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 December 13, 2009




Thank you for your support.

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1. You have seen movies where the hero dies just as he was about to forgive someone. What a terrible thing that must be, you say, and you ask yourself how he could be so stupid or so stubborn as to wait until it was too late? Even worse are the lies that we tell ourselves. Isnít it just as important to own up to those old lies, too, before that final day of reckoning? Yes. I admit it. When a man gets old and sees his good old friends dropping by the wayside, he thinks about these old lies he has lived with every day for 70 years. He knows that it is time to get his own house in order and, if we might shift into a more somber mode, that is what I am going to do now. If you have been to my house for supper, you saw me slather my food with catsup. For my entire life I have given you and everyone else the impression that I love catsup. Right now, before it is too late, I want to admit that I hate the taste of catsup. I put catsup on my food because Iíve always liked the noise it makes coming out of the bottle.

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2. If you are a famous married man who keeps 10 or 20 girlfriends on the side to take up the slack, there is one thing that you know for sure. Sooner or later everyone in the world is going to hear about all those girlfriends on that electronic tabloid thing they call the evening news --- just because you are famous. Think of all the married men in the world who are grateful that they are not famous.

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3. (PRX 091210) What constitutes wisdom? Any wisdom worth its salt is probably something you came by the hard way a long time ago. There are people who scrape together and repackage scraps of tired old worn out wisdom, but when itís encapsulated they call it an aphorism, because an aphorism brings a higher price on the market. Please listen carefully because Iím only giving you one example of this aphorism thing: If you know what day of the week it is, you probably have a job.

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4. I heard that cell phones are banned in classes during exams. A cell phone is now like having a computer at your fingertips. I also heard that kids who start high school have to get a cell phone just so they wonít feel left out. Do you think that is true?

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5. Here in the strange and mysterious department is an email from Harvey who said that when he went to Florida he noticed that many of the cars ahead of him seemed to be driven by headless people.

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6. I just discovered that the price of a postage stamp went up seven months ago, and you might remember that I mentioned it to you last week. How far removed can one be from mainstream America? Today even more earth shaking news. Two weeks ago the overdraft protection on my checking account kicked in $100. I knew about it the day it happened because I watch my checking account on line. When social security deposited my monthly $485, I called the bank and asked the teller if she would pay off that 100 for me. She said that that my $100 overdraft had cost me 53 cents in interest and she pushed some buttons and that was that. But then I boasted that I was now able to save a postage stamp when I paid my electric bill because I could do it electronically on line. I asked her when it would be possible to make my monthly house mortgage payment the same way. And she said that I could do it today. Sure enough, there it was --- right there on the bankís web page that Iíd been looking at almost every day since they put it up a few years ago. --- How many months or years do you suppose you and I have been paying for postage stamps and writing checks when we could have simply made our mortgage payment right there on our bankís on line web site? So, if you didnít know you could make your monthly mortgage payment electronically on line until just now, you may consider this to be a public service announcement. If this is not news to you, why didnít you tell me about it a long time ago?

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7. Todayís reading assignment is Mark Twain's short story: Disgraceful Persecution Of A Boy. When I was around 12 years old I read this story in a book my grandmother had and Iíve profited every time Iíve read it since. Google the three words, ďMark Twain ChinamanĒ and this story will come up. It was brought to mind by a redneck email I chanced to get this morning which suggested that we hang all the illegal Mexican immigrants that the meat packing and fruit picking industries bus into this country. Of course, every time you or I buy meat or fruit or anything else, we benefit by this cheap illegal immigrant labor. Prices would be much higher without it. And --- hereís a study in irony: you can easily believe that the people who employ illegal immigrants are the very same clever folks who create and initially distribute this anti-illegal immigrant propaganda among the ignorant masses. Of course, once this type of xenophobic hate mail is in the hands of the uneducated, it takes on a life of its own. When you finish reading Mark Twainís story: Disgraceful Persecution of a Boy, you would be amply rewarded were to round out your studies by reading his story about Buck Fanshawís Funeral. Throughout recorded history only the names change --- the template of hate and discrimination remains the same. No Irish Need Apply.

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http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/1548/

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8. I just saw --- on Youtube --- a high powered motivational speaker ask his audience how many of them had enough money to never work again? Donít you think that is a curious question? Warren Buffett goes to work every day. If nothing else, it tells you what kind of people you have in your audience. You and I know people who donít work. You and I have seen members of a religious cult simply sit at home and say that God would provide and God does provide. Some kindly person gives them a place to stay. Neighbors who donít like to see children starve bring them groceries on a regular basis and the old man gets to spend whatever cash he gets on whiskey. Do they have enough money to never work again? Yes. But you and I have friends who are worth many millions of dollars who will work until they drop. No matter how much they have it will never be enough. Do you have enough money to never work again?

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9. Now that I stop to think about it, none of the little neighborhood kids come around to visit me. --- Even when Iím working outside. Things have changed because when I was a little kid we used to visit old people. If old people were cutting wood or building something or mowing a field or hauling up clams from the river in a wagon or lifting hay up into a barn with a horse, weíd be right in the middle of it. I canít say as I was always welcome but I was tolerated, probably because 60 years before, my grandfather had tolerated them. It was a common thing, when I was 8 or 10 years old, to knock on a neighborís door and go inside and sit and talk with old people for a half hour or so. And now when I think about it I realize --- that you can probably get a lot of neighborhood gossip out of a garrulous 10-year-old kid who has nothing to do. In the summer, some old people would sit in chairs out on their front lawns so they could keep an eye on the neighborhood, and if I were going by on my bicycle Iíd stop. I didnít know it at the time, but most of those old people were third or fourth or fifth cousins and most of us lived within sight of where we were born. And, of course, each old person was unique. The sea captains who had been everywhere didnít tell the same stories as their farmer cousins who had never been more than 50 miles from home. Ask Percy how he was and heíd always say, ďPretty sore.Ē Ask Frank and Phoebe how they were feeling and an hour later your head would be spinning with a catalog of ailments that would have staggered Hippocrates. It isnít until 60 years later that you realize that, for their ages, they were doing rather well.

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10. You might have seen Chase Whitesideís Youtube piece called Sarah Palin Book Signing. One of my friends saw this salient bit of social commentary as ď[e]vidence that our educational system has tanked.Ē But is there really anything wrong with our educational system? Isnít the problem the many people who have obviously chosen to avoid and ignore it?

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11. Every Saturday between November and April I go lawn sale ing. I donít go yard sale ing because I want to. I go yard sale ing just to help the economy --- to keep money circulating in the area. Some Saturdays Iíve been known to blow $3.25 without even thinking twice about it, although a dollar and a quarter for 5 books is the norm. Last week I bought a set of Radio Shack Racing Headphones for 50 cents. For 50 cents you can afford to throw most any piece of electronic equipment away if it doesnít work and thatís the way you have to think when you buy electronic equipment at a lawnsale. The basic premise for anything you buy with a wire on it at a lawnsale is that it isnít going to work. But after a few days I had to make my television program and I bought these earphones just because they had a tiny plug on the end that I could stick into my speakers. That way I can edit my television program without bothering an almost perfect woman in the same room, and without being distracted by conversation or television or anything else that might be going on within normal hearing aid earshot. Do you believe that when I plugged them in for an initial off ear test they worked, and that when I then took them out to the kitchen to be disinfected by a professional cleaning woman, I realized that they were brand new. Of course I Googled and was amazed to see that these earphones cost $49.95 plus shipping. But what I wanted to tell you about was a valuable review I read on the same page, because the stainless steel in the spring does make them a bit too snug. It said, ďthey really do fit TOO snug at first and feel like theyíre gonna pop your head like a pimple.Ē If you were a high school English teacher, wouldnít you give a good grade to that kind of writing? Hereís the educational part. He continues: ďJust gradually 'force' spread em open, starting in the middle and working down toward the earcups. They tend to spring back at first but soon you'll find a comfortable fitting.Ē And I did.

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12. For less than a dollar I bought a book on Psychiatric Nursing so we are going to talk about mental health. The first chapter I read was the one on mental health counseling with the aged. I wanted to know how to handle myself when they come for me. There are a lot of big words in this chapter because they couldnít just simply say --- a healthy body is conducive to a healthy mind. But thatís all it amounts to --- avoid junk food, smoking and alcohol. Eat good meals on a regular basis, laugh a lot, early to bed and early to rise, walk a couple of miles every day and chug water. If your body is happy, your mind is very likely to be happy. You and I already know that whether people are judged mentally healthy in old age depends on their income and status. If youíre got money you can be crazier than a hootie owl and say and do things that would send a poor person to a padded cell. But here is something I didnít know and it scares the pants off me. It says in this book --- that the unusual and eccentric elderly --- those who adamantly refuse to bend to the whims of social, political, or cultural forces --- may be the most mentally healthy. Iím scared. As you well know, Iíve been a conformist all my life.

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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