The 2005 CD #2 is Now Available

No Stress In Maine? 1:33

There are 57 stories on 2005 CD #2 Running time 1:10:45 This is the script:

Rants for 2005 CD #2

Print on CD “I enjoy your show a great deal … Thanks for sharing your wonderful humor and wisdom.” Mary in Brunswick, +

1. This week I cut down a couple of huge cherry trees that had died on the stump and I used my chainsaw to peel off all the soft rotted wood on the outside. And I got to thinking that you could compare me with a half rotted cherry tree. Once you get it cleaned up it will get you through a cold night. 051007 +

2. The Common Ground Fair has come and gone and it was to my way of thinking the best fair ever. I was assigned a spot in front of the MPBN tent so I got to talk with you. This year I spoke with not dozens but hundreds of radio friends. My most unforgettable moment? I was talking with 6 or 8 friends when another couple showed up. Nice looking young girl around 25 – 30 and her friend. She looked at me and said, “Hot.” And of course being deaf I leaned toward her and said, “What.” And she said, “Hot. You are hot. I have listened to that sexy voice for years but I had no idea that you were such a…” and she licked her lips and kind of moaned and squirmed with her entire body. And I said, “What do you do?” And the fellow with her said, “She doesn’t have a job yet. They just let her out yesterday.” 050930 +

3. What do you do? That is the question I asked you at the Common Ground Fair. One beautiful young girl told me that she was an actress. I almost laughed in her face. I said, “How in the world can you make a living in as an actress in Maine?” She said, “My husband is a doctor.” 050930 +

4. Last week you heard me mention that one of my radio friends is looking for toupees. She is a feminist, which is one of America’s last walking anachronisms, and she told me at the Common Ground Fair that she was going to make a rug out of toupees. But since last week she sent me a clipping of her ad in the Portsmouth newspaper. It says. “Seeking used toupees for art project. Any style/condition/color. Anonymity guaranteed.” I suppose making a rug could be considered an art project, but I wonder about the “anonymity guaranteed” bit. Does that mean that just in case you stole it somewhere she is not going to ask you where you got it? Why would you not want people to know if you sold a used car or a used toupee? What difference does it make? There is a picture of a toupee in this ad she sent me and if you didn’t know what it was you could probably go to jail for sending the picture through the mails. But I’m probably missing something here with this anonymity guaranteed. I’m and I’d like you to tell me what it is I’m not reading between the lines. +

5. Ever hear just a snatch of a conversation and wonder what they were talking about? First thing in the morning I was standing outside the gate at the Common Ground Fair with two vendor passes in my hand. You know --- waiting for you to come up to me and say, “Hey humble, love your show. Gimme them passes.” And while I was standing there a young couple walked by and the young guy was talking. And if you were the girl who was walking along with him, please send me a note so we’ll all know what he was talking about. All I heard was, “… and then a little bit of drool fell out of her mouth onto my forehead…” +

6. I was telling my friend Dan about the Common Ground Fair. Everybody goes. Everyone enjoys watching the little dogs that herd the sheep. Dan said, “Ugh. Don’t ever get a border collie.” He said that he was once with a bunch of dog walkers out in the woods and without noticing what had happened the border collies had herded all their owners together. They were all so close they were touching --- shoulder to shoulder and chest to chest. I hope you lonely young people in big cities are listening. 050902 +

7. All I know about this is what I heard, and it seems as someone got blind drunk and then staggered off, bare butt naked, and tried to start a fire on the floor of a nearby woodshed. Upon hearing this I quickly whipped out the little notebook you’ve seen me carry on my right pant leg. I wrote down the following salient points. Please listen closely. The property owner heard the commotion outside and dialed 911. By this time, the drunk’s friends had found him and put out the fire. Meanwhile the drunk had run off into the woods, still bare butt naked. Later, a fireman reported seeing him out on the main road so the property owner once again called 911, this time to alert the sheriff. And what do you think the dispatcher said when she was told that a naked man was staggering down the road? “Can you give me a description?” 050902 +

8. You’ve heard me tell about the very determined vacuum cleaner salesman who knocked on a door down Harpswell way. The woman who answered said that she didn’t have time to look at any vacuum cleaners, but the salesman stuck his hand in through the door and emptied a small can of desiccated cow manure on her carpet. He said that if his machine didn’t pick up every molecule of that cow manure, he would eat what was left. And the woman said, “I’m glad to hear it. Central Maine shut off my power yesterday.” 051111 old story +

9. Just had a chance to use my Spanish. The woman making the courtesy call for Discover card had a strong Spanish accent, so when she asked if Marsha was home, I said, "Que lastimme." She asked, "So she's not home?" I said, "Claro." She said she'd call back later and I said, "Merci." +

10. You might remember that I like beans and spaghetti and could happily live on them until the day I die. Please hear this letter from Brent: Dear humble, I do find you unusually paradoxical since your erudition, intelligence and academic history come across loud and clear on your show. You have a voracious passion and understanding of the social and cultural happenings around you, which are most often associated with sophistication and depth of knowledge/wisdom.....Whereas your culinary interests seem very basic and working class, that harken to your youth, years of bachelorhood, addiction to your desk top, poverty, an artist caught up in the thrall of his muses??? --- Thank you Brent. My discriminating taste when it comes to meals also applies to women, and is not regretted when I look around and see friends who were obviously hooked by their first entre. 051118 +

11. Who hasn’t heard of Oil of Olay? There is no question in my mind, that if a woman uses Oil of Olay between the ages of 30 and 50, at the age of 50 she will have the same complexion she had at 30 --- as long as she doesn’t smoke and has never exposed her skin to the sun. I present to you this evidence that women who use Oil of Olay do so with the understanding that it is not a panacea and that eventually more drastic steps will be necessary. Please listen closely. A woman who was in a remarkable state of preservation recently sat at our breakfast table. One wondered why this woman was traveling with a man old enough to be her father, until it was revealed, with fanfare, that she was 55 years old. I was not surprised that anyone 55 could look so much younger, and to prove my point I brought up the web page that contains pictures of my Radio Friends and showed her a picture that was taken of me when I was 55. I looked like a little kid. I told her that she would soon discover, as I did, that there comes a day when crow’s feet do come home to roost. I told her that I didn’t know exactly when it happened, but on one quiet, unannounced day within the past 15 years I suddenly looked my age. And that woman smiled at me and said, “Well, that’s why they made paper bags.” 051111 +

12. There are people who are not suited to live in cold climates and I am one of them. Fortunately it is possible to buy insulated garments that keep heat in against your body and the cold out, and for countless people like me who can’t stand the cold, sensible winter clothing is the only thing that makes November in Maine tolerable. By the first of October I’m already wearing socks and warm, wooly bootlike things that keep my feet and ankles warm. Although I can’t wear long johns because they make my ankles itch I do wear insulated pants over my dungarees. I put on a warm sweater and on top of that my snowmobile suit. It goes without saying that I have a knit watchcap that comes down over my ears. And, dressed like that, I can manage to stay toasty warm and comfortable --- unless I have to go outdoors. 051118 +

13. Do you jump up and obey every time your wife barks a command? If you are newly married you might. But those of us who enjoy marriages that might be compared to a butter nut squash just before the first frost --- that is men who have marriages that have mellowed and ripened to a satisfying state of perfection, do not jump up at her first words. Any experienced husband will tell you why. No matter what my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman says, you can bet that as soon as she says it the little cogs and wheels in her head start to move --- you know --- to evaluate all of the attendant ramifications --- and within 30 seconds she has changed her mind and says just the opposite. On the other hand, she thinks that I am wishy-washy --- that is, that I don’t really mean something when I say it, because --- should I say, “two helpings of chicken is enough,” she always says, “Are you sure?” 051028 +

14. When you say to yourself, “I love my wife” what does that mean to you? Do you love her because she is pretty or because she has mastered the art of making you exotic culinary delights like jello? Or do you love her simply because she tolerates you and seems to care for you in spite of everything? I want to tell you what makes my eyes get all weepy and what makes me say to myself, “I love that woman.” More than anything, my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, loves to mow the lawn. She has a self propelled snapper lawnmower that pulls her around and for years she’d come home from 8 hours of mowing grass and stacking wood and break out her mower and trot along behind it until it got so dark she couldn’t see. It goes without saying that for years the grass on our lawn resembled the hair on the head of a Marine recruit. Marsha’s ideal lawn is several acres of dry brown earth. She mows everything --- right down to the dirt. Small trees and flowers on our farm are nothing but history. Ledges are ground down. A substantial stone bench and the privy have both been mysteriously moved, although she swears that she didn’t go anywhere near them. But the proof is on her mower. It is a nice new mower, but it is covered with streaks of yellow paint --- the color of our house. The carburetor and the muffler are severely dented and are streaked with the same tell-tale yellow paint. They each hang crazily by one bolt – no one knows how it happened, but the other bolts were snapped off by repeated sharp blows. And when I kneel down by that lawnmower and look at those streaks of yellow paint and see the flopping muffler and the sagging carburetor and the front end that looks like it has been beaten by a sledge hammer, my eyes get all weepy and I think to myself, “Oh, I love that woman.” 051028 +

15. Dick Cash used to sing a song called You’ve Changed. It’s such a good tune that Don Doane has probably recorded it. Don’t we all change? Wouldn’t it be terrible if we didn’t? I have the same eyes that I had when I was in the first grade but isn’t it interesting that they don’t see things the way they did in 1941? You have heard me say on too many occasions that I was a single man between the ages of 34 and 54. For 20 years, those years when most men are building equity while enjoying a happy and comfortable hearth and home, life for me was a constant daily struggle --- to keep from becoming involved in a meaningful relationship. But for 17 or so years now, my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, has been a part of my existence and I would not have it any other way. The other day I got to thinking how impossibly difficult it would be, starting over out there again, all alone in the hard, cold world. In case you haven't been paying attention lately, nowadays most of the available nice looking young girls have children who are 35 years old. 050722 +

16. One of Marsha’s grandchildren was under my care for an hour. I was scared. The child Avalane cannot talk. What could I do if she wanted something and how would I know what she wanted. But I learned something from this unique experience. The child went into my library and peeled the dust jackets off some Art In America books and was eating them. I couldn’t believe it. The child ate paper. How, I wondered, could any child cultivate a taste for paper? But then I remembered that earlier in the day I’d seen her parents feed her an avocado. 050819 +

17. This morning my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, received a phone call from an exhausted daughter who had worked days and then watched a sick child nights for a week. She asked for relief so she could collapse. For the first 15 years of my life, I lived with my grandmother in my grandmother’s house. Although my father, who came there as a boarder married his landlady’s daughter and lived there for another 50 years, it was still grammie’s house until she died. I didn’t know it then, but I now strongly suspect that the place operated under my grandmother’s rules and regulations. Nowadays, too few households enjoy the advantages of three generations in one home. A built in grammie was probably the reason I was reading well above grade level when I started school. Only a working mother, who has also stood nightly watches over a sick one-year-old for a week, can really appreciate what it would mean to have a resident grammie. For kids, life couldn’t be better. In the cellar way are metal tins full of hard molasses cookies and donuts, and grammies are more forgiving than parents when one has committed crimes against the establishment. Today I suspect that my father probably didn’t have much to say about anything in our very happy household and I am indebted to him for teaching me how to play the role of Man of the House. I simply stand back and get out of the way. +

18. I’d like to pass along a bit of arcane wisdom that came to me in a flash this morning as I was getting ready to do some carpenter work around the farm. No man who has ever watched how his wife put on her bra has ever had trouble tying the strings on his nail apron. 050722 +

19. Matter is neither created nor destroyed and the same thing is true of the space in your barn. This week I sold two 1924ish Model TT trucks, not because I didn’t need them desperately, but because I no longer had a place to store them. I’ve had these beautiful antique trucks since 1953 and when I put up a for sale sign two years ago, it was painful. If you ever kept in your barn an item that you didn’t use on a daily basis, you know that it very slowly disappeared from sight. Which is why it took me two years to get pictures of these valuable antiques on my webpage --- I had to excavate them, probably in the same manner that Howard Carter stripped away the eons of debris that covered King Tut’s Tomb. And then you know what happens when you finally get around to putting on line an extravagant web page with beautiful pictures of a rare and exotic item you’ve had for sale for two years --- you sell it the same day from an ad you had run in Uncle Henry’s. So I took the page down the same day I put it up. You can’t believe how much I enjoyed seeing all that empty space in my barn --- of course I’d forgotten that I’d piled all the stuff that was on the Model TTs outside and that I was either going to have to load it on my pickup and take it to the dump or else lug it back in and now that there was nothing to stack it on, where was I going to put it? My brother Jim came by and noticed that I’d cleaned out my barn. I told him that I’d already gone to the dump with a whole truckload of scrap lumber. You know, those little boards 8 or 10 inches long that you know will come in handy some day. I told my brother that things have changed. Nowadays you don’t need to save small scraps of boards because every time you go down to the dump if you swing by the wood pile you can easily pick up half a dozen planed pine boards 10 inches wide and maybe two feet long. Jim agreed. He said that he no longer keeps a whole raft of lawnmower parts because any time you need parts you can go down to the dump and get a whole lawnmower. But my barn looks good and my brother was amazed that I’d obviously been able to haul off a lot of other valuable things I’d been saving for years. I can’t really take all the credit. When I went inside for a nap my wife Marsha found the keys to my pickup. 051111 +

20. I have lost 15 or so pounds this past year, simply by not eating the good things that my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, likes to make. Soft ginger snap cookies. Warm moist banana bread that melts in your mouth. Blueberry cake all warm and crumbly. Juicy red rhubarb pies that make your jaws ache just thinking about them. For a year I have also forgone ice cream and donuts and sausage and bacon. And of course, as a result, even without getting any exercise, I have taken in my belt two notches. --- And the other night --- up in our bedroom --- just before I slipped into my pajamas, I stood sideways to Marsha, who was already reading in bed, and I sucked in my gut as far as I could. And of course it gave me the profile of a 45-year old kid with a tiny thin waist and a huge massive chest. And Marsha looked up from her book and gasped, ---- “Wow! I need to trim your eyebrows.” 050909 +

21. Talking about losing weight reminds me that my doctor --- Doctor Hall – Doctor Hall has never told me that I am overweight. Probably because he knows that if he does, I’ll sue. But you have seen my famous belt that I have worn every day all day on all occasions for at least 25 years and you know that I am two inches away from the original notch I used as a callow faced youth of 45. Here is my secret: Last fall I stopped eating goodies. I stopped eating Marsha’s pies, cakes, little sweet breads and soft ginger snap cookies. I stopped eating ice cream. And although I have had at least one donut and one of those month old apple pies that you can buy for a dollar nineteen in gas stations --- it was a hyperglaucemic emergency --- I have abstained. Cold turkey. Begging and threats have not swayed me. No goodies anywhere anytime for any occasion. And just by cutting out goodies I have lost 15 pounds and have been able to comfortably draw in my belt two extra notches. I would be flattered if you would notice it and call my attention to it the next time you see me. You know that I do not boast or brag and I am not doing so now. The point of this rant is that you, too, will find that there are advantages when you start to lose weight. This week, while replacing a hide-a-key under my truck, I found another hide-a-key I had lost five years ago. 050902 +

22. It can be statistically proven that people come in three sizes: large, average and small. Because most of the women used in television commercials are no more than skin stretched on very small bones, the American woman has been conditioned to place herself in the large category. You can’t look at a television commercial without realizing that someone is trying to make women dissatisfied with the way they look, smell or feel. This is why even the most sensible woman might be tempted to lose weight --- to diet. Have you ever lived with a person who eats nothing but salad? After a week you beg them to wolf brownies or at least put enough chocolate sauce on their lettuce to make them sociable. A St. George man tells me that his wife dieted faithfully for three weeks without losing a pound. She got so cranky that he started avoiding her --- he even fell asleep drinking his nightly hot chocolate in front of the TV and stayed on the couch all night. And night after night, his wife lost weight. It was two or three weeks before a doctor figured out why. The television ads for weight loss had made her so sensitive to calories that she’d been gaining half a pound every night just by smelling the hot chocolate on his breath. 050826 +

23. Someone stood up at our last Grange meeting and said that eggs are now laser-etched with an expiration date and a code. This code which is printed on the eggshell traces the egg back to the Maine farm where it was packaged The process could even be refined to the point where you could tell which hen at the farm laid the egg. This quantum leap forward in recording the origin of a hen’s egg is truly encouraging in a state where many good people still don’t know who their own father is. +

24. Last week I went into the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford for the first time in probably 27 years. I saw pictures of Hen Teel and Forrest Wall and it is a very exciting thing to see pictures of your St. George neighbors in a museum. Right there in the Brandywine Museum I also saw a painting of a board fence, and my brother told me that that fence still exists today as a support under John Vansorosin’s compost pile. How can anyone enjoy going to a museum to look at pictures if they can’t recognize Jimmy Parker’s barn or Lou Robinson’s manure pile? One thing that did not escape my attention was the lack of teeth in paintings. Years ago you saw no teeth in paintings or photographs. I don’t know, but I will guess it might have been because years ago people had bad teeth or no teeth. Nowadays people have good teeth so we see them in photographs. But --- we do not see teeth in paintings because no one knows how to paint them --- painting teeth is a skill that has never been developed. Picasso put three heads on a body, hoping that nobody would notice that he couldn’t paint teeth. The best teachers cannot teach students how to paint teeth because they themselves were never taught how to paint teeth. I have it on good authority that the best art teachers will throw down a rag and have the student paint and draw it over and over for six months. This presents no problem because artists have been representing rags on canvas for years. Art teachers can critique and make suggestions when it comes to painting rags. Which reminds me that my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, recently said to me, “Dr. Ralph is coming for supper --- will you please change into a different rag?” Anyway, --- if you want to go down in art history as one of the great innovators, learn how to paint teeth. 051125 +

25. Channel 18 on my television alerts us to upcoming programs. Very often the pictures above the list show dozens of movie stars walking on a red carpet. If you have seen what I’m talking about you know that these folks are wrapped in the weirdest threads and are flaunting the most horrendous haircuts ever seen on the planet. And when I look at them I laugh and laugh because these are the same people who claim that the wife of the Prince of Wales doesn’t know how to dress. 051111 +

26. How do you know when the honeymoon is over? Listen closely, my young friend because that day is approaching for you. Perhaps you think that it can never happen to you, but it will. --- Oh no, our marriage is different. --- Don’t kid yourself. Sooner or later it happens to everybody, and the best you can do is to hope that it will be later rather than sooner. Yes, there will come a morning when, instead of getting a warm hug and seeing the light of love glowing in her eyes, you will simply hear, “That garbage has to be taken out today.” 051118 +

27. Halloween is my wife's favorite holiday and it takes the Almost Perfect Woman a week to prepare for the little trick or treaters. She buys in bulk and one year I counted --- one gigantic bag of Tootsie Roll Pops. One huge package of Fun Size Snickers Bars, a monstrous sack of Milk Chocolate Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, and enough Fun Size packs of M & M Peanut Chocolate Candies, to last American Psychologists until the end of the millennium. Then she turns on the outside light, sits in a chair by the door, and hopes that nobody will come. 051028 an old story +

28. My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, spent the last week in October with friends in Pennsylvania where she attended an elaborate Halloween party. Her job was to make sure that none of the guests had been close enough to the candles to set their costumes on fire. She whitened her face with clown paint and wore a sheet --- which reminds me --- the first thing my wife Marsha did when she got home was to go upstairs and rip the sheets off our bed. If you live with a Type A person you will understand this. Type A people don’t simply do anything. They can’t simply take the sheets off a bed or simply remove the sheets from the bed. They rip them off because Type A people rip and tear. So when Marsha got home she went upstairs and janked off the bedspread. And she grabbed the blankets and slatted them aside. And I said, “Why are you changing that bed? I’m the only person who has slept in it for a week.” And she grabbed them sheets said, “That’s reason enough.” 051111 +

29. My wife Marsha has gone to Holland for a week to say goodbye to her mother in law, The Great & Powerful Oma, who has been moved into a hospice. Whenever Marsha is gone, several demanding sociological and domestic problems usually arise which I have attempted to circumvent this week by employing the very little I know about quantum mechanics. Although I don’t fully understand the paradox of Schroedinger’s cat, you and I have talked about it before and I have found a use for it now. The way I understand it, and I know you will correct me, the cat is in the box with a radioactive atom. If the atom decays and the Geiger counter detects an alpha particle, the hammer hits a flask of prussic acid, killing the cat. Before the observer opens the box, the cat must be in a superposition of dead and alive states. Marsha is in Holland and she has no way of opening our bedroom door, the lid on Schroedinger’s box, if you will, which would enable her to learn if I made the bed every morning. So, by the way I understand quantum mechanics, our bed is both made and unmade unless Marsha looks in the door which she can’t do. So, because it really makes no difference if the bed is made or not, guess what? 050826 +

30. Can you say anything good about fast food? Is fast food 100 percent bad or does it have a redeeming feature? You will have to admit, that no matter how bad something is, you can find at least one good thing to say about it, and fast food is no exception --- because --- they say that fast food cuts down on your sex drive. So, although most everyone in the upcoming fast food culture will be overweight, it will help us with the population problem. 051125 +

31. The email that came this morning said that I could borrow as much as $420,000 for as little as $400 a month. Although David Mumford is not likely to nominate me for a Nobel Prize for my work in mathematics, when I divided 420,000 by 400 I got 1050 months. And when I divided that by 12 I got 87.5 years. And because I didn’t believe what I saw, I ran the figures two or three times. Even if they didn’t charge you interest, it would take you 87.5 years just to pay back the principle. If you were paying 5% interest on the $420,000, the first year the interest would be in the neighborhood of $21,000, or around $1750 a month. So if you were paying $400 a month, the first month your debt would grow by $1350 a month and of course your debt and the amount of interest would continue to grow almost as fast as your health insurance premium. You know I am the last person you’d want to consult about anything to do with money or mathematics, so perhaps you can tell me what I’m missing here. I’m Do you suppose that international bankers are so accustomed to loaning money to our government that now they think we’ll buy into the program, too? +

32. Did you see that documentary on TV about the commando who had always wanted to be a woman who became a woman? He gave up the commando business and was accepted for a job at the Library of Congress. I think this got attention from the press because when they found out he’d become a woman, the job was no longer his --- or hers. If you are a man who enjoys being a man or a woman who enjoys being a woman, be thankful. From what I saw on TV it is painful to have a brain that wants to be in another body. Anyway, the man in this documentary was not only a tough commando, he was in charge of the toughest commandos -- and I’m talking about the high IQd highly educated tough tough tough James Bond or Steve Waterman type of men who go into places where nobody can go and do things that can’t be done. I saw a clip of this commando being recognized for his service by the top people in our government today. I also saw clips of her walking along with long hair and a dress and you would really never suspect that this quiet, well-groomed woman could, in a matter of seconds, kill six football players with her bare hands. Wouldn’t you like to be peeping out from behind a car in a dark parking lot and see two punks come up to her and say, “Lady, if you don’t hand over your purse we’re going to take it away from you.” 051028 +

33. “Will you take off those ragged pants so you’ll look nice for dinner?” That’s what my wife said. And you know just as well as I do what she meant. She meant that I should put on some pants that were not all raggedy looking. Is there anything wrong with pants or shirts that are a bit worn? I am talking about pants and shirts that came right out of the washing machine. My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, wants me to conform to Camden or Kennebunk rich kid clothing standards when friends come for dinner, and we are talking here about the meal that is eaten at noontime. I am a very sweet and gentle person. My only comments that she might consider to be negative have to do with begging her to eat less bacon and less chocolate. Or I might beg her to stop working at midnight and come to bed. She considers her body to be no more than a disposable throw-away tool that can be used in any manner to get some job done. In other words, she is the type of employee that every employer loves. Anyway, I do appreciate everything my wife does, so wouldn’t you think that she would be willing to settle for my applause and kind words? I know women who wouldn’t care what their husbands wore to the dinner table, if they would only say something nice to them from time to time. I know women who would be glad to dress their husbands in rags if it would cut down on their constant complaining and gosh darn crankiness in general. Why is it that no matter how good some people have it, they are never satisfied with what they have? Why do women swap husbands? Why do men swap wives? 051202 +

34. Do you have friends who can say the nicest things that actually mean just the opposite? There is a literary name for it but I’ve forgotten what it is. You haven’t fully mastered the technique of delivering the dry double edged comment unless you can keep a straight face. Gramp Wiley’s wife Gladys and Sam Collins were the two best practitioners I have ever heard. I can remember 30 or so years ago when I wanted to get married so bad that I could taste it, that I had to get a paper that said that I had been abandoned by my wife as being unworthy and was legally divorced. When Sam gave me the paper, he said, “Here is your passport to happiness.” And then --- perhaps it was my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, who mentioned to our next door neighbor Gladys that her daughter was coming home from college for the weekend. Gladys, who was probably 80 at the time and had seen more than a handful of young girls, said, “Oh, that’s nice. She’ll be such a help to you around the house. 051202 +

35. You have probably never seen any paintings by Debra Yoo. This is because, as far as I know, Debra Yoo is not famous. But then, I only recently heard of James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett ---Boufay so Debra Yoo might be famous, too. Be that as it may, I met Debra Yoo at the Common Ground Fair where she thrust a postcard into my hand. On the back was a painting of an old quarry. As you know, I know nothing about art. Don’t you have to admit that if Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock had been selling stocks and bonds instead of paint on canvas they would have been indicted and locked away for fraud? To my ignorant and uneducated mind, an artist is one who can reproduce on canvas something that exists in the real world. I like Bradley Hendershot’s pictures. I like Barbara Ernst Pray’s pictures. I like the Wyeth crowd because --- even if I am unable to fathom the depths of whatever it was they were trying to say, I can at least recognize Hen Teel sitting in his kitchen and the quilts out on my clothesline. So I was shocked when Debra Yoo gave me a post card of her painting of a quarry. I said, “But Debra, This is a quarry. This isn’t real art. --- I can tell what it is.” And Debra hung her head and said, “I’m sorry. I can’t get past that.” 051007 +

36. Here’s some wisdom from the Common Ground Fair. If you are a young husband listen closely. Although I am 69 years old, I was single for 50 or so of those years, so there is still a lot that you and I have to learn about marriage. And this is what I just learned. A man almost old enough to be my father said to me, “It pays to forget some things. If you remember to do everything all the time, she will expect you to remember all the time.” --- Good thing I wrote that down. +

37. Is it true that Medicare might soon be spending 2 billion to buy Viagra for seniors? Because smokers are over twice as likely to become impotent as non-smokers, should non-smokers be taxed for shortcomings that smokers have chosen to inflict upon themselves? If you are an older non-smoking man, you might want join me in a letter writing campaign opposing this expensive legislation. Shouldn’t we let our legislators know where we stand? 050527 +

38. A friend of mine said that she took French in school until she could no longer understand what they said. She said, “They got to the plu perfect of the past participle and I dropped out.” This is the problem with language instruction today. Instead of considering language to be a tool whereby a student learns to discover what’s really happening in the world by reading French or Dutch newspapers, in too many instances a language class is no more than an academic exercise. Remember, there is only one sentence that you need to know in every language when you are traveling abroad: “My friend will pay.” 050603 +

39. Henry V, that mirror of all Christian kings, said, “Once more into the breach, dear friends.” You’ve heard me chew this rag before, but here it is again. Can you believe that a radio friend came up to me at the Common Ground Fair and said that when he first heard my show he didn’t like my accent. Wow. You can imagine that if I were inside I would have gone right through the roof. Didn’t like my accent. Do you remember what Abraham Lincoln said when someone accused him of being two-faced? He said, “If I had another face would I be wearing this one?” If I could articulate my sentiments in the manner of William F. Buckley would I be employing the phonological constructs of a hick? Here, again, is the story. My great grandparents William Williamson and Mary Farquar, came to Spruce Head, Maine from Aberdeen Scotland around 1870. I was born and raised in the home of their daughter, my grandmother. I learned to talk from a woman whose parents were born in Scotland in the 1840s. I studied English and linguistics in grad school for 4 years, so, having given the topic an inordinate amount critical consideration, I realize that my phonology and other significant suprasegmental phonemes could well be rooted in an orphan’s home in Aberdeen and not St. George, Maine. Anyway, if you were to see me come up to a polio victim and say, “Hey, you walk funny. Why don’t you quit dragging your leg behind you like that? Wouldn’t you think that I was incredibly ignorant --- or mentally ill --- or drunk? Yet --- some supposedly well educated people think nothing of coming up to someone with a speech impediment and saying, “Hey, why do you find it necessary to put on that ridiculous false Maine accent?” +

40. Thank you for taking the time to say hi to me at the Common Ground Fair. I met Lillian’s brother George. Lillian was the cook at Hidden Valley or one of those camps where my wife Marsha worked. I met Long Ball John’s daughter. Long Ball John was a golf pro who beat Sam Snead in the rain at Gull Lake Country Club somewhere in Michigan. I met a woman who asked me what men do with their old toupees. She can’t find even one. She wants to make a door mat out of toupees that says, “Don’t Tread On Me.” The Volvo man from Leeds told me that natural fibers are not conducive to foundation garments. And I heard the brass rat story. Did you know that there is a restaurant down Bar Harbor way where they have a sandwich called “The humble Farmer?” I was foolish enough to ask what was in it. The man kind of hemmed and hawed and looked at his feet, but his little 8-year-old daughter said, “It’s full of baloney.” 050930 +

41. What would make a grown man stand up in a crowd of people and tell an outright falsehood about me? For three days I was right there in front of the MPBN tent at the Common Ground Fair and I was there from the time the fair opened until long after it had officially closed. And because Barbara and her MOFGA staff gave me such a great location, I was usually trying to talk to six or eight of you at the same time. And right in front of a crowd of people one man said, “Humble, the last time I saw you, you were standing in front of the Trade Winds Motel in Rockland dressed in nothing but a barrel.” And here I want to pause long enough to ask you --- if you can imagine me --- appearing anywhere dressed in nothing but a barrel. Embarrassed me to pieces. And this man said, “You were standing in front of the Trade Winds Motel in Rockland dressed in nothing but a barrel. Had ropes going up over your shoulders holding up the barrel. You were protesting a male strip show that they were having in there that night. You said that anyone who saw your body would realize that a male strip show was demeaning to men.” +

42 Big Dave, who runs a land clearing business in Fort Myers, Florida, came by for supper at our home in St. George, Maine the other night. Marsha was delighted to see him because Marsha loves to cook and Big Dave probably weighs 300 pounds. Big Dave is a great story teller. Big Dave said that he was walking down some rickety wooden steps when the bottom one broke and he fell and rolled on the ground. The owner of the building, who was watching, almost had a heart attack --- when Big Dave’s brother pulled out his cell phone and said, “Hello, Bornstein, Bornstein and Bornstein?” +

43. My friend Rich who was with --- I think it was the National Restaurant Association – was right in there with people who put on big programs. Rich told me about a program someone put on in Chicago for 20,000 people years ago. It was the biggest sit down dining room in the country and President Nixon was going to come in and say a few words to the restaurant people--- probably about eating crow. It was such a big deal that they’d brought in a famous band --- let’s call it the Franz Bentler Orchestra ---and --- and Franz was going to bring down his baton on Hail to The Chief when Nixon approached the entrance to the hall. The fellow who hired Franz wanted to leave nothing to chance so he, himself, was going to stand in the doorway and when he saw President Nixon coming he was going to take out his handkerchief and wave it over his head so Franz could play Hail to the Chief --- so Franz had better be watching. So the boss is standing in the doorway when a friend comes up to him and starts to chat --- like you would with a friend. And he says, “Who is that bandleader way down there who is watching us so closely?” And the boss says, “That’s Franz Bentler.” And this guy says, “Oh, I know Franz Bentler, and he takes out his handkerchief and waves it over his head.” 050916 +

44. My friend Rich has a daughter who worked in the Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast. She was in a village of 700 people and taught young people basic health procedures, the most important of which could not be taught in American schools today. She was the first white person that many of them had ever seen, and forty or so of her new students were proud to pose with her in a group picture. It was printed in her home town newspaper in Illinois. Her father cut out the picture and saved it --- not so much for the picture but for the caption the editor put underneath it, which read: “Anne Gavin. Second row. Third from right. 050916 +

45. You have heard me say many many times that I read Harlequin Romances in 7 languages. Because Harlequins are written for people with a grade school vocabulary they are ideal reading for beginners trying to learn another language. You have heard me say that some of them are funny and contain nothing that you would be ashamed to have your grandmother or granddaughter read. I have yet to find one that was not full of instruction for the reflective mind. Ecutay: while reading one in Dutch at 5:30 this morning I realized that although it helped me maintain my linguistic skills, the plot --- the story --- was just the opposite of what one finds in real life. In Harlequin Romances we find two beautiful, perfect people who want to live together, but some silly, unspoken reason keeps them apart. In real life two beautiful people would like to escape a tedious, uneventful marriage, but some silly unspoken reason keeps them together. 050624 also 050826 +

46. People from away don’t understand how we do things here in Maine. I have 50 or so rhubarb plants. I used to give away a lot of rhubarb. But my friends didn’t want to take it when I said it was free, so I started snapping a rubber band around a handful of it and putting it on a chrome plated farm stand out by the road. You get it by the bunch, because if I ever put it out by the pound, even though it might be 8 ounces over, there would come a day when someone would howl that it was one ounce short. But a bunch is a bunch. One day, a man from away was watching me snap it off, cut off the huge leaf, and put the stalk on the five by five inch top of an ancient blue spring scale that I carry down to the rhubarb patch. Every once in a while I’d snatch it up, snap a rubber band around it and throw the bunch aside. The man watching said, “That scale don’t work.” Of course it works. When I can’t get no more on the top of the scale and it starts to fall off, you’ve got a bunch. 050520 +

47. Here’s your humble Farmer Mr. Nasty story for the week. You know that there are devious people out there. We are talking here about ruthless men and women who will stop at nothing to get what they want. The law isn’t even a slight inconvenience to them. They will have their way in their neighborhood, no matter what. Listen closely and tell me if I am talking about your neighbor. A man built a beautiful house by the ocean. But --- although he was as close to the ocean as zoning ordinances would permit, his view was blocked by a vast impenetrable forest. Big trees. Lots of big trees. No amount of pleading with the planning board would get them to permit him to cut even an ant infested fir. But the man who owns this house has a wife who wants to see the ocean and zoning be damned, he’d better do something about it. Oh, I can barely bring myself to tell you what he did. Get the kids away from the radio. It’s too horrible. This man rented a u-haul truck and came home the same night with 2000 feet of wire fence and three goats. 050916 +

48 If your father were Prime Minister of England or if your mother earned a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize, you must live a hard life. Are you crushed by unnecessary social pressures? Do folks expect you to measure up? My father came to this country to break big pieces of rock into smaller paving blocks. He pounded granite all day with a hammer in a quarry just like Rambo, so even when I joined the ranks of the lowest paid teachers in the country, my neighbors might have chosen to believe that I did better than my father. But even though my friend Grayson is the Chief Financial Officer in a corporation, his father has a PhD from Harvard. He writes books and Grayson’s mother is a lawyer. So unless Grayson absconds with hundreds of millions of dollars and lives the rest of his luxurious days surrounded by dancing girls in Aruba, it is going to be hard to come up to the expectations of his parents. Grayson confided to me that he finds his father exceptionally annoying when the three of them play cards. His mother, the lawyer, snaps her cards crisply into her hand, snap snap snap. She plays close to the waist and thinks way ahead. On the other hand, his father, the scholar, fumbles with his cards. He drops them on the floor. He never seems to know what he is holding. He makes blunder after blunder. It takes him forever to evaluate his hand and his indecision drives his son and wife crazy. The worst part is that he always wins. 050902 +

49 You have heard me speak of young Grayson Allen. Grayson Allen got an award for having the best newspaper at Dartmouth college. The powers immediately withdrew the paper’s funding and it folded. Grayson Allen got several years experience in the banking business and is now the Chief Financial Officer in some small corporation. His world is far removed from mine and I asked him exactly what a Chief Financial Officer does. He said, “If anyone in the company messes up, we’re the ones who go to jail.” 050909 +

50. I heard it again on the morning news. They said we now have an airplane almost the size of a football field. It is interesting that the football field is accepted as a unit of measure by many Americans. Always eager to join the cognoscenti, I Googled “size of football field” this morning and learned that the total field is 120 yards long and 160 feet wide. That’s what it said. “120 yards long and 160 feet wide.” So I learned two things today --- the size of a football field and the fact that people who are not academics are likely to mix their --- measurephors. 050513 +

51. I heard it on the noon news. “As more and more of our college graduates move out of state, business owners in Maine are wondering what they can do to keep their work force.” Here’s a simple answer that no business owner in Maine has ever considered. Pay --- them ---- more --- money. 050513 +

52. One of my schoolmates from Gorham Normal School called up the other day and in the course of the conversation said that his stepson was going to Castine which made the old man feel very good. But, the kid has met a girl with a lobster license and of course this is not good because he wants the kid to get an education. But he knows that the kid can make from $250,000 to $300,000 a year lobstering and if you can do that why bother to work your fingers to the bone at Castine for four years. You know as well as I do that girlfriends and even wives are cast aside --- even quicker than I can wear out a shirt --- so I said that perhaps this was just a summer romance type of thing. But my friend said that he had reason to believe that it was serious. His stepson had built her a new bait tank and he measured her height so she wouldn’t have to hurt her back while leaning over to fill bait bags. 050902 +

53. I just heard that thinking is modeled as statistical inference rather than logic and learning results from the accumulation of massive data from interactions with the world. I only mention this because there are learned people who listen to this program. They are professors of linguistics, psychology, English, statistics and law, to mention only a few. During the summer months one or two super special grad students of these learned professors might get invited to Maine for a few days --- you know – to tighten up the thesis. Surprisingly enough, some of these students do not have affairs with their professors and then become number two out of an eventual string of five, six or even eight grad student spouses. They are serious scholars who would, however, do almost anything for their mentors. Were you to read the memoirs of one of them 50 years from now, you might see something like this: “My most uplifting experience while studying geometric invariant theory was digging a new hole for David Mumford’s privy.” 050819 +

54. People from away do not fully understand what motivates Maine people to stand up at Town Meeting and argue for an hour on a $300 item and then appropriate $300,000 for road sand as quick as the moderator can bring the hammer down. Back before we built a big town office, our town meeting used to be held in the Tenants Harbor Oddfellows Hall. Years ago the place used to be jam packed with people standing up along the walls, but nowadays usually only a few folks attend, and most of them just moved to town and want to find out about this town meeting thing. At a recent meeting the handful of natives argued for 50 minutes over $4,000 that would pay a town constable. Some of the people from away said that we needed a town constable and our own police car with a blue light on it. What the newcomers didn’t understand was that the natives who stood up and said that we didn't need a town police man had waited years for a burglar to break into their house so they could shoot him. 050826 +

55. It wasn’t too long ago that I went into a bookstore in Camden just in time to see a man buy a book written in Greek. In Greek. I thought that was pretty unusual and I said so. Not many people around who can read Greek. But it reminded me of something and I said to this man, “This morning when I got out of bed I noticed on the little stand beside my bed a book in Swedish, a book in Spanish, a book in Dutch and a book in French.” The man said, “For heaven sake --- who were you sleeping with?” 050826 +

56. Have you ever heard of an adult who didn't mind growing older, slower and more forgetful? You might have seen the one who grabbed headlines in the paper last week when he crashed his small plane. The sheriff found a very large amount of cash scattered around the crash site but the poor old pilot couldn't remember where he got the money or what he was going to do with it. The drug enforcement administration and the income tax people have been looking into the situation. The most reasonable explanation anyone has come up with so far, is that he was on his way to Lewiston to make his monthly health insurance payment. 050826 +

57. This afternoon I was shocked --- no, I was horrified when I looked into the wash basin and saw half a dozen hairs in there about three inches long. --- I’d just finished washing my feet. 050401 +

58. You know that you’re always welcome to drop in at the St. George Farm and visit Marsha and I anytime. +


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Robert Karl Skoglund
785 River Road
St. George, ME 04860

© 2005 Robert Karl Skoglund