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 28, 2010




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Rants February 28, 2010

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1. Every week for over 30 years Iíve made a one-hour radio program just for you. Wouldnít you want to hope that I am better at making programs now than that 42-year-old kid who started in 1978? If youíve been hanging in here with me for any amount of time at all, you will remember hearing me make mistakes in almost every program. Iíd push the wrong control buttons and youíd hear me muttering about pushing the wrong button or messing up in one way or another. But then you noticed that as the years went by, all this changed. And now you no longer hear me whining and sniveling about making mistakes. This is because when you make a mistake when youíre old, you donít even notice it.

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2. If there are two people in our home who canít stand cold weather, I am both of them. One week when it was 15 degrees below normal I put on two sweaters and hunkered down in front of my computer screen and tried to get something done. But, even though we had the heat cranked up to 72 or more my legs got colder and colder until I finally knew I was going to have to put on my knee-length woolly slippers and my insulated pants. When I got in the other room I discovered I already had them on.

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3. Iím always distressed when I see a candidate for political office who promises to lower taxes. Lower whose taxes? Can you tell me when taxes on corporate profits have ever been lower? You have heard me say this over and over. Countries in northern Europe have higher taxes than we do. This enables the working people in northern Europe to have a much higher standard of living than those of us who live and work in the United States. If you donít believe it, go to Sweden, or almost anywhere over there, and live there for a year and see for yourself. Higher taxes means a higher standard of living for you and other people who work for a living. Oh, youíre right. Higher taxes means that a fraction of the top one percent of taxpayers who earn a million or 10 million or 500 million dollars a year will pay much more taxes. And because that tiny fraction of one percent of rich taxpayers includes our friends who own the newspapers and the radio stations and the television stations, and control the salaries of people who work for them, you arenít going to read or hear too much about the benefits of a highly taxed society.

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4. You might have heard about Robert King who spent 29 years or so in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison until someone finally decided he was innocent and let him go. Mr. King recently spoke as a guest of the Maine Civil Liberties Union in Maine, where some groups are working to change the present solitary confinement system at our Maine State Prison. This reminded me that years ago I used to go in the prison to see one of my buddies. He was doing three years for killing a man which always amazed me because you get more than that for copying a movie. Let me tell you about that. When my friend killed that man in the doorway of his house, the police came around to arrest him. Would you walk into a house to arrest a drunk with a gun who just killed someone who was still lying out there in the entry way? But one of the cops, weíll call him Bill, was also a friend of the shooter. So the chief said, ďBill, you know him. He wonít shoot you. You go in and ask him to come out.Ē So Bill stepped over the body and went into the kitchen. When Bill walked in, our friend, who was sitting at the kitchen table, looked up and said, ďHi Bill. Come on in and have a cup of coffee.Ē

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5. Sometimes the people who read your electric meter donít read your meter and the company bills you for an estimate instead. My electric bill was estimated to be 6 times more than it was for the same month last year, and three times more than it was for the previous month. I called the Public Utilities Commission and was told by a very helpful young man that the electric companyís overbilling for an estimated bill is common and is permitted. A friend recently told me that the electric company sent him an estimated bill of $250 or so when he only owed around $90. He told them if they wanted him to pay his electric bill they had jolly well better trot down and read his meter. He said they did. Think about this. If I donít pay six times what I think I owe on my electric bill, I expect to be charged a late fee. But for paying 6 times what I owe a month early I donít get a few pennies deducted from my bill. Donít you think that itís a bad bargain that doesnít work two ways? And wouldnít you like to know how much extra money your electric company banks in a year by grossly overbilling their customers a month early? What do you suppose would happen if you paid them your estimated amount on their estimated bill? Last fall a friend of mine at the electric company helped me plug my new solar collectors into what I think they call their grid. This man is on top of things and was aware that Iíd been grossly overbilled before I even called him about it the other day. He also had questions but no answers. So. What is wrong with this picture? --- Even with my new solar panels generating power, my estimated electric bill is six times what it was before they were installed. One canít help but wonder if any other customers have experienced similar overbilling. One also wonders if other customers simply rolled over and paid six times what they figure they owed. Iím Robert Skoglund in St. George Maine and I did.

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6. I must have been around 60 the first time I saw the Internet or got a computer. I knew I had to have a computer because they said it would print 5,000 addresses on envelopes. For most of my life we addressed envelopes by hand or printed names on sticky labels and pasted the labels on the envelopes. The first computer I had saved the names on tapes and it would go peep, peep, peep when it was printing the names on envelopes. It was a fantastic technological advancement. Seems as it would print 200 names before you had to put in another tape. I still have that tape deck thing and it is probably a museum piece now. How things have changed. Nowadays we not only exchange letters electronically with our friends, but also video files. I got one a video file today that showed a deer that had broken through the ice in a shallow pond. The way I understand it, a helicopter hovered over the deer and the downward prop thrust blew the deer onto the ice and across the ice. The last of the video shows the deer running off through the woods. Then you play the video again, because you know that as soon as the helicopter is gone, that deer is going to walk back out on that thin ice and fall into the pond again.

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7. I would not like to be a film or theater critic. I donít like to say bad things about people who are probably doing the best that they can --- even if the bad things are true. Many years ago I recall reading reviews written by an excellent critic named Simon, who had a very clever way of not saying much of anything good about anybody and I have a vague recollection of writing to him and getting a very nice reply. And that was back when messages were written on paper and dropped in a mailbox. You will not be surprised to hear that all of this came to mind when I happened to read some criticism while looking up something else. You know how that happens with all the links in on-line articles. You keep clicking and reading the asides until you forget what it was you were reading in the first place. Anyway --- listen to these reviews of a movie called The Greatest Story Ever Told. ďI thought it couldn't possibly be as boring as I was envisioning. I was wrong.Ē And --- ďImmediately after watching this film I went out and strangled a homeless man.Ē And --- ďÖit is only about 60% accurate to scripture. Do not waste your timeĒ And now my observation: The only way you can like any movie is to be unfamiliar with the book.

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8. You might have read that a Texas Christian University student willingly had himself branded and required surgery for burns. I donít think this kind of activity is a good thing, do you? How are the police going to be able to distinguish between Christian University students and street gang members?

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9. Tell me if someone you know comes to mind as I tell this truthful little tale. There are many innocent people in jail today because while they were drunk or on drugs they took the rap for someone else. Their crime was stupidity. You might have read that a man who was convicted of murder and spent 16 years in jail was recently exonerated and released. It goes without saying that any evidence that would have proved this manís innocence was not presented at the original trial. And, guess what --- he never would have been a suspect to begin with, had he not been smoking crack cocaine in the area where the crime was committed.

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10. While reading an online newspaper, I found a page of vacation experiences for thrill seekers. Number two is a motorcycle-taxi ride in Thailand. My wife had two friends who were snuffed out in a taxi in Paris and I have ridden in a taxi from Stuttgart to Singelfingen. I didnít think anything could top that for pure unadulterated fear. Way down at number seven for an exciting vacation is the famous running of the bulls, if you can imagine anything worse than that. But, if I wanted excitement Iíd walk down to the mailbox in April without wearing a scarf and mittens.

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11. And now, just in case you are interested, let us talk of romance. We read that many newly married couples choose to relax at a tropical resort by the water. --- Although those who were born and brought up in Key West might find the dog sled races at Fort Kent, Maine to be much more exciting. And what is the purpose of this honeymoon thing, anyway? Isnít the honeymoon somewhat of an anachronism in these troubled times when people live together and perhaps even have two children before it becomes financially expedient to form a legal bond? And isnít that what all this fuss over same sex marriage is about, anyway? --- Some people of the same sex are going to live together whether anybody likes it or not, but --- should they be permitted to enjoy the same tax and other financial benefits afforded only after a marriage ceremony? We were talking about romance, and here I digress by talking about marriage. One loving couple met when he was having a massage and the table broke. My cousin Rose Marie met her husband when he dropped his suitcase on her foot. One of my wives was walking along the street when I picked her up and carried her off in my Model T. Times have obviously changed. My friend Wilder Oaks says he fondly remembers when a romantic first date meant you took her down to the dump to shoot rats.

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12. You have heard me whine and rant about hoax emails and how easily one ascertains their validity. But then I got suckered. It is impossible to beat someone at a con game unless they want to believe that they can get something for nothing. And you cannot deceive someone with a hoax email unless they already want to believe the foolishness contained therein. You know how many emails you get every day that are filled with misinformation or just plain lies. But even so, I was taken in by a hoax email. Please listen closely. Someone sent me a series of pictures. The first showed a wrecker on a dock lifting a car out of the water. The second showed the wrecker tipping over and falling off the dock and onto the car. The third showed a bigger wrecker pulling out the car and the wrecker. And the series ended with the bigger wrecker falling off the dock and onto the car and the smaller wrecker. I sent the pictures to a friend who observed that the fishing boats in the background were probably Canadian. Seeing the European license plate on the wrecker, I Googled the company name on the wrecker and discovered that the pictures had been taken on Galway Bay. Some of the pictures had been doctored to provide a bit of dark humor at the expense of someoneís obvious incompetence. You might remember that 70 years ago Stalin did the same thing. Every time heíd shoot one of his friends, they would be carefully erased from old group photos. This might be where George Orwell got the idea for the memory hole in 1984.

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

© 2010 Robert Karl Skoglund