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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pffft You Were Gone - The Shocking Secret Origins of "Where Oh Where Are You Tonight?"

Gordie Tapp and Archie Campbell singing their signature Hee Haw song.

Here's a weird bit of trivia I stumbled over a couple of years ago.  Apparently the classic Archie Campbell Hee Haw duet "Where Oh Where Are You Tonight" (shown in the video below) with it's classic "Pfffft you were gone" ending actually came from seriously more serious roots. The original song is credited to one Susan Heather (a pseudonym used by Marian B. Yarneall). The song was copyrighted in 1952 and 1965 by Mamy Music Corp out of Paoli, Pa. Miss Yarneall seems to have written this thing as a serious Gospel song originally. Also apparently, it seems not to have caught on in churches and revival meetings across the Bible Belt as Miss Yarneall had hoped. I am not shocked!

Almost inevitably, some country comedians like Homer & Jethro, Archie Campbell and Buck Owens parodied this irresistable song and the rest is history. But here for your entertainment are the original lyrics. I have yet to get through it as a serious song without cracking up. I bet my Primaries would have loved it though.

(original Gospel version)

Where, oh, where, where would I be?
Without my Jesus comforting me
For I'll sing his praises as I travel on
Today, tomorrow, till phfft! you are gone.

1. Take money or God, you can't serve two masters
     For you will love one, the other you'll hate
    And that is the cause of this world's disasters
     Make up your mind now, before it's too late.


2.  We don't break God's laws, but we break against them
     Remember this friends, as life moves along
     Can't you hear the voice of youth out there asking?
     "Why do you do what you tell us is wrong?"


3.  Each time that you give, don't get up and shout it
     For He always knows what good deeds you do
     You'll get your reward, there's no doubt about it
     He sees in secret and He will pay you.


Song Lyrics © 1952 by Mamy Music Corp.

Article © 2016 by Tom King

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Trusting After Your Trust Has Been Violated

"I feel so violated!"  

Let's face it nobody likes to have been had! But if you are in any kind of business you probably have been hood-winked, if not once, probably many times. So if you're one of those people like me who just wants so badly to trust everybody and you get shafted, how do you keep from becoming a suspicious, paranoid old crank. I mean who wants to do business with one of those?

Here are some rules I follow and you might want to as well, since you probably want to come out of one of these interactions with corruptible humanity, with your own sweet trusting nature that your wife, children, friends and family love so much still intact.
  1. Be careful who you give power to.  Power does not absolutely corrupt; not even absolute power. Power does, however, attract the corruptible. If someone wants to take over for you and make your life "simpler", you should be careful and check to see if your wallet is still in your pocket. There is an old Russian proverb, Ronald Reagan was fond of quoting. It goes, "Trust but verify!"  Do that.
  2. Recognize your limitations. The reason we have contracts, lawyers and personal accountants is because not all of us known everything about everything and what we don't know absolutely CAN hurt us. In any business endeavor bring in people to look out for your interests. It's well worth your while to pay those people if you lack some area of expertise related to self-protection. If you protect yourself, you protect your family. You can turn the other cheek if it's your own, but we are not asked, even by God, to turn our loved ones' cheeks.
  3. Stop blaming yourself. Sure you feel bad that you got taken. But the person to blame is the evil, lying stinkpot that hood-winked you. The Bible nowhere gives us a commandment that says, "Thou shalt not be fooled." So the upshot is, "Not your fault for being trusting." We do have a commandment about that - "Treat others as you would be treated." Good rule that one. Golden I'd say.
  4. Pick yourself up and try again. The only way you can be defeated is if you surrender. Rather than giving up, just get up and try again. Some reporter once asked Thomas Edison how he felt after his attempts to build an electric lightbulb failed more than 2000 times. Edison shot back, "I didn't fail 2000 times. I discovered 2000 ways NOT to make an electric lightbulb." That's what I'm talking about.
  5. Find someone else to trust. It's the old advice they used to give neophyte cowboys when they fell off their horses. "Get back up on your horse." Only way to learn. Then next time your spidey senses start to tingle, you'll be less likely to be taken unawares. Nothing like bitter experience to teach you.
  6. Finally, redouble your own efforts to be trustworthy. Mark Twain got taken in by some get-rich-quick schemes in his time and wound up badly in debt. To settle that debt he went on a world speaking tour and kept it up till he paid off his creditors. It restored not only his credit rating, but the esteem in which people held him.

We all get had once in a while. The world is crawling with flim-flam men, snake oil salesmen and dirty rotten scoundrels (a couple of whom are running for president). Once in a while you get bitten by one. Since we aren't allowed to shoot them, the best we can do is try to avoid them and carry a snakebite kit with us. There are good people in the world. Don't get discouraged.  Be the best person you can be and such people will have little or no power over you.

© 2016 by Tom King

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Run Me Up the Hill, Son - The Longest Day

Scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc
I always do two things on the anniversary of D-Day. I watch President Reagans speech "The Boys of Pointe du Hoc" and I watch "The Longest Day". I want never to forget what our fathers did in that titanic struggle against unadulterated evil and these two things remind me of their courage.

The Longest Day is an amazing film and much under-rated against films like Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. The movie is based on Cornelius Ryan's well-researched book about D-Day and many of its scenes is based on actual stories from D-Day - true stories.
One of my favorite scenes from Longest Day is the clip during the taking of Ouistreham when a convent full of nuns walked straight across the battlefield bullets flying overhead, carrying first aid kits. The scene begins at 5:26 into the clip. The walk in close formation clutching their cases of medical supplies till the reach the positions of the Free French soldiers pinned down by German guns. The mother superior takes charge and sends her trained nurses into the rubble to treat the wounded. While the incident never actually happened, it did serve as an homage to the courage of many French women who came to the aid of the Allied invasion forces. What they did was, as quickly as possible nuns, nurses and chaplains descended on the scene of battle. The ladies set up hospitals and aid stations within sight of the fighting in some instances, especially around Caen. Their courage in locating so close to the battle lines meant that allied soldiers reached serious medical help within minutes of being wounded rather than waiting sometimes days to be transferred to a surgical hospital. The effectiveness of these close to the front lines hospitals led the Army to later develop the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (MASH units). I have little or no doubt that had they been closer to the fighting, the sisters would have pitched in to treat wounded soldiers. As it was they got there as soon as possible and turned these front-line hospitals into amazingly efficient operations. Elise Rivet (Mother Elisabeth), a French saved hundreds of lives as a member of the resistance and in the end went to the gas chambers in the place of a pregnant Jewish mother. These ladies were extremely courageous.

The Longest Day gets a lot of criticism from modern film experts, especially for its giving credit to God for so many thing and for it's portrayal of religious persons in a heroic light. The critics would prefer a more bloody and violently gruesome portrayal war as being suitable for modern audiences. To portray war as noble or the soldiers who fight in it as heroic is somehow a disservice to modern sensibilities according to these experts. They don't want to see heroism, these children of post-modernism. They want to see something that says, "There's really no point to it all." The Longest Day shows audiences brave men and women doing the right thing because it means something. It must therefore be wrong somehow and be belittled by those who believe they know what is better for us than our silly forefathers with their belief in love, loyalty, faith, honor and other such claptrap.

When good no longer rises up against evil, but accepts the lesser of one or more evils as the best we can do, this world is doomed. Reagan at the end of his speech turned on the platform and looked at the now elderly gentlemen who as Army Rangers, scaled the cliffs under the guns and asked "Why did you do it?"  He then answered the question. "It was faith, belief, loyalty and love." Silly old values our world is trying so hard to put aside. The critics call such beliefs foolish and out of date and unfashionable and anyone who says it's not earns their disdain.
When did we stop believing there is some ultimate good that is worth risking everything to preserve? As we approach the end of the great worldwide conflict between good and evil, is it not still important to do what is right because it is right? Should might and power not be used for good, rather than as a tool in the hands of the greedy and sinful to oppress the innocent and murder the harmless.

We stand at a crossroads in our world's history and have been presented a choice, not between good and evil, but between two kinds of greed - both evil. Sadly, the same nation which once did the hard thing because it was right to do so, now gropes about in confusion trying to decide which of the paths before us is the lesser evil. We admire greed. We choose sides hoping, not to do the right thing, but to do the expedient thing; the thing that gains us membership to the winning side.

God help us as we watch our nation sacrifice its soul on the altar of comfort and a sense of belonging to the right herd. But do not be discouraged. Not every one will accept second worst as their only option. Not every person will compromise his or her honor, integrity, and principles for 30 pieces of silver. Some will stand until the final D-Day; the one in which heaven empties itself and God's armies pour over the Earth, gathering up those who have been loyal, brave and true. 
As our father's stood firm against the withering fire of the German guns, so we must stand firm until that day which is soon to come, when we will be delivered. You do not have to choose between evils. There is always another way - if you trust that God will honor your faith in standing for the right. I believe he will grant us deliverance from evil, no matter how desperate things look; no matter how much our cause appears to be lost, for as Jesus taught, "His is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever." I do believe God can manage to make all things turn out for good to those who are called according to His purpose.

And, as the American general said at the end of the film, we will be able to say to the angels that fly to our sides on that great D-Day, "Run me up the hill. dear friend,"
and home we will go.

© 2016 by Tom King

Saturday, June 04, 2016

"Bare"ing Burdens - New Fad or Deterioration In Public Spelling Awareness

Okay, really? A thong? You just  can't unsee some things?

For some reason lately I've seen a plethora of posts on Facebook lately, which talk about "bearing" something in the sense of carrying a burden.
The trouble is these multiple witnesses have used the term "BARING" or "Bareing" to indicate that they mean they were "carrying" or "tolerating" something.

Either some authority has changed the spelling and/or meaning of the term and didn't tell me, or it's one of those crazy new fads that everyone is going along with. Perhaps there has been a sudden mass outbreak of either misspelling or nudity while carrying burdens. I shall watch this trend carefully. You see Friday is my shopping day and on that day, I usually can be found "bearing" burdens in some public place or other. 

If I am to "bare" my burdens in order to comply with the new cultural imperative, then I am confused.  Has "No-pants Friday" come to enjoy a surprising popularity in both the Pacific Northwest and East Texas. Most of the posts about "bareing" burdens seem to have come largely from these two areas - regions known to contain many heavily-armed individualists for some inexplicable reason that has been lost to the mists of time.

Don't get me wrong. While I have no personal problem with pursuits like nude vacuuming, naked dish-washing or skinny-scuba diving, I fear I shall have to draw the line at strolling the aisles of Walmart while "bareing" anything not normally bared in a public setting. I forebear to do this out of concern for the mental health of innocent young people whose mother's have dragged them along on the weekly shopping trip. I also do not wish to be responsible for throwing a craving on some unsuspecting elderly grandmother in the sewing notions aisle.

If it was just smart-alec twenty and thirty-somethings who might be upset at the sight of a 62 year-old large hairy guy bending over the banana bin, I wouldn't give a hoot. It is my ambition to shock and horrify as many young people as possible before, I some day pitch face-first into my spinach lasagna.  I do, however, intend to limit such shocks to acts of elderly protest such as wearing black socks with shorts, ugly hats and brightly colored Hawaiian shirts, or by mispronouncing words like "quinoa" and "
Ni├žoise" in front of them. I'd rather upset the little darlings by wearing tee-shirts that say things like "Armed and Cranky" "Ted Cruz - 2016" or "Get a Job Hippie"; not by "bareing" any of my more personal burdens however well-sculpted and muscular they might be.

Just sayin'.

© 2016 by Tom King

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sympathy from a Bulldog

Today was the first day I manged to walk the 3 mile loop around the neighborhood that Daisy and I used to walk for exercise. I tried to do it a couple of times before, but always turned back. It just didn't feel right without Daisy snuffling along by my side. It was just too sad and I couldn't stand it.

Today I made the loop successfully and as I came down the last stretch, someone came out to meet me. I'm not sure what her name is, Princess or something, but she'd come out of her yard before when Daisy and I walked by. She is overweight, old and infirm; an American bulldog as sweet as you could ask for. Just getting down the hill from her yard left her panting and exhausted. But she was a game little thing and always wanted to follow Daisy and I on our walk. I used to keep a spare leash in my pocket in case we met her and had to walk her back home when she inevitably followed us. I'd return her to her family so they could take her in so she couldn't wander off after us again. I was kind of afraid she'd have a heart attack if she tried to keep up. She certainly wanted to go with us, though.

Today she spotted me and came waddling down the hill to meet me. I stopped and the two of us sat down in the little drainage ditch and I scratched the back of her head and talked to her. I explained about Daisy not being with me anymore. She rubbed her big slobbery head against me and seemed to be offering me her sympathy. I walked back to her front door and got her safely home, then I turned homeward again. I felt lonelier, but in an odd way better.

My hands smelled pretty doggy and when I got home I washed them, almost regretfully. I have this feeling God nudged the old girl out to drainage ditch because this lonely old guy was missing his friend today and needed a sweet old doggy head to scratch. It would be just like God to do that.

© 2016 by Tom King

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Here's What a Real Superhero Looks Like

Irena Sendler and one of the children she saved.

Half the TV shows these days are about people running around in capes and tights and constantly ruminating on what it means to be a "hero". I have to laugh. What's so heroic if you are invulnerable and can shoot fire out of your eyes?  I mean really. Here's, in my opinoin is a real hero!


Irena Sendler didn't wear tights. She had no cape. She possessed no superpowers - just a hero's heart. She was up for the Nobel Peace Prize, but they gave it instead to Al Gore for his fraudulent global warming slide show. Here story is incredible. She died shortly after Gore won his Nobel, tended at the end by a nurse she had once smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto when she was just six months old. She did it under the nose of the Gestapo, carrying the little girl in a tool box. She had trained her dog to bark to cover up the sound of the baby crying. She and her dog deserved a Nobel Peace Prize. I do believe God can hardly wait till the moment when he can take these loving, kindly and courageous people home to be with Him.  

Someone needs to come up with a way to honor people like this - true heroes, not pretend ones in colorful costumes, but real ones with toolboxes full of babies.

© 2016 by Tom King

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Puff Was NEVER a Pot-Head!

 © Gorbash - Flight of Dragons by Zoonar at Deiviant Art
Did you know that Puff the Magic Dragon was NOT about drugs? Someone asked me about that and I happen to have firsthand information on the origins of that much-maligned children's song. It turns out that There never was any other meaning than the obvious one. I can say that with certainty, because I met the Dragon's father (author of the song, Peter Yarrow) in person. Peter assured us that it was just a children's song. Jackie Paper represented the pages of a children's story, nothing more and the song was about the loss of childhood innocence.

We went to a Peter Paul & Mary concert in Fort Worth in the middle of the controversy. Peter added the following verse for that performance.

Together we can sing it
It's just a children's song

"And there never was any meaning other than the obvious one
and you can say you heard it from the dragon's father!"

Then they went  back to the chorus.

Everyone in the place just roared.

We took all three of our kids, to that concert where PP&M, Tom Paxton and Josh White all performed.  Sheila and I wanted to see PP&M just as much if not more than the kids did. The kids were raised on the Peter, Paul & Mary's children's songs and my goofy interpretations thereof, including Puff and The Boa Constrictor Song. We came early to the concert and were surprised to find Peter Yarrow out front greeting people as they came in.  He introduced himself very politely to my daughter who hugged him. He planted a kiss on her cheek. She was greatly impressed. 

Puff was written in 1958 when Yarrow was in school and before he even knew anything about marijuana. The story is really cool and can be found at this link (below). You should look it up. In any case, when the author, himself, tells me what the song means, I, for one, tend to believe him..

So you can mark Puff the Magic Dragon* "Safe" for summer camp and youth groups with confidence. You heard it from a man who heard it from Puff's daddy.

© 2016 by Tom King

*Peter does a more expanded version debunking the drug meaning mythology in this link from their 25th anniversary concert

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Trojan Horse Lesson

Does anyone else see the irony in a condom maker calling its product "Trojans" given what happened when the actual Trojans allowed that big wooden Greek horse to come in through the gate?

I just think of things like that when I'm unsupervised. It's not good.

I do think the story of the Trojans should serve as a warning to young people though. Kind of a cautionary tale. I have way too many millennial friends for someone who reads history and actually retains some of it.

 One of my millennial buds described Trojans as "protection" in a conversation recently. My brain immediately thought, "Trojans weren't a lot of 'protection' when they let that big wooden Greek thing in through the gates, now were they?"

My problem is I read too much history.
Dang it. Now that story reminded me of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy and I was trying so hard to get off that hobby horse. 

© 2016 by Tom King