Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Workin' Man's Ph.D" - Aaron Tippin, 1993 (country)

You get up every morning 'fore the sun comes up
Toss a lunchbox into a pickup truck
A long, hard day sure ain't much fun
But you've gotta get it started if you wanna get it done
You set your mind and roll up your sleeves
You're workin' on a working man's Ph.D.

With your heart in your hands and the sweat on your brow
You build the things that really make the world go around
If it works, if it runs, if it lasts for years
You bet your bottom dollar it was made right here
With pride, honor and dignity
From a man with a working man's Ph.D.

Now there ain't no shame in a job well done
From driving a nail to driving a truck
As a matter of fact I'd like to set things straight
A few more people should be pullin' their weight
If you wanna cram course in reality
You get yourself a working man's Ph.D.

When the quittin' whistle blows and the dust settles down
There ain't no trophies or cheering crowds
You'll face yourself at the end of the day
And be damn proud of whatever you've made
Can't hang it on the wall for the world to see
But you've got yourself a working man's Ph.D.

Now there ain't no shame in a job well done
From driving a nail to driving a truck
As a matter of fact I'd like to set things straight
A few more people should be pullin' their weight
If you wanna cram course in reality
You get yourself a working man's Ph.D.

It's starting to get chilly and that makes me not want to go outside anymore, so it's time to fire up the old blog-ola again and get back to playing the 8th instrument out of seven that I know how to play the best....the radio. Given the current State of the Union (or lack of as the case may be), I thought I'd do a series of songs that touch on the economy.

If there has ever been a medium for man to vent his frustrations without fear of reproach, it's music (because music is always considered a "creative art" and therefore accepted as being 100% subjective and individualistic). Music has always been a form of communicating man's darkest fears, his deepest troubles, his doubts, and his shortcomings. It's been there for him to voice his opinion on all aspects of life, from partying and social issues to politics, religion, and even the weather, and unlike all other forms of media, music has always set itself apart as being the one true media within which a person can convey their actual feelings. The pen may be mightier than the sword, and many great orators have risen to and fallen from power on their abilities to captivate an audience with speech, but music is the only thing that has the ability to transcend the boundary between the physical mind and the metaphysical spirit....i.e. "It gets ya right here." (place fist over heart). And besides, as we've seen before and as is the point of this blog, if you want somebody to remember something (consciously or sub), well, just sing 'em a song and they won't be able to help it, even if they disagree.

And so, to help us remember that it wasn't always this bad, I've chosen a song that really doesn't have much to say in the way of things historically, however we can use music to actually create a memory, or rather, an association. By association, I mean something that we think about when we hear a song. You have probably noticed by now that there have not been many posts here containing country music. It's not that I don't like country music (come on, I'm a farmer and I own 3 horses and live in the country...er...what used to be country). Country music doesn't actually work the same way that rock-n-roll does. It hasn't got much grit when it comes to politics and there's more tears in beers than there are fists in faces. Country music is more laid back and reflective. In fact, the subject matter of country music is actually closer to the daily lives of real people than any other genre, so much so that one of our local country stations' slogan is "Music for real life". Instead us catching a vicarious glimpse of someone else's experiences, country music has that mass "been there, done that" quality that you can actually identify with personally, and that you won't really find anywhere else.

Even if you're not a country fan, you can appreciate the message that Aaron Tippin's "Workin' Man's Ph.D" tries to send. It's a song about things being American made. No tricks, no frills, no gimmicks, just a song about the contributions of the American working man. So, let's look at what he's been up to all this time. Here's a list of U.S. inventions, and products and companies that are still Made in the U.S.A.:

  • Ford - that's a no-brainer. Ford may use some foreign parts, but by all rights these cars and trucks are American, based in Dearborn, Michigan. In fact, Ford gets top billing here for not only being an American car, made in America, but also for being THE very first car...ever! (1901)

  • Oreck upright and canister vacuums. (Long Beach, MS)

  • Shop Vac - those small but mighty vacuums that even have us calling all R2D2-esque canister vacuums "shop vac". (Williamsport, PA)

  • Peanut butter - While peanuts have been used to make paste since 930 B.C., it was an unknown U.S. doctor who invented the tasty-sweet pasty snack in 1890, and in 1903 Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, MO patented the first peanut butter making machine.

  • Eddie Bauer - (Bellevue, WA) The clothes, the shoes, and the names on the SUVs. While you may see the name being associated with Germany and Japan, it isn't that the outdoorsy company is contracting to have their clothes made there, but rather that they have their catalogues distributed there.

  • Step2 - (Streetsboro, OH...a stone's throw away!). They make everything from those tough plastic mailboxes (have one!) to outdoor children's toys. This stuff can hold it's own against everything, including the snowplow.

  • Pyrex - any woman who's spent time in the kitchen knows what Pyrex is. It's the ONLY company worth buying who makes glass cookware. (Charleroi, PA)

  • Anchor Hocking - Next time you order a drink at the bar or pour a Kool Aid (also an American drink) at home, check the bottom of the glass. This company, located in Lancaster, OH (yay!) shows up like a rash when it comes to glassware.

  • MagLite - Shining light on the subject from Ontario, CA since 1979. (they make flashlights).

  • Banjos! - a purely American instrument for purely American music - bluegrass. Developed by African slaves in the U.S. It's one of the few musical instruments that are made here in the U.S. that are well made. Musical instrument making in the U.S. isn't all that great, I think mainly due to the fact that it's a very old art and we're just too busy and haven't been around long enough as a nation to really perfect it.

  • Louisville Slugger - perhaps its the fault of this Louisville, KY company that there was no joy in Mudville when Mighty Casey struck out, but this company's bats have hit more home runs than there are green M&Ms.

  • Channellocks - (Meadeville, PA.)

  • Snap-On - forget Craftsman (made overseas by various companies...BOOOOO!). Snap-On is a little more expensive, but their stuff is a lot nicer than the competition. I should know...my husband owns so many that not all the toolboxes fit in our house! (Elkmont, AL; Algona, IA; Elizabethton, TN; Milwaukee, WI)

  • Wiffle Ball - now who doesn't love wiffle balls? They don't hurt when they hit you and they make the most delightful sound as they slosh through the air. (Shelton, CT)

  • Big Wheel - you know, those tricycle-like plastic toys. Yep, they still make 'em! (Cedar Rapids, IA)

  • Snapper lawnmowers - (McDonough, GA)

  • Western Saddles! - nobody in the world makes a saddle like the Americans. Cowboys were another purely American invention. They bred their own horses (see next entry) and designed their own saddles. The Western saddle is unique to the U.S. and was designed around the job of the American cattleman's job. Everyone who's been around horses long enough knows that if you want the rootin'est, tootin'est saddle for your money, then you buy one that's hand made right here in the U.S. of A. This is another area that we excel in as a country.

  • Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals in the 1760s.

  • 2 words... "Eli Witney". There's enough right there: interchangeable parts, cotton gin, milling machines.

  • Colt and Smith & Wesson firearms.

  • Potato Chips! - invented by George Crum (how fitting!) in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1853.

OK, and now for a laundry list of other stuff we invented - stuff that is used on a daily basis throughout the entire world, and without which none of us would be the same. This is stuff that the world couldn't live without, and dag-gone it, we invented it (and of course, let's not forget that with a single invention comes all its ensuing technology and uses):

disposable diapers, drive-through windows (the negative feedback amplifier), THE INTERNET, sunglasses, deodorant, inline skates, LAPTOP COMPUTERS, clothespins, kitty litter, street sweepers, VOICEMAIL, condensed milk, sextants, mail order catalogs, safety pins, vertical filing cabinets, sousaphones (marching tubas!), thumbtacks, ZIPPERS, mercury vapor lights (oh how I hate them!), garbage disposals, CELL PHONES, jukeboxes, reclining chairs, ice cube trays, air conditioning (freon), DIGITAL WATCHES, White Out, THE AUTOMOBILE, crash test dummies, defibrillators, TRANSISTOR RADIOS, cruise control, MICROWAVE OVENS, hair spray, windsurfing, cable TV, TV dinners, CREDIT CARDS, magic markers, golf carts, artificial hearts, BAR CODES, automatic sliding doors, radar detectors, HARD DRIVES, snowboarding, NASCAR, videotape, LEDs (light emitting diode), glucose meters, smoke detectors, COMPUTER MICE, Astro-Turf, CDs, Kevlar, catalytic converters, EMAIL, Post-It notes, control top pantyhose, AIRPLANES, the Heimlich meneuver, LIGHTBULBS, Gore-Tex, MRIs, nicotine patches, TiVo, THE TELEPHONE, GPSs, automatic coffee makers, refrigerators, WINDOWS (as in Bill Gates), blue jeans, Coca-Cola, FIBER OPTICS, Band-Aids, brassieres, corrugated cardboard, chewing gum, BLOOD BANKS, grocery coupons, crossword puzzles, drinking fountains, CAMERAS, passenger elevators, electric guitars, FOOD BANKS, Jell-O, lipstick, MORSE CODE, nylon, roller coasters, ASSEMBLY LINES, tea bags, teddy bears, Teflon, TOILET PAPER, tissues, tractors, traffic lights, VIDEO GAMES,.....and the ONE greatest invention that has gone down in history as "the greatest thing"....

......sliced bread. Yep. We did it here first in 1928. It was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, IA.

WOW! We've been busy! And unlike everyone else, we've done it all in only 229 years. Nothing about this country has come easy or been handed to us. We've done everything by ourselves since our Independence.It would seem to me like we've earned that Ph.D. There's a lot here to be proud of.

~Sources? Read the labels...and maybe perhaps somethings from a generic Google search.

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