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 July 1, 2012




Thank you for stopping by.

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July 1, 2012

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1. Because my head has shut down twice, causing me to be whisked to the hospital by ambulance, perhaps because of tiny blood clots the names of which I cannot remember, I will continue to eat my 81 whatever baby aspirin before I go to bed. My father's brain shut down when he was 79 because of a stroke and I saw him live for 10 days, unable to talk or even articulate his sentiments --- other than refusing to eat. So I am going to follow the advice of three of my doctors and continue to eat my aspirin. I think that had I been eating my aspirin religiously since I was 70, I would have been spared those two earlier trips in the health wagon when my eyes started seeing two birds when there was only one there. Now that I've finally learned how to spell aspirin would I not be a fool to miss chances to write about it? And hopefully, if I continue to eat the assorted green veggies in the salad Marsha forces into me daily, I'll never need to learn how to spell proktology.

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2. There are politicians who are either living in a fantasy world, or else they are intentionally lying to their American constituents. We read that a United States Senator named Mitch McConnell said. "The question is how to go step by step to improve the American health care system. It is already the finest health care system in the world." Wave all the American flags you want, but you might want to look around a bit before believing that the United States has the finest health care system in the world. The senator might well be correct if you define "finest health care" as that health care which makes the most money for third parties.

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3. Once again I have been enriched by Facebook. I'd never heard of an e-reader until someone recently mentioned it on Facebook. I looked up a definition of e-reader but wasn't helped by words because I wanted to see what an e-reader looked like. I found a picture. They look like little electronic boxes. Am I admitting that I'm in the lowest socio-economic class by admitting that I don't have an e-reader? I don't see how e-readers would be easier than a book to handle in bed. --- Unless they have their own little reading lights like a computer screen. One plus would be if they turn themselves off when you fall asleep and don't turn a page every 5 minutes. But they would still bounce if they hit the floor. This e-reader has great possibilities, doesn't it? Is it connected to the Internet? If you wanted to read a certain book, you could poke a button and bring up the book and not have to stumble downstairs into the library in the middle of the night.

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4. When archaeologists excavated a 400 year old privy site in Newfoundland they discovered eggs from three well-known human intestinal parasites plus a rare species of liver fluke never before found in North America. Isn't it exciting to live in a time when scientific breakthroughs like this are so commonplace, that we calmly take them for granted?

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5. Letís talk about the power of trickle-up economics. You might have recently read a letter to the editor that said, "Anyone caught and convicted of selling drugs to anyone under the age of 21 should get 30 years in prison with NO parole, NO good time, NO early out of any sort. This is the only way to reduce the blight on this nation." Letters like this could easily have been written by a person who owns the laundry or food concessions in a prison. We read that America imprisons seven times as many people as it did in 1972, several times as many per capita as other Western nations, and, since Stalin died, many more people than any other nation in the world. Keeping people in jail Did you ever wonder if a lot of drug dealers might eagerly trade the risk of jail for a job that pays a living wage? If it costs $50,000 a year to keep someone in jail, not counting what it cost to build the prison, and minimum wage were $24 or so an hour, would it be cheaper for society to legislate a minimum wage of $24 an hour and thereby go a long way towards eliminating petty crime? If people on minimum wage were earning $900 or so a week, theyíd be spending money at your place of business like crazy. Thereíd be a tremendous trickle-up effect, unless you were the chief of police your business would be booming, and you and everyone else would prosper. The way it works now, if you own a shirt factory, you canít expect your employees to buy your shirts if you only pay them enough to buy food. When evaluated objectively, you can see that we have a unique and somewhat primitive economic system. When one considers the big money to be made by keeping people in jail for as long as possible, itís a wonder that necessities like whiskey and cigarettes are still legal.

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6. I just read that it costs $51,300 or so to attend Bates College for a year. That's more than I get in Social Security to live on for 8 years. Fifty years ago it was possible to go to a state college for teachers for $100 or so a year. So back then a person from the lower class had a little start towards moving up into the middle class. By living off campus and working weekends to earn money enough for food and his room, he or she could at least attempt to get a liberal arts education. If Maine high school graduates were to travel in Northern Europe today and mingle with their peers for a summer, they might be surprised to learn that there are countries in progressive parts of the world where young people are encouraged to become all they are capable of being and that there are strong financial incentives to do so. Like our elderly friends who go to India for an operation that would bankrupt them here, young people might opt for an affordable education in Northern Europe. It is an unfortunate fact for those who wax wealthy by employing cheap labor, that a person with a liberal arts education (that is, someone who has taken courses in history, sociology, linguistics, and all those other courses that do not enable one to readily earn a living) is more likely to be a Democrat than a Republican. So to ensure the outcome of elections it has become necessary to make education prohibitively expensive. And the poor kids, who elect to go into debt to grind through the system, find themselves indebted to the banks for many years. So it is a win-win for the rich. They either get cheap labor and votes from the uneducated or they own the financial souls of the educated poor who will vote against them. South Carolina passed the first laws prohibiting slave education in 1740. While there were no limitations on reading, it became illegal to teach slaves to write. It's nice to know that it is no longer necessary to enact such onerous legislation to suppress the teeming masses. The same results have now been realized by simply jacking up the cost of a basic college education.

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7. Iíve got to tell you about a new feature you will hopefully hear on this program just as soon as you can help me get it started. You remember how Charles Kuralt used to report on what he had seen riding around America? I think that's a great idea and hope to be visiting your neighborhood, looking for Maine's most pathetic lawn sale. You might have some suggestions as to where I should look. If you remember seeing any recent front lawn offerings, you know that locating Maine's most pathetic lawn sale is going to be difficult. Dirty old bottles. Wet cardboard boxes filled with old computer wires. Piles of moldy baby clothes. Competition promises to be fierce among the old bottle and broken dishes crowd. If you have a candidate for Maineís most pathetic lawn sale please email me at the humble farmer at gmail dot com

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8. I have difficulty recognizing the faces of people I seldom see. If you come to my house for supper and you show up in my dooryard the next day, I might not realize that you had been at my house the day before. So when I meet people for the first time Iím very likely to tell them that I probably wonít recognize them the next time I see them. I donít want them to think Iím a snob if I donít speak to them on the street the next day. Some say, ďWell, you meet so many people I wouldnít expect you to remember me.Ē And others think Iím joking. But I recently learned that two percent of the people in the world have the same problem recognizing faces as I do. I canít even pronounce the name of this affliction. It is prosopagnosia. I read that people who canít recognize faces donít realize it until they are well along in life. This is because for years and years we took it for granted that nobody else could recognize people, either. We didnít know that we were different. Of course, there are an infinite number of degrees with this ailment. Some men wake up every morning with a woman that theyíve never seen before and we have heard that some older women are grateful. And on the other end of the spectrum there are people like myself who can learn to recognize new faces if they see them enough times over a period of weeks or months. There is a professor at Harvard who has studied unfortunate people like me who cannot recognize people and he has published his results if youíd like to read about it. Because one in 50 people canít recognize faces, there is a good chance you know someone who has prosopagnosia. Does this ring a bell with you? Iím the humble farmer at gmail dot com and Iíd love to hear from you.

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9. Ever hear of the ICLEI? We read that the ICLEI is an international association of local governments and national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. Doesn't sustainable development sound rather frightening? Ominous? Couldnít sustainable development be another way of saying more profit-killing government regulations? Another word for sustainable development might be zoning. If zoning is carried to its extreme here in Knox County, in 100 years one still might be able to find in Knox County a field large enough to pasture a cow, or an acre of carefully managed forest. So don't talk to me about a sustainable environment. Can you imagine how corporate America would stagger if every rural house in the U. S. had solar panels on the roof that provided that household with free electricity from the sun? And more solar panels on the garage that provided that household with free hot water from the sun? When you start talking about electricity and hot water being doled out by the sun without someone making a profit, doesnít it sound like socialism to you? And doesnít just thinking about it make the chills run right up and down your spine? Doesn't the fact that the ICLEI is an international organization --- as is the United Nations --- raise a red flag? --- With a hammer and sickle on it? I don't know about you, but it gives me the creeps to think that (clouded in secrecy) there might be an international organization out there committed to sustainable development that is trying to keep honest American businessmen from making a fast buck.

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10. Winky and his wife were getting ready for bed. She was standing in front of a full length mirror looking at herself. "You know ," she says, "I look in the mirror and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, Iím too skinny. Iím nothing but skin and bones. Iím a homely old woman. Quick, tell me something good to make me feel better about myself" Winky says, ďwell......there's nothing wrong with your eyesight".

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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