Posts Tagged ‘music’

The Compac Song

January 24, 2013

For 3 years I worked at a factory known as Compac Corp. in Stanhope, NJ where the main product was reinforced insulation backing paper.  One of the operators of the machine I ended up on was Don Davis (not the actor.) One time when I came in for my shift, he handed me a piece of paper and said that he wrote a song about Compac and that it took him all of 5 minutes to do it. Somehow I remembered it all of these years, though I did have to wrack my brain a bit to do it. I place before you the song he wrote with some clarifications of what the heck he’s talking about at the end.

Don has since passed beyond.  I know that many of his co-workers disliked his surly attitude, but he never did me any harm. In the microcosm that Compac was, I only ever found one individual that had no redeeming qualities.

The Compac Lament

by Don Davis

to the tune of “Detroit City”

I wanna go home. I wanna go home

Oh how I wanna go home.

Today I worked a shift here at Compac

And  tell you that I think it was a sin.

Number 2 fell apart, Number 8 would not start.

Where’s the help? The wheel wrapped up again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey John, I wanna go home.

Night shift really sucks here at Compac.

Just look around there’s clowns ev’ry where.

There goes a foil ball through the air, and a firecracker over there.

Where’s the help? the foil broke again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey Frank, Let me go home.

One day I’ll quit working here at Compac.

I’ll get a job and work 8 hours ev’ry day.

I’ll make money by the ton, and I’ll have lots of fun.

And I’ll never say ‘Where’s the help?’ again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey Charlie! I’m gonna go home.


  • The machines in the lamenation department were all numbered with even numbers. Don Davis was working on machine #10 at the time which was in the same ‘room’ with laminators #2 and #8. #10 was the newest machine at the time.
  • The wheel wrapping up refers to a huge wheel on #10 that contained spools of fiberglass string. The spinning wheel created a diamond shaped pattern in the product and added strength. Occasionally one or two of the strings would break and sometimes grab a few others. Sometimes the entire wheel of strings would start winding around the axle assembly and the machine would have to be stopped and each string restrung.
  • John was the foreman on the day shift.
  • Frank was the night shift foreman.
  • Charlie was the plant manager at the time.
  • The lamenations department operated on two 12 hour shifts, day and night.
  • The product was manufactured by gluing together aluminum foil and paper wit the fiberglass strings between the layers. Occasionally the foil (or paper) would break and create a mess of varying degrees.  I either case it required the full crew of (usually 3 men to get the machine running again.
  • As mentioned, the shifts were 12 hours long. Many of us wished for 8 hour shifts.

Cold as Comporellon?

January 23, 2013

I know that other places are colder than my back yard, but whenever it’s cold like this, single digits with a windchill, it brings to mind a little ditty I wrote.

Isaac Asimov, in his two Foundation novels, Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth mentions one of the original Settler worlds which during the time of the late Galactic Empire is called Comporellon. Comporellon is a cold world, but a proud one, whose founding reaches back to the dawn of galactic civilization. I composed a few verses of what might be the Anthem of Comporrelon to the tune of America the beautiful.

Anthem of Comporellon

Oh beautiful for arctic waste,

And blinding fields of snow

And glaciers flowing gracefully,

Up where the wind doth blow.

Comporellon! Comporellon!

The oldest world but one!

He founded you, Comporellon,

Elijah Baley’s son.

Empires may rise, empires may fall

But we will yet survive.

The Ancestor said we should spread

Until we’re galaxy-wide

Comporellon! Comporellon!

The oldest world but one!

He founded you, Comporellon,

Elijah Baley’s son.

I haven’t been inspired to come up with anymore verses, but I think about it when the wind howls.

Mountain Dulcimer

October 27, 2011

[Nun legebla en Esperanto]

Today I finished the dulcimer I made for my wife’s Christmas present. I finally bought the strings, put them on, tuned them up.  The dang thing works and sounds good! Not bad for stone knives and bear skins. The sound box is fashioned from nonconformist pine.  The fingerboard from a stick of oak which I took from an old pallet. The bridge and nut are from the spine of a hard rubber comb. The tuning head is that of a guitar and the frets are banjo frets, both of which I bought. The case in the background was also fashioned by me and sports brass corner and clasp hardware. I’m sure this will give my wife pleasure to play at home and at school for the kids.  I wonder if I could convince her to play it in church…

Mountain Dulcimer

My home made mountain dulcimer which is to be a Christmas gift to my wife.