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 January 29, 2012




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Rants January 29, 2012

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1. Have you ever lost your keys in the sand at the beach, had your credit cards stolen from your gym locker, or left your wallet at the tennis court? If these unfortunate situations sound familiar, then perhaps you ought to give up sports.

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2. If youíve seen me on television, you might get the impression that Iím quite a natty dresser. I spare no expense to look good for you, my viewers. But my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, is from Connecticut, where they have a different standard. And one day she asked me why I always wore such ratty clothes. I said, ďClothes donít amount to nothing. Itís the body inside that counts.Ē And she said, ďOh, donít make it any worse than it already is.Ē

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3. I probably have books by Frederick Forsyth in my library but I've never read one. Until today I had no idea of what he wrote about. We read that his moral vision is a harsh one: the world is made up of predators and prey, and only the strong survive. His novels typically show the behind the scene ways in which spies, gangsters, assassins, mercenaries, diplomats, business leaders and politicians go about their business. Listen to what the characters in his books do. In one of Frederick Forsythís books a corporation executive hires a group of mercenaries to overthrow the government of a small country so that he can install a puppet regime that will allow him cheap access to their natural resources. My word. Is this man writing fiction or is he commenting on American history?

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4. I will never have time to read a book by Frederick Forsyth. For the rest of this year my bed and bathroom reading will continue to be the mastering of Agatha Christieís L'assassinio di Roger Ackroyd. Like I've done with other languages, I'm working on this book one page at a time which I read over and over with an English copy in my left hand and the Italian in my right. I like to compare myself with Boxer the horse. You will recall that Boxer tried very hard to learn the alphabet but couldn't get past D. Those of us who are Boxers do our best we can.

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6. We read that young drivers have collision claim frequencies approximately double those of drivers ages 35-55. Teenagers have particularly high crash rates during their first months of licensure. This was true in my case. When I was 15 I was driving my 1932 Ford coupe convertible too fast while coming up behind a car that I thought contained a friend. Probably Roy Swanson. Because my Ford had mechanical brakes I couldnít slow down when I caught up and because there was a car coming in the other direction I went into the ditch and passed Ed Tyler on the right. It was a learning experience because in the ensuing 61 years I have driven as if I have no brakes. When I was 16 I was driving my 1926 Ford touring car home from school when the rotten wooden spokes in the right front wheel shattered from an uncushioned pounding, the car pulled to the right into the ditch and the whole car flipped over, dumping me out like water out of a teacup. It was a learning experience because in the ensuing 60 years I have never driven a car unless it had tires on both front wheels. I didnít have to report the accident to the state police because there was a $50 damage exemption on accidents and I only paid $30 or so for the car. That same night in December of 1952 I played saxophone for a dance at Rockland high school. Luckily, no recordings of the session have survived.

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7. Hereís a story from my friend Ron who says, ďDad tells the story of my Uncle, Clarence Hooper who grew up down on the St. George peninsula and knew Andy Wyeth when they were young. The Farnsworth was having a big to do for Wyeth one time when Hoop was working as a fireman over at the old firehouse on Spring Street across from the museum. Hoop and the other guys were sitting outside watching the festivities and spotted his friend Wyeth and called out to him, "hey Andy! I got a bone to pick with you." Wyeth called back.."what's that Coke?" (my uncleís nickname was Coke.)..Hoop called back "you owe me some money"..."how's that?" Hoop (who was also a house painter) says "I painted Her Room long before you ever did..you owe me part of what you made" Wyeth laughed and said.."don't think thats how it works Coke"

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8. My wife Marsha has a friend who starred in a movie with Elvis. So her friend gets paid to attend Elvis club meetings so common people like me can sign up to rub elbows with someone who starred in a movie with Elvis. People like to be seen with movie stars and have their pictures taken with movie stars. If you starred in a movie with Elvis or flew his airplane or lived in the same tent with him while you were in the army, you can probably make a living just getting paid to show up at Elvis club meetings and talking about Elvis. This year it is an Elvis cruise to Nassau and my wifeís friend invited her to go along, all expenses paid. So while my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, was gone it was like being 40 and 50 years old again. All alone, foraging for food. Eating rolled oats and cereal several times a day out of the same dish and pan. When I was single I ate spaghetti every day, but I wouldnít know where to find the old blue double-boiler colander kettle thing I cooked it in. There might be old men in this world who know how to fry an egg or roast a chicken, but Iím not one of them and Iím not going to learn now. Cooking is too much work. This reminds me that when nobody lives in a house, it doesn't get dirty. When I was an old bachelor, once a year I'd hire a girl to come in and clean. There was really nothing dirty, unless you count dust that settled from having a fire in the kitchen wood stove. So the hired girl would vacuum up the dust. Sometimes she'd get so involved with the attendant intricacies of the job that she'd stay for a month or two. Marsha has stayed on to scrub and clean and cook for 22 or so years and if she doesnít run off with an Elvis impersonator, sheíll probably hang in here for a few more years. Marsha is what a lobsterman would call, ďa counter.Ē

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9. Call me a traitor or what you will, but for the last 12 years my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, and I have fled Maine winters and have worked in Florida. And right now Iíd like to tell you a little bit about working in Florida for the winter or, if youíre lucky enough to have a military or post office pension, retiring in Florida. In Fort Myers there is a park on an island called Orange Harbor where we have lived and worked for those 12 winters. One of Marshaís elderly friends just sold her place for --- I think it was $2500. I heard that the salespeople for the park took $600 of that $2500 for commission. You should understand that people own their single wide or double wide trailers here but they donít own the land the unit rests on and have to pay rent to the park owner. Like any good businessman, the park owner charges what the market will bear, so perhaps 350 people pay him $7,000 or more a year for the privilege of letting them roost on his land. He says that because of the economy, the cost of renting his land goes up every year. Do the math. Multiply $7,000 by 10, and remember that every year the rent goes up. And all of these people who own trailers on the land are locked in. Iím talking nice doublewide trailers. The price of their units goes down because fewer and fewer people want to pay $7,000 every year just to rent a 50 by 100 foot piece of land to roost on --- with the prospect that the rent will go up another grand the next year. Marsha and I couldnít afford to live in Orange Harbor today if someone gave us a place. Even people who probably have three times the Social Security I do are trying to cut their losses, sell for whatever they can, and get out of Orange Harbor. With 10 years of land rent in Orange Harbor you could buy a fairly decent place in Florida now, because it is no secret that 8 years of GWB put thousands of people out of work and created a lot of nice empty houses in Florida. The banks stole these houses so they can sell them cheap and still make a fine profit. Pretty hard to blame Obama on something that happened before 2009, but youíll notice thatís a major part of the game plan. The interesting news for people who live in Orange Harbor is that if nobody will give you $100 for your beautiful double-wide, you canít just walk away from it. You are chained to it and still have to pay the $7,000 or so rent every year. It is my understanding that if you canít sell your place, you have to pay someone to come with a truck and haul it off --- get it off the property. Think about this. Even if you had a nice comfortable post office pension or a military pension and could live like rich kids would you want to pay $1,000 for a nice place, probably furnished, where the rent was going to be $7,000 this year and certainly more next year? --- Knowing that if you couldnít give your place away in two years youíd have to continue paying rent on the property until you hired some people to come in with a big truck and haul it off? --- And then probably also have to pay to have them to chop it up or burn it? The times they are a changing.

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10. Last week I found myself singing a jingle: Pepsi Cola hits the spot, 12 full ounces thatís a lot, twice as much for a nickel, too, Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you. And after a minute or two I realized that anyone who can remember hearing that song is getting right up there.

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11. The computers owned by newspapers are very often programmed so that they will not print certain words. When a word turns up that you have told the computer that you donít want printed in your newspaper, the computer simply wonít print it for you. Which explains why we saw no obituary for Herman Lipschhits.

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

© 2012 Robert Karl Skoglund