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 29, 2012




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Couple of unedited typos here. I start to rewrite them during the program and don't have time to finish them.

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Rants July 29, 2012

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1. A person who has done much to educate me over the past year or so sends me an email called 8 Habits of Organized People. Don't get me started. Organized people throw everything away. There would be no homey letters calling President Lincoln "a pumpkin head" to be read at Historical Society if everyone threw everything away. There would be no fun and exciting things to find in grandma's attic. I read through the list and realize that Organized People must often be Type-A micro-managers. They keep charts and graphs. If you have one of these Organized People for a boss, you receive daily memos and endless pages of guidelines to help you do the work youíve been doing since your boss was in diapers. So before you run around town touting the merits of Organized People you should live with one for 21 years. The reason there is no number 9 on this list is because it would be: Organized People Drive Everyone Crazy.

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2. Hereís another item I am filing under ďThings I Do Not Understand.Ē A Maine school superintendent said he would not hire employees who had retired. --- The so called ďdouble-dippers.Ē If you hire them back, you pay their salaries and you have a qualified person in the slot who doesnít need 5 years to learn the ins and outs of the business. If you donít hire them back, you probably have to hire someone to replace them, perhaps at a lower wage, but someone who might take a while to learn the trade and is not going to give you your money's worth for a while. This man said he didnít understand how any organization could double-pay employees. Fifty-sixty years ago seems as men would retire from the Coast Guard at the age of 37 or so and then work for the post office for 20 or so years and retire from that. In 1955 I heard a lot of talk aboard ship about double dipping. Back then nobody saw anything wrong with working most of your life and then double dipping for the next two or three years at which time you dropped dead. It was an honorable thing to do and you were admired. Because I could never hold down an 8 to 5 job --- because I couldnít even rake blueberries for a day when I was a kid, and actually quit around noon on my first day and walked 15 miles to get home --- I admire anyone who can work for 25 years and then want to come back and work some more. I admire prison guards who retire and then go to work for the town, probably earning just enough to pay the income tax on however many pensions they may have earned. I admire anyone who can get up every single morning and slog off to the same old job every single day year after year after year. I admire my young neighbor who warmed up his truck and roared off for some unknown destination at 0637 every morning. I admire the people who have enough money to survive but still work just because they can't function unless they are in harness. I admire anyone who wants to work for any reason. Seems as one of the smartest men I know (who graduated from Rockland high in 1953) told me that he collects four pensions because he has worked at this and that all his life. I admire him. So he gets four pensions. So what. He earned every single one of them.

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3. You know, of course, that I put solar radiant heat in my cellar floor. Iím moving my office into a warm little well-lit nest I in the cellar. And now I'm working on 4 flat plate hot water heaters facing east that I plan to have as a morning dedicated system for heating my cellar floor. Had a wonderful 20-year-old helper helping me the other day. We carried the first collector out and I discovered that there is room on the east side of my new room (which is over my radiant heated cellar) for two collectors over two. I'm even considering having the four collectors mounted on wheels so I could manually swing the unit around 60 degrees or so to grab the noontime winter sun. I plan to leave the 8 collectors on the south side also hooked up for afternoon backup should it be needed. I can shift it over with a couple of valves. Building your own solar hot water system is fun. Mine is saving me money. Guess who doesnít want you to have one of these toys that heats your domestic hot water and even the concrete slab in your cellar floor? Even I can build these simple things. You can do it, too.

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4. If I ever get around to it, we are going to discuss the eating habits of an old Maine man. When I was a boy one heard from doting mothers that fat girls with pimples could be very nice. Iím sure that girls heard from their mothers the same thing about fat boys with pimples. But irreguardless of the content, it is the packaging that sells to the uninitiated. My friend Dave in Washington, Maine will tell you that eating some of the nicest looking mushrooms in the world might kill you. And we all know some knock-down-dead good looking people who are bi-polar and because they will not eat their medicine anyone around them gets a taste of living hell. So a mature man/woman eventually learns, hopefully by the disastrous experiences of his or her friends, that mother was right and the decorative properties of most everything are too often superficial. When I sit down at any table I have great expectations of ingesting something palatable. My wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, never disappoints me. Each culinary delight she places before me --- be it B&M baked beans, spaghetti with meatless Ragu spaghetti sauce right out of the bottle or a chicken that was roasted at Hannafordís is always better than the very same thing that she gave me yesterday. My wife is one of those excellent cooks who cooks to please and does not need to stick an apple in the roasted pigís mouth to flaunt her culinary prowess. I am about to eat one of my favorite dishes which I have just warmed up in the micro. It is stuffing with broccoli and chicken and because I can never remember the name of it whenever my wife asks what I want for supper that night I often say, ďThat stuff that looks like regurgitated dog food.Ē

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5. The other night at a meeting of the St. George Historical Society, my brother Jim told about going to the little village in Sweden where my father was born. Jim got off a train and was told to wait at a bus stop because the third bus would stop for him. It did. He got on and found it was a school bus. Here there is no public transportation like in Europe. But we have empty school buses running up and down Maine roads all the time. This is an example of functional fixedness. Compartmentalized thinking. Why couldn't the school buses that run empty from Port Clyde to Thomaston every day also be used to give people a ride to work? Why couldnít the empty school busses that run around everywhere in Maine be used to give people a ride to and from work? We do not lack public transportation in this country. We have an abundance of public transportation. Itís just that nobody has ever realized that we should use it. Arenít you surprised that the oil companies donít promote using school busses that run empty from one point to another as public transportation?

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6. You might have heard on the morning news that two people were stabbed. One might well assume that they each had a knife and stabbed each other rather than that they took turns stabbing each other with the same knife. Irrespective of how many knives were used, is it not bad economic news when, after spending a large percentage of their income on booze and drugs, too many young Maine people have to stab each other because they donít have enough money left over to buy a gun?

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7. We read in a newspaper called the Working Waterfront that a man who visited Monhegan gave Monhegan a bad review. Although I can appreciate and evaluate a piece of writing or music, I canít seem to see anything beautiful in a sunset over waves that pound away on rocky shores. So Iím indifferent to the mountains and prairies and oceans white with foam that many people find beautiful. Because of my shortcomings I see nothing breathtakingly beautiful about Monhegan. But I do like everything about Monhegan because it is unique. I like the people. I like going out there. If youíve never been to Monhegan this bad review the man gave Monhegan probably means nothing to you but if you have spent any number of days and nights out there as I have, you might laugh when you hear this. The way I understand it, this visitor was annoyed because he was only allotted a short amount of electricity time to recharge his cell phone.

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8. I think I read this quote in a newspaper. "Now how many people on the planet you reckon could set the ass end of a Chopper down on the roof top of a shack, on a steep mountain cliff, and hold it there while soldiers load wounded men in the rear. If this does not impress you... Nothing ever will." Think about that. Wouldnít you be more impressed by a society that has advanced to the point to where there is no need to rescue any wounded soldiers? We are still a very primitive people.

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9. You know that I studied languages and linguistics at the University of Maine in Orono and at the University of Rochester in New York. I couldnít understand transformational grammar --- or any kind of grammar for that matter --- but Iíve always had an inordinate interest in the social mechanisms by which languages are changed. When I ask a Dutchman to explain a word I donít know in a Dutch book Iím reading he will often say, ďWe donít use that word any more. Thatís an archaic word.Ē If you are old, you can probably remember words that your grandparents used that you donít hear any more. And you are now exposed to unique grammatical, syntactic and lexical constructs, like, that you would never have heard, like, 40 or 50 years ago. If I --- like, if I could like ---- think of one, Iíd like tell you what it was.

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10. We are talking about language and how it changes. You might have a word for a group of people. Everybody uses the word. There is nothing wrong with it. But then that group of people suddenly donít like that word. They say it is derogatory. They want to be called by another word. So over a period of 10 or 20 years these people howl and complain until the public refers to them by another word. No sooner does that word settle in, when they want to be called something else. So people call them something else. Of course you know what happens then. Yes. Again they donít like the word that is used to describe them so they come up with another one that everyone must use. I donít know if Iíll live long enough to see it, but I wouldnít be surprised if before too long theyíll want to be called something else. Is this good? Is this bad? It has nothing to do with good or bad. A student of language sees it as just another mechanism that changes language. My father came from Sweden. He was a Swede. Swedes havenít contributed much to our changing language because as far as I know Swedes have been called the same thing for at least 150 years.

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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