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In 2024, when I updated this broken link, in Love in the time of Coronavirus, I asked ChatGPT for more information. This is what it told me:

"How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm" is a classic American song that captures the essence of a transformative period in history. Written in 1919 by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young, with music composed by Walter Donaldson, the song emerged during the aftermath of World War I, reflecting the societal changes and challenges faced by returning soldiers.

During World War I, millions of young men left their small-town lives to join the military and fight on foreign soil. These soldiers were exposed to new cultures, technologies, and experiences that often contrasted sharply with the traditional, agrarian lifestyle they had known. The war represented a seismic shift in societal dynamics, and the returning soldiers found themselves grappling with the challenge of readjustment.

When released, the tune became a cultural phenomenon, symbolizing the societal shift post-war. Its catchy melody and lyrics encapsulate the universal struggle between the allure of urban modernity and the comforts of rural roots.

The lyrics of "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm" paint a vivid picture of this struggle. Lines like "How ya gonna keep 'em away from Broadway, jazzin' around and paintin' the town?" express the allure of the vibrant city life, with its cultural offerings and lively entertainment, compared to the simplicity of farm life.

Beyond its initial popularity, "How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm" has endured as a piece of Americana, often referenced in discussions about the impact of war on individuals and communities. Its nostalgic yet forward-looking tone reflects the complex emotions surrounding the aftermath of a global conflict. The song serves as a cultural artifact, encapsulating a moment in history when the world was transitioning, and individuals were grappling with the profound changes brought about by war and modernization.

This YouTube presentation contains some interesting images from the period


Composed by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young, with music by Walter Donaldson

[Verse 1]: "Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking", said his wifey dear, "Now that all is peaceful and calm, The boys will soon be back on the farm", Mister Reuben started winking, And slowly rubbed his chin, He pulled his chair up close to mother, And he asked her with a grin.

[Chorus 1]: How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, After they've seen Paree? How 'ya gonna keep 'em, Away from Broadway, Jazzin' around', And paintin' the town? How 'ya gonna keep 'em, Away from harm? That's a mystery, They'll never want to see a rake or plow, And who the deuce can parley vous a cow? How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, After they've seen Paree?

[Verse 2]: "Reuben, Reuben, You're mistaken", said his wifey dear, "Once a farmer, Always a jay, And farmers always stick to the hay", "Mother Reuben, I'm not fakin', Tho' you may think it strange, But wine and women play the mischief, With a boy who's loose with change".

[Chorus 2]: How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, After they've seen Paree? How 'ya gonna keep 'em, Away from Broadway, Jazzin' around', And paintin' the town? How 'ya gonna keep 'em, Away from harm? That's a mystery, Imagine Reuben when he meets his pa, He'll kiss his cheek and holler "Oo-la-la!" How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm, After they've seen Paree?



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Southern Africa



In April 2023 we took a package tour to South Africa with our friends Craig and Sonia. We flew via Singapore to Cape Town.


Cape Town is the country's legislative capital and location of the South African Parliament.
It's long been renowned for Table Mountain, that dominates the city.

Read more: Southern Africa

Fiction, Recollections & News

Alan Turing and The Imitation Game


The movie The Imitation Game is an imaginative drama about the struggles of a gay man in an unsympathetic world. 

It's very touching and left everyone in the cinema we saw it in reaching for the tissues; and me feeling very guilty about my schoolboy homophobia. 

Benedict Cumberbatch, who we had previously seen as the modernised Sherlock Holmes, plays Alan Turing in much the same way that he played Sherlock Holmes.  And as in that series The Imitation Game differs in many ways from the original story while borrowing many of the same names and places.

Far from detracting from the drama and pathos these 'tweaks' to the actual history are the very grist of the new story.  The problem for me in this case is that the original story is not a fiction by Conan Doyle.  This 'updated' version misrepresents a man of considerable historical standing while simultaneously failing to accurately represent his considerable achievements.

Read more: Alan Turing and The Imitation Game

Opinions and Philosophy

The Origin of Life - according to God




Back in April 2013 I had another visit from our neighbourhood Jehovah's Witnesses,  a pretty young woman and her husband, recently married.   Like Daniel (mentioned elsewhere on this website) before them, they had brought copies of The Watchtower and Awake; which I agreed to read if they were prepared to read my paper: The Prospect of Eternal Life.

I keep a couple of copies of The Prospect of Eternal Life for just such occasions and have also given a copy to the local Anglican minister and to various other active proselytisers in the area; with similar conditions.  Of course I know it will not change their position but I do like to have the debate and amazingly so do they; it beats the usual reception they get; and they get some practice in trying to convert un-believers. 

When the couple asked my position I quickly summarised that in The Prospect of Eternal Life

Read more: The Origin of Life - according to God

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