Marsha and humble September 30, 2007




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Below is a rough outline of the rants from The humble Farmer radio show week of February 1, 2009




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February 1, 2009 Rants

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1. When many men hear talk about a six pack of firm abs, they reach down and lovingly pat one firm ab caused by too many six packs. Although we donít want take sides, you might know that anyone who has raised children or chickens will tell you that one of anything is easier to manage.

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2. There is a thing coming up called Superbowl. It has to do with a football game. You might have also learned about the Superbowl on the evening news. We are told that for their own protection attendees will be patted down by security before going into the stadium. We are told that they will also be protected by policemen in helicopters in the sky and policemen in boats and policemen on foot and horseback. You might have read more than a little about what was done to protect German citizens between the years of 1933 and 1945, so you will probably not be surprised when someday soon, for your own protection, you are stopped on the street and asked if your papers are in order.

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3. Iíve seen a rubber band, Iíve seen a peanut stand, Iíve seen a needle wink its eyeÖ. For a week now weíve heard that all the salmonella came from one peanut plant in Georgia. Last night, while actually paying attention to the news, it suddenly dawned on me that the salmonella came from one building in which peanuts were processed and not one peanut plant. It took me several days get that one. When I told my 94-year-old friend, Doris who was raised on a farm, that I hadnít understood ďplantĒ in this context, she said she also though it was one peanut plant. I blame the scriptwriter who was apparently availing the advantages of articulating alliteration. Iím Rapid Robert and I reside on a rhubarb ranch.

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4. You might recall my saying last week that Doris, who is 94, told me that she was so happy when her father put electricity in the house because it meant she no longer had to wash the lamp chimneys. Radio friend John in Falmouth writes that the story reminded him of his grandmother, Leslie Foote Barrows, who was one of the first pioneers in the Judith Basin in Montana. When interviewed by a newspaper in San Diego back around 1928, she mentioned their first make and break gasoline powered water pump. When asked if the noise bothered her, she said, "Only when it stopped.Ē

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5. An email that arrived today reminds me that I am fortunate to have many friends with diverse backgrounds. This gives me a social advantage over people who, day in and day out, only see folks with graduate degrees from prestigious universities. How many of them, do you suppose, ever get an email from a friend who gives thanks that black folks were evacuated from Africa in slave ships so they could be introduced to Christian salvation?

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6. Addiction is a terrible thing. I have had no coffee for a week and I know this. Anyone who has to look at their email before their eyes are even open in the morning also knows this. Even more insidious is Facebook, which I ignored until it completely overpowered me. Being an educator, this morning I posted a synopsis of An Enemy of The People on my Facebook page --- just in case a couple of my friends were unfamiliar with it. Reading things like An Enemy of the People is part of oneís education. Even if it doesnít change the way one votes, it might activate some unused thought process that will enable one to finally understand the power of dirty money. And even better than the opportunity to pass along interesting things to oneís friends, are the interesting messages that appear on Facebook from oneís friends. Wilder Oakes very astutely compares it with getting messages from a trance medium or an Ouija board.

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7. I have lived in Europe. If you have lived outside of the United States, you know that in many parts of the world Americans are seen as people who always have something bigger and better. Even yesterday, I reinforced this unfortunate stereotype of the Ugly American. My friend Boon, who lives on the outskirts of Groningen, sent me his picture. In his arms was his day-old grandchild. I replied, ďThatís only one --- here in America we have 8 at a time.Ē

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9. This morning, when I came out of the bathroom, my wife Marsha said, ďYou were in there talking about what you were going to do today. I think youíre going crazy.Ē This was a surprise to me. I didnít realize that I talked out loud to myself. But, as the day went on, I realized that when I was alone I talked out loud to myself all the time. Listening to myself for the first time, I was also somewhat shocked to hear myself employing lexical items that I never use with anyone but must have acquired 20 or 30 years ago while listening to the Nixon tapes. So --- because I donít want people to think Iím crazy, Iím going to have to get a dog. People who talk to animals are considered normal.

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10. Because I stand on stages and tell stories to audiences, I make an effort to watch people on television who are doing the same thing --- you know --- just to make sure Iím in tune with the present generation. I see the people in these television audiences laugh, even though the entertainer on the stage is not saying anything funny. They are simply telling dirty stories that are neither funny nor clever. I donít know why people laugh, I donít know how these so-called comedians can sell out huge houses, but I recently learned why this kind of programming warrants time on television. My brother told me he saw a television program called, ďThey Made Us Laugh.Ē They showed television programs made in the 1950s that featured Sid Caesar and others who were doing and saying some very funny things. The narrator explained that in the 1950s, television was expensive. Only the most intelligent people had money enough to buy one. Then, when the price dropped and everyone had a TV, they had to lower the programming standards. Youíve hear the term that describes this, but Iím going to repeat again. It is called the Dumbing Down of America.

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11. If you visit enough stores in Camden, you'll see a book named, "Why Gay Guys are a Girl's Best Friend." How could you argue with that? Anybody who thinks about it at all knows that gay guys are everybody's best friend. Ever see one run up your taxes by sending 8 kids to your school's remedial reading program? Ever have one break your heart by marrying your high school sweetheart or running off with your wife? Seeing that book brought to mind a poem I wrote years ago that summarizes the situation: "Oh what a great world this would be, if all the guys were gay --- but me."

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12. Friends who know that I am interested in solar power send me articles and I pass along the best ones to you. Ever hear of a solar powered refrigerator? It's a simple yet brilliant invention. Not only is the fridge solar powered, it can also be built from household materials - making it ideal for Third World countries or Maine. Emily Cummins, who is only 21, came up with the idea while working on a school project in her grandfather's potting shed and the fridge is already improving the lives of thousands of poverty-stricken Africans. After her first year at college, she spent five months in Africa, perfecting and demonstrating her product. In Namibia she became known as 'The Fridge Lady'. Miss Cummins returned to the UK to enter a business management course at Leeds University. She had been refused a place on an engineering course because, to her dismay, she didn't have the correct qualifications. And I laugh out loud every time I read that. Hereís a girl who comes up with a fantastic invention and she lacks the correct qualifications to take an engineering course. Makes you wonder if Mozart could get into music school today. Last year Emily Cummins met the Queen at Buckingham Palace after being invited to a prestigious women in business event. Emily Cummins invented a solar fridge and lacked the qualifications to take an engineering course. Check her out on Google.

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13. Oh, one thing I wondered about for years was -- who would do the dirty manual labor if every person in America earned two MA degrees or a PhD? I just realized that I live with the answer. Marsha has a 4.0 on her MA degree. She loves to scrape paint, scrub floors and wash windows. After spending two days with two radio friends who were B&B guests at our home, I told the Misses that I was surprised that her husband, a brilliant, well-read man, was a rural mailman. She said he had a PhD and gave up teaching at a university to deliver mail. And then there was the brilliant young man on one of the islands who was sent to Harvard by a wealthy neighbor. He came back to the island where my brother saw him happily cutting bushes by the small airport runway. It is only this very minute as I write this, that I realize that after four years of graduate school I, too, came home and mowed fields and bushes on a big tractor for my neighbors. So I suppose it is what you think about when you vote or are working that determines the quality of your life. Although my body was on my tractor, my mind was writing personal ads to be published in the Maine Times. "Ornithologist seeks attractive young woman, willing to sacrifice everything for a few cheep thrills."

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14. I like the looks of the girl in the ad before she lost 25 pounds of fat in one month.

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Robert Karl Skoglund
785 River Road
St. George, ME 04860
(207) 226-7442
humble@humblefarmer.com
www.TheHumbleFarmer.com

© 2009 Robert Karl Skoglund