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I have to admit, this little satire cracked me up.

Apparently it is going viral across the Web, assisted by social-networking sites such as Facebook, which is where I first saw it. It originally comes, as best as I can tell,  from another WordPress blog, Cash Peters’ The TV Swami:

“This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by socialist electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the socialist clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the socialist radio to one of the FCC- regulated channels to hear what the socialist National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using socialist satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of socialist US Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the socialist drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time as kept accurate by the socialist National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my socialist National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the socialist roads built by the socialist local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the socialist Environmental Protection Agency, using socialist legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door, I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the socialist US Postal Service and drop the kids off at the socialist public school. If I get lost, I can use my socialist GPS navigation technology developed by the United States Department of Defense and made available to the public in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, who issued a policy directive declaring socialist GPS to be a dual-use military/civilian system to be managed as a national socialist asset.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the socialist workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the socialist USDA, I drive my socialist NHTSA car back home on the socialist DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the socialist state and local building codes and socialist fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the socialist local police department.

I then get on my computer and use the socialist internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and browse the socialist World Wide Web using my graphical web browser, both made possible by Al Gore’s socialist High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. I then post on Freerepublic.com and FOX News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.”

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Dallas at night, if not from a DC-9.

Dallas at night, if not from a DC-9.

A conversation today on Facebook reminded of a column I wrote back in 2002, about the classic Jimmie Dale Gilmore tune “Dallas.” It’s probably the most famous song ever recorded by The Flatlanders, a Texas trio of lifelong friends from Lubbock: Jimmie Dale, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock.

I’ve always thought the song nailed the character of Dallas in a number of telling ways. So here’s the column again… and if you want to hear the song sung by Jimmie Dale himself, here’s a YouTube link.

                                                                            ***
JOYCE SÁENZ HARRIS, Staff Writer  
Published: May 19, 2002
(c) The Dallas Morning News

The topic at lunch (and don’t ask me why) was: What kind of a beautiful woman would Dallas be?

Dallas is like a beautiful woman … with a hangover?

With a Bible?

With Manolo Blahniks in a Neiman Marcus bag?

We never quite decided. The conversation moved on to what the members of the Algonquin Round Table would talk about if they were around today.

After lunch, however, I realized that one Texan has already described the kind of beautiful woman Dallas would be. He did it 30 years ago, in fact. I heard him sing about it just last autumn.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s song “Dallas” never made it to the top of any charts in 1972. It was the lead-off tune and lone single from an album by a Lubbock trio called Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Flatlanders. The project got a dismal, half-hearted release in eight-track format and promptly vanished from all commercial view.

But Jimmie Dale Gilmore and his fellow Flatlanders, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock, did not vanish. They went on to become three of Texas’ favorite singer-songwriters, each with his own cultlike following.

Meanwhile, fans in England rediscovered the trio, and the word spread back home. Eventually the Flatlanders album, a neglected stepchild of corporate Nashville, became the darling of music collectors.

Years later, the album – aptly retitled More a Legend Than a Band — was re-released on CD, in slightly reconfigured form, by Rounder Records. (Sun Records, which had produced the original release, also released the album on CD but called it Jimmie Dale Gilmore and The Flatlanders “Unplugged.”) Jimmie’s song “Dallas” probably got its widest exposure when he sang it as a duet with Natalie Merchant on Jay Leno’s Tonight show.

Today, the Flatlanders’ music is widely recognized for the traditional jewel it always was.

The band began performing together again in 2000 and at last has another CD, Now Again, being released Tuesday.

The trio is scheduled to play the Granada Theater on June 26 and will also be part of the “Down From the Mountain” tour at Smirnoff Music Center on July 20.

I saw the Flatlanders play at the Texas Book Festival last year in Austin. The literary crowd loved them; historian David McCullough, among dozens of others, two-stepped up a storm.

But a clear favorite among the Flatlanders’ tunes was “Dallas,” for the fans hummed and sang along with that one. This is how the opening chorus goes:

Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?
Dallas is a jewel,
Yeah, Dallas is a beautiful sight;
Dallas is a jungle,
But Dallas gives a beautiful light.
Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?
 

A careless listener might mistake this song as a hymn to our fair city. In a way it is, for if anything, Dallas is even more spectacular by night now than it was 30 years ago.

But the reference to “a jungle” should tip you off that something darker is coming. And sure enough, it does.

 
Now Dallas is a woman who will walk on you when you’re down,
 
 But when you are up, she’s the kind you want to take around.

Now Dallas ain’t a woman to help you get your feet on the ground,

And Dallas is a woman who will walk on you when you’re down.

That’s the kind of a beautiful woman Dallas is, according to Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

Any number of local heroes and has-beens would likely agree with him that Dallas dearly loves winners and is mighty tough on losers.

The “middle eight” verse of the song could be sung by many Dallas newcomers, legal or otherwise:

Oh, I came into Dallas with the bright lights on my mind;
I came into Dallas with a dollar and a dime.
 
Then the song gets really dark:
 
Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes,
 
A steel concrete soul with a warm-hearted love in disguise;
A rich man who tends to believe his own lies.
I say, Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes.
 
And all this, mind you, was written years before anybody invented J.R. Ewing or the savings-and-loan scandal.
Ever since I first heard “Dallas,” I’ve thought it really should be our unofficial city anthem.
 
Of course, it never will be. It is much too dark, too subversive, for a city that habitually directs its feet to the sunny side of the street.
 

 

 

If we do have an unofficial anthem, it’s probably Frank Loesser’s 1956 Broadway hit, “Big D,” from The Most Happy Fella.

You’re from Big D,
My, oh yes,
I mean Big D, little a, double L, A-S.
And that spells Dallas,
my darlin’, darlin’ Dallas;
Don’t it give you pleasure to confess
That you’re from Big D,
My, oh yes!
 
 Of course, the talented Mr. Loesser caught the way we Dallasites like to think of ourselves — my, oh yes.

 

But I suspect our fellow Texan, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, may have caught more of the way we really are.

 
Papa'iloa Beach: Can't you almost see Sawyer?

Papa'iloa Beach: Can't you almost see Sawyer?

We got back last Monday from a trip to Maui. On the way back, we had a 24-hour stopover on Oahu… meaning we were in LOST territory.

Unfortunately, I did not run across any LOST shoots that Sunday. Nor did I bump into any stars in the airport or in Waikiki — unless you count spotting the Searcher, aka Penny’s boat, in a Honolulu marina.

But I did persuade my indulgent husband to drive us to a couple of LOST sites in the brief afternoon we had to explore the North Shore, in the area around the cool surfer town of Hale’iwa.
Papa'iloa Beach on Oahu's North Shore, a backdrop familiar to LOST fans.

Papa'iloa Beach on Oahu's North Shore, a backdrop familiar to LOST fans.

First we checked out Papa’iloa Beach, where a lot of LOST beach camp scenes have been shot. We were very near the actual shooting site, but not as close as we would have liked. We didn’t have the time (or the energy; it was hot) to trudge a mile south, down the beach and around the point, from the public-access spot where we could legally park.

But the mountains were there as a green backdrop, the beach looked a whole lot like the beach we all know and love… and if you used your imagination, you could almost see a shirtless Sawyer sitting on the rocks, looking out to sea. (Well, at least I could almost see him. My husband was probably imagining Kate or Juliet.)

YMCA Camp Erdman welcomes LOST fans.

YMCA Camp Erdman welcomes LOST fans.

Next we went up the Farrington Highway to YMCA Camp Erdman, also known as the Dharma Barracks or “New Otherton.”

Almost nobody was around Camp Erdman that day, and even before we checked in at the Welcome Center, no one seemed to mind that we parked and walked around to shoot photos. As you can see from their sign (above), they seem to welcome LOST fans.
Kate was held captive in Camp Erdman's Assembly Hall.

Kate was held captive in Camp Erdman's Assembly Hall.

We spotted the gazebo and the Others’ recreation hall (above), sometimes used as their temporary jail. You’ll recall that’s where Kate was kept prisoner when she tried to rescue Jack, who didn’t really want to be rescued.

The yellow cottages of "New Otherton," aka the Dharma Barracks.

The yellow cottages of "New Otherton," aka the Dharma Barracks.

The mustard-colored cottages (above) were unmistakable, although the campgrounds didn’t look nearly as green and pretty as they do in the show (I suspect the LOST crew does a lot of set dressing beforehand). It’s obvious that the cottage interiors we see are sets; the real interiors are much more spartan.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon. If we’d had a few more days in Honolulu, we might have taken a pricey tour of Kualoa Ranch, a private estate where many LOST shoots take place, on the windward side of Oahu. Or I might even have contacted Grass Skirt Productions to see if I could finagle a backstage, on-set visit.
But for the brief time we had on Oahu, it was enough to know that we were as close to the Island as we were ever likely to get. Now when I watch the reruns and see the Barracks, I can think: “Wow…I was there!”