My resolutions for New Year's Eve fell by the wayside due to exhaustion. It was physical exhaustion brought about by mental/emotional exhaustion, so although I did accomplish some of what I wanted to do, I didn't get to all of it.
I cleaned up several hundred accumulated emails from the backlog, though that is barely a drop in the very large bucket.
I reviewed/recorded most of my Festive Season tasks and reading, leaving only two or possibly three to go. The final tally was a disappointing 19 points, but I read three VERY LONG books in the mix, and I'm patting myself on the back for them regardless of "points."
During the gaming time, I also made significant progress on one of my long-term, ongoing personal projects: the transcription of all those spiral notebook diaries. Yesterday morning I reached January 2017, so I am just a few days less than a year behind!
This coming week-end is the Flagg Gem and Mineral Show held at Mesa Community College. Though not nearly as big as either the Quartzsite or Tucson extravaganzas, the Flagg show is close to home and convenient, with free parking and admission, and more than enough goodies for me to ogle. It's not that I need any more rocks, but, well, a girl can't have too many! The weather forecast as of last week was not promising, but it has improved steadily the closer we get to the show. Friday looks like the best day, with mostly sunny skies and a high around 75.
The following week-end is the two-day Heritage Days celebration at our local Superstition Mountain Museum. I'll be setting up there to (try to) sell some of my jewelry and other hand-made goodies. Last year we had horrible weather, with powerful storms that destroyed several vendors' canopies and kept visitor attendance way down. The forecast looks much, much better for 2018, with mostly sunny skies, high temperatures around 70, and neither rain nor wind predicted for either Saturday or Sunday.
There's one part of Heritage Days that I am very much NOT looking forward to.
One of the entertainment acts scheduled is singer Paula Erlene, "America's Yodeling Sweetheart," and her husband Ermal Williamson, who does a John Wayne impersonation. At last year's Heritage Days, Paula debuted her new, original patriotic song, "We Are One," which Ermal (as MC) touted as "the next God Bless America." He further exclaimed that Paula was writing new verses almost literally while rehearsing.
As I sat under my little rain-drenched canopy and tried to smile through the yodeling, I realized I had heard Paula's "new" song before. The tune was completely familiar, and even over the noise of the wind in the cactus, the murmurings of the appreciative crowd, and the tramp of footsteps in the muddy ground, even with the terrible outdoor acoustics, I knew the words to this song she claimed to have written herself.
We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice,
"I am, you are, we are . . . ."
How was this possible??? I had never heard of Paula Erlene before in my life, but I knew the words to the song she bragged about having just written.
After the Saturday shows -- the entertainers each perform twice each day -- I hadn't pegged it down, and I was too cold and too tired by the bad weather to even think further once I got home. But it nagged at me, so that when she took the stage for Sunday's performances, I listened more closely to the words . . . because I had finally developed a very sneaking suspicion as to why this song was so familiar.
As Paula once more sang the chorus,
"I am, you are, we are Americans,"
I knew the last word was wrong. And before she finished her new, original composition, I knew why it was so familiar. There was nothing I could do while I was at the Museum, but as soon as I got home Sunday evening, I got on the computer and found confirmation of my absolute worst thoughts.
Some of you here may recognize the performers, though this YouTube screenshot is of a 1994 live (and farewell) performance. Some of you may already have recognized the lyrics.
I broke into tears when I realized what Paula Erlene, "America's Yodeling Sweetheart," had done.
She had stolen someone else's work and claimed it as her own. (I played the video linked above just now and started crying again.)
Paula Erlene now has a CD out that appears to include the song.
Whether there is any credit given to the original composer and lyricist, I don't know.
EDITED TO ADD: I was finally able to get a decent shot of the Facebook page on my other computer with larger monitor, and yes, it does state that "We Are One" is adapted from Woodley & Newton's "I Am Australian." This is more than she and Ermal did at Heritage Days last year; it will be interesting to hear what they have to say this year.
But on her Facebook page -- or Ermal's, if you will -- she does claim to have written it herself.
Maybe it's just a nasty and shameful American habit of cultural appropriation. "God Save the King" became "My Country 'Tis of Thee." And "To Anacreon in Heaven" became "The Star-Spangled Banner" (minus, of course, its racist later verses). Paula and Ermal performed in South Korea ahead of the recent visit by American "officials," and their political affiliation is apparent. It's not likely that any public announcement of this infringement would be met with anything other than, well, approval.
After last year's discovery, I wrote to The Seekers, either via Facebook or email, regarding the situation. I never heard anything back. I don't have a recording of Paula's performance or her claim to have written the song herself. I only found the above Facebook claim this morning.
I hate these people. I hate them with a white hot passion. I hate their supporters and defenders. And I know America is better than this.
Australia certainly is.
Watch the views of the audience on this one
And from 2012, with verses not in the shorter versions, verses Paula Erlene also . . . used:
It was often played at citizenship ceremonies from 2008 until 2012 when the Copyright Tribunal ruled that this was an infringement and ordered the Federal Government to pay Bruce Woodley $149,743.34 in compensation.
In 2009 two additional verses were added to show remembrance during the official National Day of Mourning for the victims of the Black Saturday bushfires. Woodley performed the song along with his daughter Clare and Kinglake fire survivors Merelyn and David Carter during the memorial service at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on 22 February.