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Monday, 2012 January 9 : Volume 15, Number 1
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What We Got Here

Truckin’ On Down The Other Side: the most dangerous mountain pass in Colorado. C.W. On TV: a ’70s flashback. The Other Guy: Chip Davis for sale. Over the Double Nickel: “Put On Some Pants!”. Previously, in The Legend-News: “The Earl-y Show”. Old Home Café: “Testing”. Song A’ Th’ Month: “Riverside Slide”.


Truckin’ On Down The Other Side

As if you need confirmation, the Durango Herald of January 6 has an article, “The state’s No. 1 dangerous pass is …”

Take a guess. Hint: It’s the name of a song by C.W. McCall.

Yes, it’s Wolf Creek Pass. The most dangerous mountain pass in Colorado, with 7 percent grades and a whole lot of Zs and Ws.

Number Two is Red Mountain Pass between Silverton and Ouray, the site of the Riverside Slide. Molas Pass and Coal Bank Pass, south of Silverton towards Durango, are tied at Number Seven.

And at Number Three is Monarch Pass, on US 50 east of Gunnison. While not being the “most dangerous pass”, it does lead with its accident rate. I’ve driven Monarch Pass, and I’m not surprised; the traffic there seems to move faster than it should, and fog seems ever-present, especially at the summit.


C.W. On TV

A few weeks ago, I posted a clip from The Rich Little Show, wherein C.W. performs “Convoy”.

Crispy Critter DAVID FREDERICK informed me that the entirety of The Rich Little Show is available on DVD, and that a reviewer mentions that C.W.’s performance — together with many other singing stars of the 1970s — is present.


The Other Guy

I know that I don’t mention Chip Davis very often, and he’s half of the songwriting team of C.W. McCall. He composed the music for the Old Home Bread commercials, most of the songs that were recorded by C.W. McCall, and he’s fronting the massively-popular Mannheim Steamroller.

On January 6, this tweet appeared:

So, take a hint and buy something from Chip Davis. You’ll love it. And, it has C.W. McCall!


Over the Double Nickel

“Put On Some Pants!”

I’ve started wearing Pants. Let me explain that.

I’ve never been a man who prefers to wear “nice” clothes. Suits are worn to impress people with no imagination; Casual Friday is a joke perpetrated on corporate droids.

I have occasionally worn a suit — these days, mostly to funerals — and I did spend six years wearing a military uniform (Go Navy!). But with the exception of an awful polyester brown-and-tan or grey-and-greyer work uniform that I wore almost daily for about four years in the 1980s, since my exit from government service I prefer to wear jeans. Mostly blue denim, but also black denim, white denim, and tan denim; with a t-shirt or mock turtleneck, and athletic shoes: that’s what I would usually be seen wearing.

For special occasions, I wore trousers which were more acceptable: a pair of black Dockers®. I wore them mainly as a sop to my relatives, who viewed any family gathering that wasn’t a picnic to be an event at which a suit was proper dress. So as not to be a subject of conversation at these events I would kowtow to convention and wear “dress clothes”. And almost immediately after the end of these events, I would discard my constricting apparel and put on my jeans and sneakers; often, I would make that change in my car while yet in the parking lot, before leaving the venue.

I did the same with my work uniform: upon exiting the office, or the site at which I was working, I would remove my shirt at the first opportunity: there was no way that I was going to drive home looking like the attendent at a service station or a guy on a building maintenance crew. I mean no offense to anyone who holds those jobs; but I found the clothing involved to be ill-fitting and ugly and sweat-inducing in the summer.

Yeah, I really disliked the clothing which I was expected to wear. For the past thirty years, if my leg coverings didn’t have a red Levi’s tag on the back pocket, then I wasn’t interested.

Until last year.

I still haven’t figured out why I changed. Maybe I’ve grown tired of blue jeans, or maybe the non-denim alternatives have become less annoying; either way, I’ve begun to sport actual, not-all-cotton-with-patch-pockets Pants. They fit correctly, they’re comfortable, and curiously, they’re made by Levi Strauss; yes, I’m wearing Dockers again.

Still, they’re Pants. An article of clothing that I had avoided for many years, usually successfully, now occupies my closet and covers my legs. They’re not a versatile as blue jeans: I can’t wipe my greasy fingers on them, and expect that no-one will notice; mustard stains are obvious; and boy, do they ever wrinkle. A crease or two on a pair of blue Levi’s is hardly noticeable; but on Pants a wrinkle stands out, telling the world that you’ve been doing something other than standing still and looking good.

Maybe that’s why I’ve disliked Pants all these years. I’ve never been afraid to get down on the floor or engage in some dirt-producing activity, actions for which blue jeans were made. If I wore Pants back then, mine would be obviously distressed after a day or two, meaning that I’d need to put on a new pair and wash the old ones. With blue jeans, I could go for a week or two without concerning myself about their appearance. And grease and mustard and salsa stains on blue denim seem practically invisible, unlike stains on Pants.

Wait a minute. After a couple of days, my Pants still look good. But I’m not crawling under a desk, searching for an elusive telephone cable. I’m not juggling greasy motorcycle parts, attempting to rebuild a 1974 Harley-Davidson XLCH 1000. I’m not doing… work! I put on blue jeans to work in the yard, or clean the basement, and then I… oh, no… put on Pants. Exactly the opposite of what I once did!

Am I getting old? Slowing down? Trying to blend in with the rest of society? Aaugh! I’m sitting in front of a computer, wearing old man’s Pants! Whatever happened to me? Why am I not dashing about, trying to change the world? Why have I changed?!

At least, I’m still wearing the mock turtleneck shirts and athletic shoes. I think that I may be able conquer this fashion malady.

And that 1974 Harley in still in pieces.

— Ed.


Previously, in The Legend-News

From the 2006 November 15 issue of The Legend-News.


The Earl-y Show

Chas. Ames was watching the November 2 [2006; Season 2, Episode 6, “Made a Lady Think I Was God”] episode of the NBC-TV comedy “My Name Is Earl“, where Earl, his brother Randy, and their friend Joy spied on a neighbor in their trailer park, and used walkie-talkies to communicate; which lead to an impromptu performance of “Convoy“.

The trio is crouched behind a bush, preparing to initiate their plan.

EARL: You guys ready to do this?

RANDY (into walkie-talkie): Breaker one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c’mon?

EARL: Nice, “Convoy”. They should make more movies outta country songs.

JOY (pauses for a moment, then begins to sing): We got a great big convoy, rockin’ through the night.

EARL and RANDY join in.

ALL THREE: 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’re gonna roll this truckin’ convoy across the U. S. A.

Convoy! (pause for four beats)

Convoy!

EARL (into walkie-talkie): Ten-four, Rubber Duck. Pig Pen’s got his ears on.

RANDY: You gotta push the button down.

EARL: Can you hear me? Hello?

Later, when EARL and RANDY arrive at the Sisters of Redemption, a convent:

EARL: What is this place, a convent?

RANDY: We got a great big convent, truckin’ through… nuns! Nuns! Nuns! (As two sisters approach them.)


Old Home Café

“Testing”

Experimentation is encouraged at the Old Home Café. As examples, there are the “Hot Tuna Sandwich” (which has little to do with rock musicians, and more with jalapeños) and the “Elvis Burger” (peanut butter, bacon, and bananas). Not your typical fast-food fare.

Mike (the cook) was trying out a new chili recipe today. Some people don’t like their chili hot; some don’t like beans. So Mike whipped up a bean-less, not-so-spicy variation; the result was more like a ground beef soup. Jon has suggested the name “Wimpy’s Chili”, so that’s what appears on the menu. (Jon likes old comic strips.)

Steve Ecker works at Jones’ Motor Shop (at Main and Jefferson in Hayden, don’tcha know). He’s a automobile mechanic, but he can fix almost anything with an internal combustion engine. He can’t handle spicy food unless he downs a couple of Tums® beforehand, so when he found Mike’s concoction listed as the Special of the Day, he wanted to try it.

Dolores is the oldest waitress at the Old Home Café. She usually works a 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift, which gives her enough time to get home before her grandchildren return from school in the afternoon. (The kids’ mom works 9 to 6 at a job that’s a couple of towns over. She can get them off to school in the morning, but grandma takes care of them in the afternoon.)


Dolores set down the bowl of chili in front of Steve, who was sitting in the middle seat at the counter. She served it up in one of those giant coffee cups that looked like a soup bowl with a handle; alongside it, she dropped a handful of cellophane-wrapped saltine crackers. “More coffee?” she asked. Steve pushed his cup toward her and she refilled it with leaded.

Steve stared at the chili for a moment, then took a spoonful and stuck it in his mouth. He swirled the chili around, his eyebrows dancing, his teeth clenced; then he swallowed. Squinting, he glowered menacingly at Dolores. “Hmmph,” he said, growling. “Who made this?” He had almost barked the question.

Dolores was surprised by Steve’s reaction. While the Special of the Day was occasionally “interesting”, it rarely produced a violent response from a customer. “It’s Mike’s recipe,” said Dolores, wondering if good or bad was going to happen. “Wanna talk with him?” She motioned toward the service window, beyond which Mike was busy preparing several lunches.

“Yeah,” said Steve. “Send him over here.” He ate another spoonful of the chili. From his expression, his opinion of the food had not changed. “Hmmph.”

Dolores walked over to the service window, her brow furrowed. She was wondering just what Mike had created today. She usually managed to get a taste of anything new before it was offered to a customer, but not today. “Hey, Mike. Customer out here wants you. It’s about the chili,” she said.

Mike stepped through the double doors, wiping his hands on his apron. He looked at Dolores, who nodded in the direction of Steve. “Thanks,” said Mike.

He stood across the counter from Steve, who was swallowing his third spoonful of chili. “Waddaya think of it?” Mike asked. “A winner?”

“Hmmph,” said Steve. “Interesting. Got the recipe?” he asked Mike. Whether Steve liked the chili, Mike couldn’t tell. Grumpy, taciturn customers were a common occurrence.

“Right here,” said Mike, digging into the pocket of his apron. He pulled out a folded piece of paper and held it out to Steve. “There’s nothing unusual in it,” he said, still trying to figure out Steve’s opinion of his creation.

Steve took the offered paper, unfolded it, and intently read its contents. Then he dropped the paper on the counter and ate a fourth spoonful of chili. “Hmmph,” he said. “Needs work.” Then he picked up the paper and tore it in half, then again in half, then again in half, and handed the now one-eighth sized pieces back to Mike.

Mike was shocked. Not that he couldn’t reproduce that recipe from memory, but what the hell…? “What did you do that for? What’s wrong with chili?” he asked. “C’mon man. I gotta know.”

Steve grabbed the packets of saltine crackers, crushed the crackers, then opened the packets and dumped their contents into his bowl of chili. He ate another spoonful.

“Well? What’s the problem?” asked Mike, still staring at Steve and not quite believing what was happening. Dolores, meanwhile, was over at table 10, glancing over her shoulder at the confrontation.

“It needs work,” said Steve, again. “Right now, I figure I’m savin’ lives.”


Song A’ Th’ Month

“Riverside Slide”
(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the LP Wilderness

One coal-black night of a Colorado winter
It snowed on Red Mountain Pass
We warned ev’rybody that the Slide was runnin’
An’ 5-5-Oh was a mess
But outta the plowshed, south a’ town
Come a blade with a flashin’ blue light
We told that boy: “Whatever you do,
Beware of the Riverslide Slide.”

Snowplow

Now that plow-jockey knew he had a job to do
Been dodgin’ them slides for years
But we all knew, deep down inside,
He was livin’ with a thing called fear
’Cause you don’t mess around with an avalanche, son
A lotta men tried, and died
Yeah, you get them plows past Bear Creek Falls,
You lookin’ at the Riverside Slide

Now all a’ us folks around Ouray County
Seen a lotta them cold, black nights
When the only thing movin’ is a big ol’ plow
Flashin’ them weird blue lights
You drive them snowplows around these parts
You gotta have a real thick hide
’Cause ya never quite know what time a’ the night
You gonna die in the Riverside Slide

Well, it snowed six feet on the mountain that night
An’ we knew what was comin’ on down
An’ so did the boy an’ his flashin’ blue light
When he rolled that blade outta town
Well, he took that plow up 5-5-Oh
An’ he felt it lean to one side
An’ before he knew it, he was buried alive
At the bottom of the Riverside Slide

Yeah, all a’ us folks around Ouray County
Seen a lotta them cold, black nights
When the only thing movin’ is a big ol’ plow
Flashin’ them weird blue lights
We found the boy in the early spring
Still settin’, the plow on its side
Yeah, ya never quite know what time a’ the night
You gonna die in the Riverside Slide


The Legend-News is published monthly by TechRen Enterprises, where everybody knows your name. Copyright 2012 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. “If loving worms is wrong, I don't wanna be smart.”