General Richard B. Myersm, General Richard B. Myers

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas learn all about General Richard B. Myers, the new President of Kansas State University. Then it’s the real story behind Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Next enjoy a poem from our Poet Lariat, Ron Wilson and we’ll end with an Around Kansas look at gift giving and gift wrapping, a story you’ll only see here! Stay with us!

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(Frank Chaffin) Well, again early Wednesday morning. I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. While we’re in the middle of Kansas, I guess. Now actually where we are, is we’re in the Rotunda of the Capital in the Capitol. You can see the Christmas tree behind us here today. (Deb) isn’t it beautiful? (Frank) It is. (Deb) In the middle of our newly restored Capitol building, the Statehouse and its magnificent. This is a great time of year to come see it. Not a lot going on right now so, it’s pretty calm; Silent Night all that stuff, it would apply right now; after the first of year not so much. (Frank) And if you hear strange noises when we’re doing this. It’s not ghosts, it’s just that there are a lot of tours that come through here and it echoes a lot, there maybe some ambiance sound. (Deb) There are people actually working in the Statehouse, right? There are people who actually so we’re told. There are actually people who work here. Actually some of my good friends work upstairs in the library. Good things are happening here. We’re going to have fun. This weekend next week we’ve got a lot of fun Christmas stuff for you. I know you’re all thrilled that it’s the holidays. I’m adamant Frank that people not get so stressed out about the holidays. It’s so hard not to get stressed. There’s so many demands on your time. Try to take a breath and enjoy it. Everything is not perfect; it’s okay if everything– if we don’t get it all done by whatever. There used to be– you know the song 12 Days of Christmas? Well, where I grew up back in the hills, people in my granny’s generation were still celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas. They didn’t have a lot of money. What they did was have a party every night. For the twelve days of Christmas, they would go from house to house having a square dance and they’re all in the square dance every night. It was in the middle of the winter. Harvest was done. It’s kind of a slow time for farmers. That’s what they did and I think that’s wonderful. I just love that idea. Christmas is not this hard deadline where you got to everything done. We’ll just party [laughs] until the end of the New Year. We don’t get it done tonight, we’ll do it in the morning. (Frank) I just remember as a kid in grade school and all that, we always had this little Christmas play and the Christmas music and the whole thing. We’d line up and put on our robes and march over and sing songs. (Deb) I bet you were so cute, right? Do you have any pictures of that? (Frank) I don’t know. I think I burned years ago. (Deb) We’d pay money to see that wouldn’t we? Little Frankie dressed up. Don’t you like the illustrations I’ve got on Facebook right, for you and me? Our little cartoons that Patty King does and then I find these little Christmas cards; little boys and girls doing Christmasy things. There’s Frank and me all cute rosy cheeks and fake– yes [laughs] the fake us. (Frank): Anyway. Well, we do. We have a lot of stories for you today. Our director is saying wrap, wrap, wrap. (Deb) Oh. That what he’s doing? I can’t see. (Frank) Yes, I think so. We’ll be back.

(Frank) Here we are again. This is Around Kansas by the way. I’m Frank, she’s Deb and you’re not. I went to Saturday Night Live there, sorry. (Deb) Those were the days. Chevy Chase reading the news. The best commentator since Walter Cronkite, Chevy Chase doing the news, It’s priceless. (Frank) Generalissimo Franco is still dead! (Deb) [Laughs] I love that. (Frank) I know. (Deb) It’s brilliant. All right, one of my favorite Kansans, General Richard Myers has come back to Kansas, thank goodness. I considered General Myers a dear friend and somebody that I admire so much. When I wrote the book on the Civil War in Kansas, I asked General Myers if he would like to forward. I sent him the manuscript but he had just published an article in The Topeka Capital Journal, The Spirit of Kansas, they can ask different people to write something about their feelings. He being a military man, of course, he wrote about the military history of Kansas. It was just a brilliant, brilliant article. I said, “You know, you don’t have to write anything new. Take that article you wrote for the Capital Journal. Change a couple of words. You don’t have to read the manuscript. Don’t do anything hard – nothing.” Frank, this is the kind of man General Myers is. He read the manuscript. He actually read the manuscript. (Frank) Oh my! (Deb) I know. He had just flown in, his daughter was telling me, just flown in from Europe. My deadline with the publisher was right at the hard deadline. Get it in and he was on the tarmac in DC, he’s writing the intro of the book sitting there. But he actually refers to things in the book. I know he read it. [Laughs] God bless him. (Frank) Now of course we’re talking about the same General Myer who is going to be the new President at Kansas State University. (Deb) Is that cool or what? Let’s take a look. Retired U.S. Air Force General Richard B. Myers was selected as interim president for Kansas State University in April 2016 by the Kansas Board of Regents. On Nov. 15, the Board of Regents officially named Myers the 14th university president. Myers is Chairman of the Kansas State University Foundation Board of Trustees and a Foundation Professor of Military History and Leadership. He and his wife, Mary Jo, serve as co-chairs of the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign. Born and raised in Merriam, Kansas, Myers received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University in 1965 and a master’s degree in business administration from Auburn University in 1977. Gen. Myers joined the Air Force in 1965 through the ROTC program at Kansas State University, after which he entered pilot training at Vance Air Force Base. A command pilot, he has more than 4,100 flying hours, primarily in the F-4, F-15 and F-16, including 600 combat hours in the F-4. The General has attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama; the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; and the Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 9, 2005. He is a retired Four-Star General in the U.S. Air Force and served as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005. As Chairman, Myers was the highest-ranking uniformed officer of U.S. military forces and served as the principal military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense and National Security Council. The university’s Gen. Richard B. Myers Hall, home to the Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs, is named in his honor. Myers presented the 118th Landon Lecture at Kansas State University in 2000. General Myers was described as having “a firm and steady hand,” a quality reflecting his Kansas roots. We at AGam and Around Kansas could not be more thrilled that he is bringing his talent, experience, and values back to serve the students of the Sunflower State. Welcome home, General!

(Deb) Well, we’ve got the perfect story for Frank, because this is about a fellow advertising genius, another advertising genius besides Frank. I tell you we all have our favorites and Rudolph is mine. I know it’s Christmas when Rudolph comes on TV. This is about this advertising connection to Rudolph. I’m sure before you researched the story; you were familiar with the elements of the story. (Frank) Yes. I’m not going to get ahead of the story but Montgomery Ward way back when we’re going to reward way back when. (Deb) You know the catalog… (Frank) They wanted an unusual advertising gimmick for Christmas. They gave it to the person who eventually wrote Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer. (Deb) I remember hearing and I don’t think that this is in the story and I think that this is true. Oh, Google that stuff, you know, when Gene Autry recorded Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer the song, his record company, well, a lot of record companies didn’t want to cut it. (Frank) He didn’t want to do it either. (Deb) He didn’t want to do it but his wife liked it. You keep mama happy. To keep his wife happy he actually recorded the song. Of course it became one of the best selling Christmas songs of all time. (Frank) Well, next to White Christmas. (Deb) Written by Erving Berlin who was Jewish. [Laughs] You know White Christmas when he wrote that song, he thought of it as a gift to America just to- (Frank) And Bing Crosby didn’t want to do it either. [Laughs] Then it became his biggest hit. Anyway, let’s see about Rudolph, The Red Nose Reindeer. For the real story behind Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, we turn to Fact Checker Rudolph came to life in 1939 when the Chicago-based Montgomery Ward Company asked copywriter Robert L. May, who had a penchant for children’s stories and limericks, to come up with a Christmas story they could give away in booklet form. Drawing in part on the tale of The Ugly Duckling and his own background, he was often taunted as a child for being shy, small, and slight, May settled on the idea of an underdog ostracized by the reindeer community because of his physical abnormality: a glowing red nose. He wrote Rudolph’s story in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, testing it out on his 4-year-old daughter, Barbara, who was thrilled with Rudolph’s story. However, May’s boss was worried that a story featuring a red nose — an image associated with drinking and drunkards — was unsuitable for a Christmas tale. May responded by taking a friend from the company’s art department to the Lincoln Park Zoo to sketch some deer. The illustrations of a red-nosed reindeer overcame the hesitancy of May’s superiors, and the Rudolph story was approved. Montgomery Ward distributed 2.4 million copies of the Rudolph booklet in 1939 and millions more throughout the war, despite paper shortages. Since Rudolph had been a “work for hire project,” May received no royalties for his creation. Deeply in debt from the medical bills resulting from his wife’s terminal illness, she died about the time May created Rudolph, May persuaded the company’s president to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947, and May’s financial security was assured. The Rudolph phenomenon really took off when May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny Marks, developed the lyrics and melody for a Rudolph song. Marks’ musical version was recorded by cowboy crooner Gene Autry in 1949, sold two million copies that year, and went on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to “White Christmas”. A stop-action television special about Rudolph narrated by Burl Ives was first aired in 1964 and remains a popular perennial holiday favorite in the U.S. May died in 1976, comfortable in the life his reindeer creation had provided for him.

(Ron Wilson) Howdy, folks. I’m Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat. In the days of the Old West, the cowboys lived by a code, an unspoken set of rules that we called the Code of the West. Cowboys lived by what we called the code of the West, which is drawn from America’s Westward Quest. This code isn’t written down in the book of laws but it’s taken from the daily life he draws. These are values, which the cowboy strives to live by in the many ways that they might apply. For example, it means taking pride in our work and finishing a job we will not shirk. It means being tough but fair to always keep our word and to be a good steward of the land and the herd. It means having the courage to take a stand and being loyal when we ride for the brand. To take good care of our tack and our steeds. To put our animal’s care first above our own needs. To be independent and not run from a fight. In short, to always stand up for what’s right. Our nation would be better, I will attest, if we all would follow the Code of the West. Happy Trails.

(Deb) Welcome back to Martha Stewart Living. (Frank) I have no idea what I’m doing. [Laughs] (Deb) This is how pathetic men are, because I give Frank this ribbon to unwrap or whatever you want to call it and of course he and Michael don’t even know what it is. See, ribbon is magic. You know that Frank. Ribbon transforms the lowliest, the most humble gift. You can put a ribbon on it. You put this old ribbon on it; she’s going to think you’ve got something more. So, ribbon is very important. (Frank) It’s got to be genetic because I don’t know anybody that’s a male who can actually wrap a present. (Deb) No, me neither. That’s why we’re here, so that you don’t have to wrap a present. Maybe even just tie a knot. You can just tie a knot. Maybe you can to do that. I love Christmas shopping and, so, all my family, of course, is suspicious when they get a gift from me. It’s all about fun, people. Let’s have fun with giving gifts and with wrapping gifts. Don’t be all concerned again about the perfection. Let’s have fun with it. I found this. Is this not the cutest basket you ever saw? (Frank) That is a nice basket. (Deb) I paid $3.75 for that at the antique store in Colby. I was thrilled, it’s got a little lid on it and everything; it’s woven, it’s really pretty. Now, all you got to do is put a million dollars in there and tie a ribbon on it and you got a nice present. (Frank) You know what really has saved all of us males is those little gift bags. There you go, put it in there, put a little — and then tie some ribbon. (Deb) Money fits nicely in gift bags. For all you guys, tins. These are great and, again, you can find these at the thrift store for a quarter, between a quarter and a dollar. Those are awesome. After you’re done with Christmas, you put your nails in it, right, or your, what would Michael put in this? Maybe his memory cards, he could throw those in there. Probably not nails, but something else. Look at this little tin I found. I found this at the thrift store in Oakley. Because the ladies put back stuff and tell me not to take it. Is that not the cutest little tin? The wheels on the bus go round and round. Is that not so? One of my grandsons is going to get this nice little tin for Christmas with something in it. Maybe put some candy in it. Then, these little things, little mailbox, these are all over at Christmas time. Is that just not the cutest little gift box you ever saw? I just put something in there, and you could take the ribbon or the raffia. This is raffia Frank. (Frank) It’s what? (Deb) Gift-wrap 101. This is raffia. Decorating 101. Just put a little raffia in there and then some nice little something, a piece of jewelry or gift certificate or gift card or put these in there. That would be real nice. See this little thing cost me just a dollar. Just a dollar for that, and so that’s even cheaper than a gift bag. I’m telling you Frank that solves your problems here. We’re in the capitol, State Capitol, which is a state historic site, so they have a beautiful gift shop. I was just down there visiting with the lady, and I bought a bar of this wonderful lavender soap made in Kansas. They have the jewelry that’s made from the copper they took off of the capitol dome and they restored it. They’ve got all these really unique Kansas gifts. They’re wonderful gifts for folks who maybe don’t live around here anymore or maybe friends you have that are out of state and want to send them something that says Kansas. You’ve got Kymm Hughes at Prairie Glass with beautiful things down there; a little sunflower. I think there’s even wine bottle stoppers, one of my personal favorites, the wine bottle stoppers. Of course, if you don’t finish the wine, who does that? We’ve got a – see from the Capitol Store, a nice little gift bag; in fact, I think this is such a cute gift bag, you could just — that’s right — you can just put a ribbon right there put the name on it with a red marker and you’re good. That’s the little soap I bought. This is man soap, Frank. Do you like that? (Frank) It says “man soap.” (Deb) For people who can’t take subliminal hints. This is a wonderful book. I’m all about giving books for Christmas, especially one of mine, like my Kansas Forts, I got a copy of them around here somewhere. Raising the West, this little gal, Kelsie Stelting did this book out at Wallace County, and this is interviews she did with the families, the matriarchs, the ladies of the families that grew up there. It is a wonderful book, that’s at the Fort Wallace Museum, and then she did this gorgeous calendar with scenes from Wallace County with little sayings. It’s a beautiful, beautiful gift. Even though this one is in Wallace County, and I encourage you to go out there, all your little county museums have similar things like that. While you’re supporting the small businesses, go support these small county museums and historical societies. It’s a great time to support them, take the family for a visit and do your Christmas shopping while you’re there. Now are these some great ideas or what? (Frank) There you are. (Deb) Educational. I’ve got a Sea Monsters National Geographic that’s all about the oceans of Kansas when we were all under water. Here’s one of my books, perfect for anybody from the state of Kansas. Then, if you run out of wrapping paper, old maps, Frank. Just wrap it in an old map and then you can tell people where to go at the same time while you’re wrapping Christmas presents. A pocket book I picked up at the thrift store for a dollar. Can you believe that? Is this a great country or what? You can get that little thing for a dollar. Music, Kansas Cowboy. Our good friend, this Kansas Cowboy CD is phenomenal. Michael Martin Murphy’s new CD, High Stakes.

(Deb) Merry Christmas, Frank. (Frank) Merry Christmas to you.

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