Marsha and humble September 30, 2007





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This is a rough draft of Rants for your Maine Private Radio show for January 4, 2015.

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1. Peter says, "Isn't it mandatory on a Maine farm to have buildings unpainted on the backside, and in various stages of disrepair on the way?" Peter reminds me that I once wrote for you a column on something similar. At one time, a bit inland, you could see on houses various stages of improvements. In 1932 grandfather might have put a new kind of cedar shingles (on the side of the house) that reach only to the eaves. In 1952 his son put on wide asbestos clapboards that come within a foot of the improvements installed by his father. And in 1980 the grandson runs out of funds or energy just a foot shy of his father's clapboards with his white aluminum siding. Their ladders seem to get shorter. No one has reached the peak of the house with a clapboard substitute since the original builder and four generations of good intentions are visible to the naked eye. It is one of the things that delight camera-toting tourists and make Maine Maine.

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2. Ok women. If you are equal to men why dont you prove it to me sometime? Yes I have an example of exactly what I mean. I used to go to exercise class three times a week. There is a scale in the corner. It is one of those scales where you slide a weight along a bar to the 150 pound notch and then adjust the other sliding weight up to 5 pounds which gives you your weight of 155 pounds. When men have ascertained their weight, they step off the scale and leave. Before women step off the scale, they move both sliding weights back to zero.

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3. Are you good at remembering names and faces? You know very well that I'm not, and it's more annoying than embarrassing when someone says, "I can't believe you don't remember me. I've been to your house four times." I'm not alone when it comes to having a bad memory. You probably heard about those people who forgot to list on their job applications that they had been convicted of theft, assault, manslaughter and even cocaine trafficking. What an exciting life you must have if you can forget that you spent your last birthday in jail.

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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 wonderful to live in a time when exciting scientific breakthroughs like this are so commonplace, that we calmly take them for granted?

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5. Living abroad is one of the most frightening things an American can do --- because Americans are likely to discover that there are so many countries where the standard of living is much higher than it is here. The healthcare is better in dozens of countries that don't have anywhere near the wealth that the United States has. Thats when you look around and you ask yourself a troubling question: if you live in the richest country in the world, where has most of all that wealth gone? Why don't we see it going into health, education and infrastructure? Could welfare cheats have possibly siphoned off all those trillions of dollars? A lot of people want you to believe it.

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6. Those of us who can't spell live in a phonemic world. That means we spell words the way we hear words, which might work in Spanish or Finnish but not in English. This was brought to mind by some people who sneered at Google. One should not knock Google. I have a lot of books in my library, but looking thru them to confirm something would be a tiresome chore. I wrote hundreds of newspaper columns before I had a computer and now I wonder how I ever did it. There was a time when I used to cut sentences out of a typewritten page with scissors and rearrange them. It was like fitting together a huge verbal puzzle. My life has been made easier by cut and paste in my computer and by Google. How easy it must be now to get through college. Most of the time I spent on reports and papers was in retyping the things to get a clean copy. Clean copy used to count almost as much as actually saying something. Now one pushes a button and, prrrt, it comes out of the printer crisp and fresh and clean. Now you have to say something because everybody turns in clean copy. Google is a blessing for those of us who can't spell and have to look up the spelling of compliment to see if it has an i or an e every time we want to use the words. Those of us who can't spell live in a phonemic world and Google and computers have made our lives easier.

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7. While looking up microchip cat flaps I found an advertisement that said, Keep Your Cat Safe with Savings on Sturdy Outdoor Pet Enclosures! Another person might look at your purchase and accuse you of confining one of Mother Natures free creatures in an inhuman, cruel and unsanitary cage. The only difference between a sturdy outdoor pet enclosure and an inhuman, cruel and unsanitary cage is in the eye of the beholder. Im extremely grateful for this sociological phenomenon that you and I call the eye of the beholder. Were it not for the inherent differences in the eyes of beholders, several billion men would be trying to arrange my demise so they could marry my wife.

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8. Please listen to this. "I have driven close to 1 million miles in all kinds of weather, traffic, urban commutes, rural commutes, various obstacles, blinding sun, and never had a crash." It takes a certain kind of person to be able to write this. I couldn't do it, could you? Would you dare say that youd never crashed in an automobile? Do you know what would happen to me this afternoon if I said that Id never been struck by lightning or crashed in a car?

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9. (130104 courier) On the bottom of a yearly family letter, I posted a picture of 11 baited mousetraps next to a hole inhabited by moles or voles on the sunny south side of the house. As might be expected, we received several treatises back from our academic friends outlining in detail their various adventures as exterminators. Jeremy, a scientist who teaches neurology at one of our leading universities, gets between their ears as it were, and says: I think I noted that you had baited some traps with what looked to be cheese. Professional exterminators usually use something sweet that cannot easily be taken from the bait holder. I have used soft cookies that I can smush onto the holder, and also gum drops - both are very effective. Jeremy should know that the picture was deceiving because I bait with peanut butter. When Im in an unforgiving mood I tie on a piece of bacon with string. I had never thought of gum drops but sweet, sticky gum drops sound good. If the trap doesn't get them, theyll perish with diabetes.

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10. During a February blizzard that was supposed to be the worst in 30 years, the governor declared a state of emergency across Massachusetts, and banned non-emergency vehicles from roadways after 4:00 P.M. When I saw this on TV my thoughts were , "Good luck." Are they going to ticket people who are out in the storm? Please think about this. Yes, they can shut down the turnpikes, but there is always someone who thinks they will just barely have time to get from here to there and will try to beat the deadline. You know as well as I do that a lot of people who are stopped are going to be very angry. If there is one thing Americans hold dear, it is the right to drive during a blizzard until they get stuck and then have to be rescued or have their frozen bodies removed from their cars two days later.

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11. Maine people who growl about Massachusetts invaders who build million dollar houses with a million dollar view of the ocean have short memories. Back in 1965 they laughed all the way to the bank when that sucker from Massachusetts paid them $3,000 for Grampy's Point.

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

2015 Robert Karl Skoglund