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 13, 2013




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Rants January 13, 2013

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1. You probably have friends who are always talking about how we should get rid of all the bad people. A reader writes something that happened recently --- donít ask me what: "About time, hopefully this will clean out some bad people." Cleaning out bad people is an interesting concept. But, have you ever asked yourself where the bad people go once they've been cleaned out? Some folks actually worked this out a long time ago. There was a time when bad people were put on boats and sent far away over the ocean. We are the result.

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2. On the third Friday in January I had every intention of turning 77. As 76 was different from 75, I can expect 77 to be different from 76. At 75 I could walk without teetering but something happened to my legs over the past 12 months that makes me feel like Iím giving birth every time I get out of a chair. It might surprise, or even disgust, young people to know that old people enjoy an occasional hug. But hugging at 76 is not like hugging at 50. At 76, cuddling in bed requires more planning than an assault on Ben Ladenís compound. You must first announce your intentions. Otherwise your wife might eagerly thrust her elbow into your eye and thatís the end of that. Or your heads might knock together if there is not some kind of agreed upon plan. Eyes are exceptionally vulnerable. This is why old people prefer to hug standing up: it is easier and with four points on the ground you donít need a walker. Old people cannot cuddle comfortably in bed because old people do not naturally fit together. Her chin is always hurting your bony shoulder or you are losing the circulation in your right hand. There are always two or three extra uncomfortable arms that you could do without. And what do you do with your hands? Nothing is where it used to be. My wife Marsha and I have recently agreed that trying to cuddle in bed is like kick boxing in a steel cage with a skeleton. Any old man will agree with what Iíve just said about the necessity of approaching the hug or cuddle with a great deal of thought to preclude the possibility of injury. But there is a danger in taking too much time in preparing for a hug because you are likely to think you were on the way to the bathroom and walk right out around her.

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3. Iíve been putting off telling you about this but today weíre going to talk about procrastination. Structured procrastination. Psychologists suggest that procrastination, if structured, can have some benefits. Let me explain structured procrastination. You know how when you have something thatís hard to do, you put it off by doing some other easy meaningless task like sorting out a jumbled up mess of screws by their length into little jars. Thatís what psychologists call structured procrastination. Unless you are a Type A person who can crush walnuts with the power of your mind, you can think of examples of structured procrastination in your own life. Oh yes. Structured procrastination is the only thing that enables many of us to get anything done. The only time I clean up all the clutter in my office is when Iím putting off making a radio or television program.

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4. Do people who actually use computer programs write computer programs? Or do these 14-year-old computer gurus write computer programs thinking to themselves, ďSomebody might find a use for this.Ē My computer guru advised me to shift over to Gmail from Outlook. The purpose of shifting over was to get rid of the spam. That was over a year ago. Iíve been working on my Gmail lately --- learning something about the program --- shifting and shuffling and sorting --- and canít see that it is as flexible as Outlook. The program simply wonít do what I want it to do. I like to sort and shift and put people in their own little boxes and sort by email and sort by every other kind of item. And I canít see that it is possible to do that with Gmail. Gmail might be an adequate toy for people who want to keep in touch with a few friends, but it doesnít seem to be a management tool for a business. I can see that if I want to keep track of two or three thousand people I can do it easier with the old Outlook program. If anyone would like to convince me that Gmail will handle 3,000 names and permit me to sort them according to the state they are in and the month in which they have their annual meeting, I stand ready to receive instruction. --- Oh --- there is no problem with the 400 or so spam items that come into my Outlook box every day. I know how to sneak into the home computer in Rockland and delete every one of them before I even open the Outlook program.

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5. They say that if you look for something on the Internet, the next time you click there will be ads for that item on the side of your webpage. I only mention this because for the past few days Iíve been getting ads for luxury automobiles. If you can tell me what I could have possible have done to warrant ads for a Jaguar automobile on my web page, please let me know.

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6. Change is not always for the better. In 1950 we had a wonderful hot lunch program. Weíd walk the thousand feet or so down through the woods to the Home Ec building and eat dinner. Pearl Wall was one of the cooks. As I recall hearing tell, her husband, Forrest, built all or part of the school building. We were well fed by our hot lunch program in 1950. We were not overweight in 1950. Hot lunch was a community project. Everybody knew everybody. Everybody helped out. Then, around 1958, the town of St. George voted to go into a school administrative district with Thomaston, and things started to cost more and go downhill from there.

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7. Will you look up the word Alot on the Internet? Alot is a big furry cartoon animal invented by --- well, you can read about the Alot. I got on this kick after getting a letter from a grandchild who used alot as one word. What are they teaching in second grade nowadays? I called her up and we talked about a lot a lot. Hopefully she will never forget for the rest of her life that Alot is a big cartoon animal. Being a descriptive and not a prescriptive linguist I have nothing at all against anything anybody thinks, says, or does irregardless. But I do want the kids to at least be aware that there are people who articulate the t in often and there are people who do not articulate the t in often. And although nobody in polite company even raises an eyebrow, when they hear that /t/ some of them will never look at you again without seeing that /t/ branded on your forehead. Yes, when it comes to grammar, Iím a snob.

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8. I drink grape drink. It comes in quart bottles and because companies are no longer required to tell consumers where anything comes from, guess why, my grape drink might well have been bottled in Bangkok by bare-footed child laborers with blue feet and runny noses. And thatís only their day job. I donít drink grape drink straight for two reasons: itís very expensive and itís too strong if you drink it straight. So I fill a glass about half an inch from the top with water and top it off with grape drink as my wife says, ďWhy do you fill that glass so full? You know youíre going to spill it.Ē And I might have 5 or 6 grape juice and water cocktails during the day, because you know as well as I do that the body requires liquids. This morning there was a round quart bottle in the refrigerator beside my grape concentrate and I asked my wife Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, what was in that round quart bottle. She said it was my grape drink. Sheíd made ice tea for herself and put it in the rectangular grape bottle and put my grape concentrate in the round bottle. And when she looked at the grape bottle containing her ice tea she said, sounding very much like baby bear, ďSomeoneís been drinking my ice tea.Ē This was true. Yesterday Iíd made myself several grape juice and water cocktails out of ice tea and water and Iíd never noticed the difference. Which just goes to show.

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9. Hereís a letter from Robert in Brunswick. Over the past 35 years Robert has written me hundreds of letters and once again he has really outdone himself. Robert is talking about Florida when he says, ďWhen they burn the sugar cane in West Palm Beach County the smoke drifts across County lines into Broward County and my late mother's condo windows get coated with something that feels to me like caramel, but it does not come off with any household cleaner or WINDEX. I have to hire a Mexican who uses something strong enough for killing rats to clean the outside of the windows.Ē So much for the air quality in Florida, The Sunshine State.

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

© 2013 Robert Karl Skoglund