the Interstates and following the roads where people live; with a bag full of maps, a compass, and a good sense of direction. And my CB radio, of course.

— Ed.

“Over the Double Nickel” is a column by Ed. Floden, who refuses to accept your reality. Collect them all!


Previously, in The Legend-News

Convoy, Explained. Sort Of.

From the 2002 January 21 issue of The Legend-News.

Herewith, an attempt to explain just what the heck the words in this song actually mean.

“Convoy”
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Black Bear Road

[On the CB] Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck.

“Breaker” is a request to transmit a message on Citizen’s Band (CB) radio, “one-nine” (or 19) being the channel on which the request is being made. Channel 19 is the channel that is typically used to initiate a conversation, or to provide traffic information. “Rubber Duck” is the “handle” (pseudonym) of the speaker. Handles are usually a colorful, descriptive term for the user of the handle.

You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c’mon?

“Pig Pen” is a generic term for a trucker who’s hauling pigs or hogs. (In the movie “CONVOY”, it’s the actual handle of one of the truckers.) Rubber Duck is asking if Pig Pen is receiving (“gotta copy?”) his CB transmission.

Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure.

“10-4” is one of the “10-codes”, which are used as substitutes for longer phrases. “10-4” means “I acknowledge the receipt of your transmission” or sometimes just “yes”. “Fer shure” means “I agree with your statement”; in the 1980s, this term also was favored by teenaged residents of the San Fernando Valley, near Los Angeles, California.

By golly, it’s clean clear to Flag Town, c’mon.

On the highway between Rubber Duck’s location and Flagstaff, Arizona (“Flagtown”), there are no reports of police activity.

Yeah, that’s a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy.

The “front door” is the lead vehicle in a line of vehicles; “good buddy” is a term of endearment. Rubber Duck is telling Pig Pen that he (Rubber Duck) is acting as the lead vehicle.

Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy…

Translation: “Gosh, we have a line of vehicles.”

Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin’ logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin’ hogs

There are three trucks in the Convoy: a Kenworth with a load of timber, a Peterbilt (“Pete”) with a refrigerated trailer (“cab-over” is the type of tractor, the style that’s flat on the front and doesn’t have a hood), and a GMC (“Jimmy”) carrying hogs. The Jimmy is being driven by Pig Pen.

We is headin’ for bear on I-one-oh
’Bout a mile outta Shaky Town

“Bear” means police, typically the state police or highway patrol, who often wear a flat-brimmed “Smokey the Bear”-type hat. “I-one-oh” is Interstate Highway 10. “Shaky Town” is Los Angeles, California.

I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“And I’m about to put the hammer down.”

“Put the hammer down”: increase the speed of your vehicle. Sometimes referred to as “putting the pedal to the metal”.

[Chorus]
’Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy!

The chorus ought to be self-explanatory. In civilian terms, “Party!”

[On the CB] Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here’s the Duck. And, you wanna back off them hogs? Yeah, 10-4, ’bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin’ in-tense up here.

“Ten” is short for “10-4” which is short for “I acknowledge the receipt of your transmission”. But you already figured that out, didn’t you? “Roger” is another term meaning “I acknowledge”: it’s a contraction of “roger wilco” which is short for “roger, I will comply” which means “yes, I’ll do it”. “In-tense” means “stinkin’ up the great outdoors”. (For extra credit, who recorded the song “Stinkin’ Up The Great Outdoors”?)

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,

“Tulsa Town” is Tulsa, Oklahoma.

We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they’s a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,

A “cloverleaf” is an intersection of two highways where the ramps allow vehicles to enter or exit in any direction. If it is badly designed, such an intersection may also be known as a “spaghetti bowl”; the junction of Interstates 90 and 94, west of the Chicago Loop, is a good (or bad) example.

And them bears was wall-to-wall.

Just like carpeting. Call five-eight-eight, two-three hundred: Empire .

Yeah, them smokeys is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!

"Smokeys” as in “Smokey the Bear”. “Bear in the air”: police helicopter. A light plane which is used to spot speeders is a “fly in the sky”.

I says, “Callin’ all trucks, this here’s the Duck.
”We about to go a-huntin’ bear.”

[Chorus]
’Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy!

[On the CB] Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen?

“10-9”: another 10-code, meaning “please repeat your previous transmission”.

Negatory, Pig Pen; you’re still too close.

“Negatory”: “no”. Why use one syllable when four will do?

Yeah, them hogs is startin’ to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten.

Translation: “The odor of your cargo is causing me to breathe with difficulty. Please increase the distance between us ten more miles.”

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.

A rocket sled is, oddly enough, a rocket-powered carriage that bears a resemblance to a large sled; actually, it looks more like the sleigh that Santa Claus has. It is used to test the effects of rapid acceleration on the human body. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) employs it for astronaut training. Rocket sleds run only on rails, as they do not have wheels.

We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left ’em settin’ on the scales.

“Swindle sheets” are log books: drivers are required to track the time that they spend on the road, as state (and federal) laws limit the amount of time that a driver can operate his/her rig for each day. These log books are often wrong; most drivers get paid by the load and not by the hour, so they have an incentive to deliver a load as quickly as possible. This demand for their time often leads to a lack of sleep and the need for stimulation, as the song “ Night Rider ” describes. “Scales” are the state-run weight scales that you see, usually near a state’s borders.

By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin’ smart:
They’d brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinoise National Guard.

“Chi-town” (pronounced “shy-town”) is Chicago, Illinoise. And “Illinoise” is the state to the east of Ioway and Missoura.

There’s armored cars, and tanks, and Jeeps,
And rigs of ev’ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full’a bears
And choppers filled the skies.

“Chicken coops” are the areas in which you’ll find the weight scales, usually marked “weigh station". Even if a scale is closed — in which case a truck would drive past it, and not through it — the police may park their cars on the far side of the scale’s building, hiding them from approaching trucks and hoping to catch a driver unawares. “Choppers” are helicopters, so-called because the blades make a sound like “chop-chop-chop-chop-chop”.

Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
An’ eleven long-haired Friends a’ Jesus
In a chartreuse micra-bus.

“Shot the line”: they ignored the police blockades and drove through them. “Friends a’ Jesus”: a group of Christians, most likely of the hippie persuasion. “Chartreuse” is a particularly ugly shade of green, but that’s just our opinion. “Micra-bus” or “micro-bus”: a classic Volkwagen van, whose design dates from the early 1960s; sometimes it’s called a “Vanagon”.

[On the CB] Ah, Rubber Duck to Sodbuster, come over. Yeah, 10-4, Sodbuster? Lissen, you wanna put that micra-bus right behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he’s haulin’ dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get.

“Sodbuster”: the handle of another trucker. “Suicide jockey”: a trucker whose load is hazardous material; in this case, explosives.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line

“Laid a strip”: continued to drive swiftly. “Jersey shore”: the Atlantic coast of the state of New Jersey. “Cross the line”: pass the “line in the sand”, the point of no return. Once they’ve reached the Jersey shore, the trucks cannot proceed further because they can’t float. Or can they… ?

I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn’t have a dog-goned dime.
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
"We just ain’t a-gonna pay no toll.”
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says “Let them truckers roll, 10-4.”

A “dime” is a coin of U.S. mintage with a face value of one-tenth of a dollar, but due to inflation it’s worth about 3 cents in 1975 dollars. “Ninety-eight” is the speed, in miles per hour, at which the trucks are travelling through the toll “gate”. Yeah, the U.S. of A. isn’t officially a metric country.

’Cause we got a mighty convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
’Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy!

[On the CB] Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what’s your twenty?

“Twenty” is short for the 10-code “10-20”, or “what is your location?”.

Omaha? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure.

“Omaha” is a city in eastern Nebraska. Interstate 80 runs through it. It has a large meat-packing industry, which can deal with Pig Pen’s load.

Well, mercy sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your… tail.

Translation: “I am going to leave the convoy. Keep your windshield clear of insects and avoid having police follow your truck.”

We’ll catch you on the flip-flop. This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side. We gone. ’Bye, ’bye.

“Flip-flop”: a return trip; travelling in the opposite direction. “On the side”: keeping your radio on, but just listening and not participating in the conversations.

Oh, yeah: the heavy metal rock group Spinal Tap recorded the song “Stinkin’ Up the Great Outdoors”.


The Legend-News is published monthly by TechRen Enterprises, a pointless exercise in futility. Copyright 2011 TechRen Enterprises. Send subscription requests, unsubscribe demands, complaints, kudos, suggestions, news and other contributions to Legend-News@cw-mccall.com . Almost everything in The Legend-News has been written by Ed. Floden, except for the stuff that he blames on someone else. Privacy Policy: Too late! We've already sold your information to the Westboro Baptist Church, Prince Njumba of Nigeria, and some Russian kid who's sending us a money order. “Gojira!”