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 May 30, 2010




Thank you for stopping by.

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Rants May 30, 2010

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1. You might have read that when a woman wears a leather dress, a man's heart beats quicker, his throat gets dry, he gets weak in the knees, and he begins to think irrationally? They say it is because she smells like a new truck.

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2. From time to time I come across a story that will make you laugh. Hereís one that came our way on the morning news. Are you ready? At a Senate hearing, the managers of a coal mine in West Virginia said that they did not put profits ahead of safety.

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3. For what itís worth, hereís something Iím throwing your way, just to give you something to think about. We read that in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and the UK, so-called "naked roads" have been trialled, whereby all visible road markings, kerbs, traffic lights, and signs are removed. When this was tested in a village in England, the county council reported that accidents fell by a third, with motorists' speed falling by an average of 5%. It has been suggested that unmarked roads force drivers to make eye contact with other road users, and that it is this nonverbal communication that is responsible for the reduction of accidents. Others have suggested that road markings, especially the center line, make the road look like a main road, which results in faster and more relaxed driving, while no marking makes the road look like a lower quality road --- which results in over 30 % fewer accidents. One thing that might have caught your attention was that with only a 5% reduction in speed, accidents fell by 33%. Try explaining that to your Type A wife when she asks you to drive just a little bit faster.

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4. People are known by the company they keep. Or by the people they employ. Several thousand years ago someone took stylus in hand and recorded a story that had been told at firesides thousands of years before that. A wolf disguised herself with the skin of a sheep, so she could get close enough to achieve her nefarious ends, and was shut up in the pen with the sheep. You know people claiming to represent you today who have profited by the wisdom contained in this good old story. Knowing it was the only way they could win an election, they changed their party affiliation, ran and won. You are one of the few people who watch voting records, so most of your neighbors never know that their candidate has been very subtly working against them for years. By employing the same wolf in sheepís clothing ruse, you can make a big difference in the next election. Volunteer to work for the person youíd like to see lose. You already think you see where Iím going with this, but no, Iím not going to suggest that you get disqualified by the court for padding accounts like the TABOR people did. You could pick up a criminal record for that. If you want to come out of this smelling clean, get assigned to coordinating the candidateís schedule. Youíll only have to insult a few key supporters on the phone before people realize that your candidate doesnít know squat about putting a team together. What? You know who Iím talking about? She called you, too?

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5. Years ago when I taught driver education I learned about seat belts. Now I'm even afraid to ride in a bus or train now because they usually donít have them. We read that each year 20 to 30 people die in commercial bus crashes in the US. You might remember when those people died in a bus crash in Nobleboro. Seatbelts. I can remember driving home a few years ago and seeing a blanket over something in the road and saying to myself, "Another kid who wasn't wearing a seat belt." Sure enough.... On the other hand, from a survival of the fittest perspective, although the world can easily do without the people who donít want to wear seatbelts, when they do crash and require emergency room treatment, your insurance rates and my insurance rates go up to pay for their injuries. In 1988 I produced a television commercial for The Maine Seatbelt Coalition, and even spoke at the National Seatbelt meeting in Washington, DC, as a survivor --- a person who was still alive because of a seat belt. When a Belfast fire engine coming home from a fire didn't stop at a stop sign and hit me broadside, we pinwheeled end for end 3 or so times. Although it made me late for the gig, I played for a dance that night in Camden. Stop in the next time you're going by and I'll show you a bent piece of chrome Saab seatbelt steel that held me in my seat while doing pinwheels. Seatbelts.

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6. Google, Google, Google. You hear me talking about Google. I like Google. But if you use Google maps, and type in 785 River Road, St. George, ME 04860, Google maps will direct you to Cushing on the western side of the St. George River. There are two River Roads, about a mile apart, on opposite sides of the St. George River, and they have messed up Googleís mind. Cushing is one mile away from here as the seagull flies, but 10 miles away as the car drives. Cushing is a nice place, but if you have just driven up from Scarsdale and Google sends you to a deserted road in Cushing at 10 PM on a foggy night when you are heading for a bed and breakfast in St. George, you are not going to be a happy camper. But, Patti who is in the tourism business and is always telling people how to find places in Maine, told me to try Bing. Thatís B I N G. I was happy to discover that when I typed my address into Bing, Bing puts a little red flag on the map right by my door. So, if you live in Maine and have a sauerkraut works or a boat building shop that youíd like to have people find, I suggest that you follow Pattiís suggestion and try Bing.

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7. You have flown to Europe and know that you lose a night. Upon landing you can do nothing until youíve had a few hours sleep. Fifteen or so years ago on my way to speak at a university in Holland, exhausted by jetlag, I fell asleep on a train in France. When the train stopped, I awoke suddenly and jumped off. It was not where I was supposed to make my connection, and I was trapped in a small town until the next day. At the time I could buy food in five or so languages, but French was not one of them. When I produced a sheaf of French money left over from my last trip, the man at the pom frites stand indicated by arm waving, facial expressions and nasals, that France had printed new currency and mine was worthless. Since then Iíve been studying French. At 74 years of age and fully aware that the part of the brain that defines my phonemic parameters crystallized over 60 years ago, I cannot hope to speak French like a native. I simply hope to speak French like a hungry Swede in search of nutrients. Before I return to La Belle France, I will be able to say, in French, ďI am hungry. I want food. I have up to date money with which to pay. I will eat anything except escargot and frites.Ē

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8. Do you see strange things and wonder about them? Do you know enough to keep your mouth shut when you do? Weíve talked about some curious dining customs, but letís chew it over some more. In some of the better households, guests have been seen standing quietly behind their chairs until the hostess is seated. My wife is so busy tending out on everyone at the table, she might not sit down until most of us have finished. If good manners is doing what makes your host and hostess comfortable, when you come to our house you will enter the dining room, sit down quickly and thereby get out of the way so we can get on with the matter at hand. There are among us a few people who really enjoy doing things to annoy their friends. One of the one or two things in this whole world you might do to make me ugly is to come to my house for supper and then show me that you have good manners by standing behind your chair.

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9. While we are talking about the strange and curious things people do when invited to a friendís house for dinner, we should mention clearing the table at the end of the meal. If you have ever made a study of this as I have, you will notice that men and women alike are likely to leap to their feet and bring their empty plates, along with everything else into the pantry. Of course there is no room for all these things or this struggling mass of humanity in the pantry. There is only room for one person in the pantry. You might compare their arrival with the effect of a diverted river on the Agean Stables. A home is not a restaurant where there are huge empty stainless steel racks where you can pile all this clutter beside the dish washer. There is only one counter, and that is already piled high with all the pots and pans that were used to prepare the meal. Canít you see, my friend, that if you want to help, youíll stay rooted to your chair or go outdoors to belch or do anything except contribute to the chaos that already exists around the person who is trying to restore order in the kitchen?

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10. Table manners are changing in this country. It is getting so that if you want someone to feel comfortable when they come to your house for supper, you serve them in paper plates on a plastic tray with plastic forks and a paper cup. Without even thinking, theyíll get up when theyíve finished, dump the paper and plastic into a big barrel, throw their tray on a pile next to the barrel, and leave. The only thing that will remain the same as the good old days is the absence of a tip.

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11. Galileo made a number of important astronomical discoveries which convinced him of the validity of Copernicus's heliocentric theory, which, as you know is that the earth moves around the sun rather than that the sun moves around the earth. In 1632 when Galileo published his Dialogue on Two Chief World Systems The Inquisition promptly summoned him to Rome, where he reluctantly recanted and was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. Are teachers now allowed to tell their students that the earth moves around the sun, or would teaching these controversial new scientific discoveries in your school stir up unnecessary and unwanted trouble? If you really wanted to teach kids that the earth moves around the sun, you might be able to keep your job if you suggest that itís only one of several unproven new theories. After all, three or 400 years really isnít too much time when it comes to getting something new to be accepted by the general public. And, by the way, make sure that you donít tell third grade students something that they arenít supposed to know until theyíre in the fifth grade. It raises the devil with learning results if smart kids do two years in one. One of my radio friends is on a school board in New Hampshire and while reviewing the curriculum he noticed that there was nothing in there about teaching evolution. The superintendent said that it was an intentional omission as he didnít want to stir up trouble. We are not talking Tennessee here but New Hampshire. I wouldnít push it, would you? Just sit back quietly and it will take care of itself in a couple of hundred years.

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12. If you are married you have probably noticed that the less your spouse has to say, the longer it takes them to say it. And I only notice this because my rants for this week are long. You and I really prefer the one liners. Dump the trash. Hereís something I copied from the Internet. Maine State education authorities are hearing lots from educators about the downside of rigid state accountability and assessment plans: excessive paperwork, long hours, and the loss of "joy" in teaching. In one Nebraska hearing, a teacher reported that continual testing has "brought tears" to the eyes of elementary students. And way up in the Northeast, Maine Education Association member Steve Knight told education department officials: "We are setting one standard to cover an enormous range of kids. All the creativity is gone; there are too many meetings and assessments." --- When my brother was teaching in Thomaston he attended teacher meetings after school. Even though teachers might have wanted to get the meeting over and go home, some of them jabbered and jabbered which, of course, prolonged the meeting. My brother never spoke at these meetings but brought in a sheet of paper with every teacherís name printed on it and every time someone spoke he made a checkmark by that teacherís name on the paper. He never said a word, but when the meeting was finally over he left the paper on the desk so anyone who was interested could see who it was who did all the talking. --- Oh, and getting back to these comments by Steve, the educator: ďThe creativity is gone. ÖWe are setting one standard to cover an enormous range of kids.Ē Yes, Virginia, there is a Bell Curve. Cry, gnash your teeth, throw money, make excuses, but in the real world some children are going to be left behind and will grow up to become commentators on AM radio.

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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