Marsha and humble September 30, 2007




Thank you for visiting.
Below is a rough outline of the rants from The humble Farmer radio show week of November 29, 2009




Thank you for your support.

+

Rants November 29, 2009

+

1. Bored, overworked and underpaid? Thatís what the email said in the subject line. Finally theyíve come up with a hook for the email subject line that appeals to everybody.

+

2. 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 Graysonís 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 Harvard 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

+

3. If you are a movie buff you know that an actor might sit down at a table but the part that shows him getting up might be shot two months later. There are people who are paid to watch movies to make sure that the actor doesnít have on a blue shirt when he sits down and a red shirt when he gets up. If youíre like me you probably watch to see if little wisps of hair change on their heads from shot to shot. Youíve heard me tell about my favorite movie blooper which shows Clint riding his horse down a hill on a road consisting of two wagon tracks through the grass. When I was a kid there were a lot of back roads that were traversed by horse pulled wagons, and the grass in the middle of those roads was always stomped down by the horses that pulled the wagons. I saw another interesting thing last night while watching scraps of Forest Gump. By the way, you will remember seeing Forrest Gump run up the ramp to Marshall Point Light, which is 9 miles down the road from where I live in St. George, Maine, and for all practical movie purposes, as far as you can go on the east side of the continental United States. But remember where Forrest Gump suddenly stops running way out west and there is a crowd following him? If you look two or three miles off in the distance, you can see the movie supply trailers on either side of the road and the held up line of traffic the state police have stopped so they can shoot the scene.

+

4. You can see most anything on line. Do you believe ď13 tips for avoiding toxic groceriesĒ? 13 tips for avoiding toxic groceries. I saw it. Had you thought of this? The best way to avoid toxic groceries for at least four years is to watch a few documentaries on our meat packing and grain industries and only then decide which political party you should support in elections.

+

5. Iíd like to say a little something here about European travel. You have probably romped around in Europe more than I have, but, even so, I once lived there for over six months and since then have done my share of rambling around so I feel qualified to at least offer up some observations. Number one. Wear anything you donít want stolen under your innermost shirt next to your skin. Iíve been to Italy several times and never had a problem, but the last time I was there some people, who were probably French tourists, took my wallet. By the way, this rant was brought to mind by the 1986 Thomas Cook European train table I just happened to see in my library, so this is observation number two. Why, you might well ask, would anyone keep a 1986 Thomas Cook European train time table? Wouldnít anyone who is going to ride around European trains for a couple of weeks on a eurail pass want a shiny, new updated timetable? And if you do ask that question it is obvious that you have never traveled on European trains because --- nowadays, even in Germany, trains are often so late that you miss your next connection. You might end up in a city 200 miles away from the hotel where you have already paid for a room reservation. A Thomas Cook European Train Time Table is no more than an outline of good intentions. So even a new timetable is just about as useful to you as one that was printed 20 years ago.

+

6. A young man sent me an email and asked me to give him some help. I tried because his was the finest kind of cause. But I ran into some computer trouble. His web site was down. When I tried to call this nice young man, oh letís call him Peter --- When I tried to call Peter, I couldnít because his phone number was not on his email. I Googled and finally found him on the web site of an association in Bangor. I called them and they were able to find Peterís telephone number and give it to me. But what a lot of time and bother it cost me, just because Peter wasnít considerate enough to have his computer append his contact information to every email he sends out. As you well know, this propensity of friends to write to me and ask for something and then not tell me how to get back to them has been one of my pet peeves since long before we had computers. Iíve spent many hours over the past 30 years trying to find you so I could send you a little present. And when I die, if because of my whining and sniveling only one person has learned that it is a convenience to oneís friends to append contact information to every piece of correspondence, I will not have lived in vain.

+

7. If youíve been hanging in here with me, you heard me just whining and sniveling about the fact that too many people do not, for the convenience of their friends, include their contact information in every piece of correspondence. And I mentioned Peter as a recent case in point. But that wasnít what I started to say. You know how I very often start out headed in one direction and end up about as far from the topic as I can get. What I wanted to tell you about Peter, and do remember, that is not the name of the person we are talking about --- what I wanted to tell you about Peter is that when I finally contacted him by phone, in the course of our very pleasant conversation this exceptionally bright young man told me that he was a busy person. He said that he was up before dawn and that he didnít finish up until late at night. And if you are old enough to be Peterís father or grandfather or great-grandfather, you are probably laughing by now --- because donít young people think that they are unique in being busy? What do you say to young people who tell you that they canít find time in the day to do a fraction of the things that they have to do? --- And no time to do any of the things that they want to do? --- Join the club?

+

8. You probably heard about that study that showed the more a child was spanked, the lower his or her IQ compared with others. And of course being a person whose favorite course in 9 years of college was psycholinguistics, or behavior modification, I laughed. Admittedly, I could never afford to have even one child, so Iíve never had firsthand experience, but, like you, I have opinions. And I have employed behavior modification to great advantage on classrooms full of students. The first thing that came to my mind and certainly your mind was that the lower the parentsí IQ, the more likely they would be to spank. And sure enough, in the next paragraph we read that ďOne might ask, however, whether children who are spanked tend to come from backgrounds in which education opportunities are less or inherited intelligence lower.Ē

+

9. Are grandparents less likely to be upset with children than parents? I can remember fleeing to my grandmother when I had been evil and the other authorities were advancing upon me. Does a parent spank a child to correct the child or to alleviate pressures that could just as well be addressed by throwing a glass against the wall like they do in movies or kicking a dog like they used to do in cartoons? Booth Tarkington deserved his Pulitzer Prize. He knew a lot about people. If you havenít read Penrod for 20 or even 60 years, you would really enjoy reading Penrod again. The older you are the more you will get out of it. You might remember that Penrod broke a window with a slingshot given to him by his 90-year-old great aunt. And when his father asked him where he got the devilish thing he said, Aunt Sarah Crim gave it to me this morning and told me to give it back to you. She said she took it away from you thirty-five years ago when you killed her hen.

+

10. You might also identify closely with James Bond and Clint Eastwood so please listen closely. I can forgive Clint when he blows away bad Bill for displaying his dead friend in a box outside the saloon, but I have a problem with Clint escaping from Alcatraz. We see on the wardenís desk Clintís rap sheet and read ďSuperior IQĒ on it. They had to write superior IQ because many of our friends watching the movie wouldnít know the difference between an IQ of 126, which is marginally functional and 165 which enables one to read elementary physics textbooks. The object of the movie is, I think, to show how a man with a high IQ escapes from a maximum security prison that makes the Ch‚teau d'If look like a play pen. But donít you have to ask yourself how a man smart enough to escape from Alcatraz could be stupid enough to end up there in the first place?

+

11. You should not be surprised to hear that I bought a 900 page book on Psychiatric Nursing. You know that although even elementary math is far beyond me, I am interested in the history of the human condition and this book --- psychiatric nursing --- will provide food for thought --- and commentary. There is a chapter on mental health counseling with the aged to which I intend to give special attention. Kind of get the jump on them, as it were, and you can be sure that in the weeks to come Iíll pass along every nugget gleaned. By the way, I gave a quarter for this book on psychiatric nursing which is in mint condition, so heaven help the patients of the would-be nurse from whom I bought it.

+

12. You know that I like dry stories. But one of the unfortunate things about dry stories created by a convoluted mind is that it is possible that no one will ever understand the stories in the manner in which they were intended to be understood. One cold winter night, while standing before 390 friends on the stage of the Pickard Theater at Bowdoin College, I was asked why I call my wife Marsha The Almost Perfect Woman. I said something to the effect that I was 70 and Marsha was 56 and that if I were 19 she would be perfect. The next day I got a hate email from a Bowdoin grad in Harpswell who said that he had done the math and that made her five years old, and me a pedophile. Of course this blew me away because I had never considered the possibility that my comment could have more than one interpretation. But, as I recall, in follow up mail from radio friends, I was presented with five dissimilar but logical interpretations for that one comment. If you have time, Iíd like your comments on another dry story that I thought was clever. Because nobody seemed to get it in its original form, Iíve changed it slightly to make it easier. Perhaps I can try it on another audience if you like it. Iím humble at humble farmer dot com. Ready? While speaking at an international conference out west I met a Korean doctor who told me that he had many pets at home --- cats and dogs. I gave him a supercilious look and said that in Maine I only raised pets that I could eat. And he said, ďMy, you are provincial.Ē

+

13. Alden Bent up in Dover-Foxcroft plays cribbage with his neighbor and Alden beats him soundly. His neighbor said, ďAlden, I canít understand why you always beat me. I know Iím a better cribbage player than you are.

+


Return to top.


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

© 2009 Robert Karl Skoglund