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 October 30, 2011




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Rants October 30, 2011

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1. How do you know when you are getting old? Sneak out to the kitchen after you have washed and dried and put away the dishes. If your daughter is taking them out of the cupboard and washing and drying them over again and you donít know why, you are getting old.

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2. Buying just the right gift for a friend is an art. Can you do it? Do you know what to get for your friend that he or she would use and appreciate daily? Most everyone appreciates money because then they can get what only they know they need and want. But outside of cash, knowing what to get for your friend is an art. I canít do it. Getting a present for my brother might be an exception, because I can give him a tool that I need and then, for the rest of my life, go next door and borrow it from him. Killing two birds with one stone, as it were. This was brought to mind this morning when I slipped a pair of green garters over my shirt sleeves. A few weeks ago I mentioned on this program that most of my shirts are hand-me-downs and that the arms on them are 4 inches too long. When I was speaking at the Common Ground Fair, my shirt sleeves were so long that when I reviewed a vido of my talk, I could see that I spent most of my time pulling up my shirtsleeves, and I later mentioned it on one of my shows. Well, a couple of days later a package postmarked Rockland, Maine arrived and in it were two green garters. Now, they might have sent these garters as a joke. I donít know who sent them. But they are, as John Gould would have said, just the thing and Iíve worn them every day since they arrived. That is not to say that Iíve worn them every minute since they arrived because every hour or so I have to take them off so the blood can circulate in my hands.

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3. Here's something I didn't know. I just read Chrome Yellow. The first time I read Chrome Yellow was March 29, 1962 when I was a struggling undergraduate. Now that I think of it, the reason I didn't get good grades was probably because instead of studying, I read everything I could find by Aldous Huxley and Bertrand Russell. There are some funny lines in Chrome Yellow. What I didn't know was that Aldous Huxley's grandfather was Matthew Arnold who died suddenly in 1888 of heart failure, when running to meet a tram that would have taken him to the Liverpool Landing Stage to see his daughter. If I ever write a book I'll use that scene of the writer dying while running to catch a train or tram. I think it would be memorable if I could get them to use the right kind of background music. As the writer dropped to the platform clutching at his heart, in the background on the wall of the train station would be a poster of a smiling athlete that says, "I Smoke Luckies."

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4. Every year or so you see the lawn signs out there again: YES on 1 or NO on 1. These signs always remind me that the first thing a fascist government does is eliminate the intelligentsia within its borders. And, have you noticed that lawn signs are a pretty good index of which of your neighbors attended a liberal arts college and which ones are either bagging groceries or enjoying a well-earned military pension.

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5. How sad it is. A female teacher was recently sentenced on 16 counts of sexual battery and three counts of providing alcohol to a minor. For countless centuries Mother Nature has encouraged people to mate in their early to mid-teens so I had a small amount of empathy for her and the boys --- before I read of the alcohol. Is it possible that most of the innocent people now incarcerated would be walking the streets were it not for drugs or alcohol? When I was in high school (and I was 13 when I started) three of my English teachers were 21 or so and I thought they were very old. I remember that one had an ancient boyfriend who appeared at at least one social function. There was also talk that one of those three teachers had gone parking with one of the older boys in my class who was probably 17 or 18 at the time, but no one went to jail. Think of the thousands of teachers --- and even good neighbors, male and female, who are shaking in their shoes after seeing this morningís news. Wouldnít any adult have to believe that this unspoken and unpremeditated teacher-student activity is not all that uncommon? --- Your mother or your dog has died, you are in tears, and here is a shoulder and trusted arms that only intended to comfort you --- initially. We recently read that our prison system presently employs more people than our auto industry. If every man and woman in the US who committed that unmentionable crime with a minor were now in prison, it would probably eliminate unemployment in America.

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6. I read a letter in a newspaper that said, ďAnd let's do what some whackos want done...let's raise the gas tax more and make it even more expensive.Ē It is your gas tax money that maintains your roads. So --- do letters like that make you wonder if the likes of Grover Norquist or the Koch brothers would have a paid staff that writes thousands of letters to the editors of hundreds of newspapers to guide the thinking of the uneducated? Does it sound plausible when you read something and realize that no one except a billionaire who doesnít have to drive on Maine roads could really think that way? The price of gas can go up 20 cents a gallon in a week and we might only hear a whimper from the masses. But should a state legislator attempt to raise the gas tax by once cent so we could repair our roads, there would be howls of outrage and talk of impeachment.

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7. The line between government and corporate America is now for all practical purposes non-existent. A radio program manager once said to me that perception is reality. I must agree that most of the people who write letters to the editor of the Maine paper I read every day canít tell the difference between our government and the corporations that control our government. Many people now see the United States government no more than one more arm of corporate America. So when you hear people complaining about the government, you might remember that the government is doing exactly what big business is paying it to do.

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8. If you're on the Internet, you know about junk email. Someone is always mailing you a scheme that will make you rich in two weeks. Another common piece of junk mail asks if you are interested in someoneís background. They claim to be able to find your old friends, lost loved ones, dead beat parents, or your debtor's assets. They claim to be able to find safe deposit boxes, social security death records, non-published numbers and driver's license records. They will search vehicle records and pre-trial comprehensive reports. They will verify education, employment and professional licenses. One of the most curious things about this service, is that although they claim to be able to find out anything you want to know about anyone else, they also claim to be able to change your records so that people can only find out good things about you.

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9 One bright morning, while reading a tattered college textbook anthology of great American literature, I realized that much of that great American literature could not be printed today. Much of the American literature that was considered great in the 1950's is no longer politically correct, and generates cries of protest from young throats on every college campus in America. Isn't it amazing that we permit children's voices to guide the direction of our thinking? Remember the Harrison Ford movie --- where he hands Hitler a book and Hitler autographs it? Hundreds of people in that scene are throwing the books that the Nazis banned into a fire. In Russia if you wrote things that were not politically correct, they said you were crazy and sent you to Siberia. Media people in fascist countries who do not parrot the official party line are quickly silenced. They are banned from talking on the radio and writing for newspapers. But we live in a country where that can't happen. In America a few young professors or students on college campuses simply decide which books have bad words in them, and no one dares to print them anymore. You can see that it goes hand in hand with this save-the-trees by not printing paper movement that is currently so fashionable. Did you realize that many of the best writers to live in our great country over the past 200 years used words, or expressed sentiments, which keep them from being published today? If you think I am exaggerating, read your 1955 college anthology of greatest American writers cover to cover, tear out all the pages that would not be published today and see what you've got left. I can remember having to edit my radio program because I had inadvertently included Bing Crosby singing a song that would raise howls of protest should it be played today. True, there was nothing wrong with the song back in the 1920s when Bing Crosby recorded it. And many educated adults would see nothing wrong with the song today, but a few very vocal young people would call the station to complain if I played it. Banning songs and books is nothing new. It's been going on since a bored woman first painted on a cave wall. Her man, of course, was out looking for meat and skins. So the question is always there. How do you make sure that the very popular things you are writing today will be available to your public in 100 years? It's very simple. You simply figure out which words and sentiments will be unpopular 100 years from now and avoid them.

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10. Do you have a set of friends and relatives from away who stop in each summer for their annual visit? One week in late summer we had guests from Hollywood, so it was natural that we found ourselves talking about movies. I like happy ending movies, but our guest George said he likes those Ingmar Bergman movies where everyone is starving or suffering. George said, "When you come out of the theater, California looks good."

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11. You have heard of compartmentalized thinking and that is my topic now. When I got out of college I bought a completely furnished house with a garage on an acre of land for $5,000. That was one yearís salary. A year or two later I bought another house with an attached barn on an acre of land for $3500. Back in those days a Maine schoolteacher could buy a house with one yearís salary. Today a Maine schoolteacher would have to work around five years to buy those very same houses, which are now 40 years older and should have depreciated. I canít tell you how it happened, but the salaries of working people in the United States have been seriously eroded. You might have heard old people wonder aloud how a young couple could even think about buying a house nowadays. But then --- you turn on your television and see that there is a crisis in America: the value of houses has dropped umpty ump percent. In other words, if the value of houses continues to drop, they might get back down to where they relatively were 50 years ago and teachers right out of college might once again be able to buy a house with their first yearís salary. You tell me --- is this good, or is it bad?

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

© 2011 Robert Karl Skoglund